Catharina Coenen

Departments: Biology, Biochemistry
Teaching: Organismal Physiology and Ecology, Plant Physiology
Research: Plant and Microbial Biology
Degrees: undergraduate work, Universität Bremen (Germany)
Ph.D., Oregon State University

Contact Info

Phone: (814) 332-2703
Website: Click here

Office Info

Office Location: Sabbatic 2021-2022

Research Interests

My research focuses on the action of the hormone auxin in plant growth and development and in the interaction between plant roots and soil microbes. My students and I have been characterizing the role of auxin in mycorrhiza, an agriculturally and ecologically important symbiotic association between plant roots and fungi. We have also begun to explore auxin as a communication signal between plant-protective bacteria and the roots these bacteria colonize. These projects have implications for organic agriculture, because the fungi and bacteria we study reduce the need for toxic fungicides and fertilizers. The methods my students use to study auxin responses include genetics, molecular, biochemical and physiological experiments. As long as you enjoy working with plants, fungi, or bacteria, there are lots of different experimental approaches to choose from. Even if you may not be interested in staying in plant research in the long term, you will find valuable techniques and analysis methods to learn here that transfer to other systems.