Professor Emerita of Plant Pathology

E-Mail: lepstein@ucdavis.edu


B.A., University of Maryland, 1974, English; General Honors Program
M.S., University of Maryland, 1977, Botany and Plant Pathology
Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1982, Botany and Plant Pathology

Areas of Specialization

Breeding, selection and identification of disease resistance; Plant disease control in sustainable agricultural ecosystems; The development of fungi in natural environments; Fusarium yellows and Fusarium wilt on celery; Fungal-specific pathways; Ergothioneine; Microscopy.


Our goal is to support the agricultural community, particularly in sustainable and organic agriculture, with research that will lead to the development of sustainable disease-control strategies. We currently focus on Fusarium oxysporum and the diseases that it causes on celery.

Selected Publications

Sequencing trait-associated mutations to clone wheat rust-resistance gene YrNAM. Ni F, Zheng Y, Liu X, Yu Y, Zhang G, Epstein L, Mao X, Wu J, Yuan C, Lv B, Yu H, Li J, Zhao Q, Liu J, Qi J, Fu D, Wu J. 2023. Nature Communications 14, 4353. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-39993-2

Apium graveolens PI 181714 is a source of resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. apii race 4 in celery (A. graveolens var. dulce). Epstein L., Kaur S. 2023. Plant Breeding  142:109-117. doi.org/10.1111/pbr.13069 [Supplemental Table 1] [Supplemental Tables 2-6] [Supplemental Figures]

The emergence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. apii race 4 and F. oxysporum f. sp. coriandrii highlights major obstacles facing agricultural production in coastal California in a warming climate: a case study.   Epstein L., Kaur S., Henry PM. 2022. Frontiers in Plant Science 13: 9211516. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.921516

The effect of temperature on disease severity and growth of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. apii  races 2 and 4 in celery. 2022. Kaur S, Barakat R, Kaur J, Epstein L. Phytopathology 112:364-372. [Supplemental file]

Amplicon Sequencing of Fusarium Translation Elongation Factor 1α Reveals that Soil Communities of Fusarium Species Are Resilient to Disturbances Caused by Crop and Tillage Practices. Henry PM, Koehler SI, Kaur S, Epstein L, Mitchell JP, Gordon TR, Leveau JH. 2022. Phytobiomes 6:261-274.

Genomic differences between the new Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. apii (Foa) race 4 on celery, the less virulent Foa races 2 and 3, and the avirulent on celery f. sp. coriandrii. Henry P, Kaur S, Pham QAT, Barakat R, Brinker S, Haensel H, Daugovish O, Epstein L. 2020. BMC Genomics 21:730[Supplemental files]

No-tillage sorghum and garbanzo yields match or exceed standard tillage yields. Mitchell JP, Shrestha A., Epstein L., Dahlberg JA, Ghezzehei T, Araya S, Richter B, Kaur S, Henry P, Munk DS, Light S, Bottens M, Zaccaria D. 2021. California Agriculture 75(3):112-120.

Horizontal chromosome transfer and independent evolution drive diversification in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae. Henry PM, Pincot DDA, Jenner BN, Borrero C, Aviles M, Nam M-H,  Epstein L, Knapp SJ, Gordon TR. 2021. New Phytologist doi:10.1111/nph.17141 [Supplemental files]

A haplotype-phased genome of wheat stripe rust pathogen Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, race PST-130 from the Western USA. Vasquez-Gross H, Kaur S, Epstein L, Dubcovsky J. 2020. PLoS ONE 15:e0238611.

An ancestral NB-LRR with duplicated 3’UTRs confers stripe rust resistance in wheat and barley. Zhang C, Huang L, Zhang H, Hao Q, Lyu B, Wang M, Epstein L, Liu M, Kou C, Qi J, Chen F. 2019. Nature Communications 10:4023

Cloning of cytochrome b gene from the Tomato Powdery Mildew Fungus Leveillula taurica Reveals High Levels of Allelic Variation and Heteroplasmy for the G143A Mutation. Mosquera S, Chen LH, Aegerter B, Miyao E, Salvucci A, Chang TC, Epstein L, Stergiopoulos I. 2019. Frontiers in Microbiology 10:663

The impact of Integrated Pest Management and regulation on agricultural pesticide use in California. Epstein L, Zhang M. 2018. In: Managing and Analyzing Pesticide Use Data for Pest Management, Environmental Monitoring, Public Health and Public Policies. American Chemical Society Press.

Races of the Celery Pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. apii are polyphyletic. Epstein L. Kaur S, Chang P, Carrasquilla-Garcia N, Lyu G, Douglas Cook D, Subbarao K, Kerry O’Donnell K. 2017. Phytopathology 107:463-473. Suppl. Fig. S1. Suppl. Table S1. Suppl. Table S2. Suppl. Table S3.

Wheat Ms2 encodes for a orphan protein that confers male sterility in grass species. 2017. Ni F, Qi J, Hao Q, Lv B, Luo M-C, Wang Y, Chen F, Wang S, Zhang C, Epstein L, Zhao X, Wang H, Zhang X, Chen C, Sun L, Fu D. Nature Communications 8:15121. [Supplemental figures]

Adhesion and adhesives of fungi and oomycetes.  Epstein L. 2016.  In: Smith A.M. (ed), Biological Adhesives, 2nd ed. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Wheat stripe rust resistance protein WKS1 reduces the ability of the thylakoid-associated ascorbate peroxidase to detoxify reactive oxygen. Gou J-Y, Li K, Wu K, Wang X, Lin H, Cantu D, Uauy C, Dobon-Alonso A, Midorikawa T, Inoue K, Juan Sánchez J, Fu D, Blechl A, Wallington E, Fahima T, Meeta M, Epstein L, Dubcovsky J. 2015. Plant Cell 27:1755-1770.

Host-induced gene silencing inhibits the biotrophic pathogen causing downy mildew of lettuce. Govindarajulu M, Epstein L, Wroblewski T, Michelmore R. 2014. Plant Biotechnology Journal . [Supplemental figures]

Endogenous ergothioneine is required for wild type levels of conidiogenesis and conidial survival but does not protect against 254 nm UV-induced mutagenesis or kill. Bello HM, Mogannam JC., Morin D, Epstein L. 2014. Fungal Genetics and Biology 73:120-127.

Fifty years since Silent Spring. Epstein L. 2014. Annual Review of Phytopathology 52:377-402.

The impact of IPM programs on pesticide use in California, USA. Epstein L, Zhang M. 2014. In: R. Peshin, D. Pimentel, Integrated Pest Management: Experiences with Implementation, Vol. 4. Global Overview, pp. 173-200. Springer, The Netherlands

γ-glutamyltransferases (GGT) in Colletotrichum graminicola: mRNA and enzyme activity, and evidence that CgGGT1 allows glutathione utilization during nitrogen deficiency. Bello H. M, Morin D, Epstein L. 2013. Fungal Genetics and Biology 51:72-83.

Clades of γ-glutamyltransferases (GGTs) in the Ascomycota and heterologous expression of Colletotrichum graminicola CgGGT1, a member of the Pezizomycotina-only GGT clade. Bello MH, Epstein L. 2013. Journal of Microbiology 51:88-99.

One fungus, one name: defining the genus Fusarium in a scientifically robust way that preserves long standing use.2013. Geiser et al. Phytopatholgy 103:400-408.

Life-style transitions in plant pathogenic Colletotrichum fungi deciphered by genome and transcriptome analyses. O’Connell et al. (Epstein as 10th author). 2012. Nature Genetics 44: 1060-1065. [Supplementary material]

The Neurospora crassa mutant NcΔEgt-1 identifies an ergothioneine biosynthetic gene and demonstrates that ergothioneine enhances conidial survival and protects against peroxide toxicity during conidial germination. Bello, M.H., V. Barrera-Perez, D. Morin, L. Epstein. 2012. Fungal Genetics and Biology 49: 160-172. [Supplementary material]

Drip irrigation in California strawberry nurseries to reduce the incidence of Colletotrichum acutatum in fruit production. Daugovish O., M. Bolda, S. Kaur, M. J. Mochizuki, D. Marcum, M. Bolda, L. Epstein. 2012. HortScience 47: 368-373.

A kinase-START gene confers temperature-dependent resistance in wheat stripe rust. Fu D, Uauy C, Distelfield A, Blechl A, Epstein L, Chen X, Sela H, Fahima T, Dubcovsky J. 2009. Science 323:1357-1359. [Supplemental material]

Botryosphaeria-related dieback and control investigated in noncoastal California grapevines. Epstein L, Kaur S, VanderGheynst JS. 2008. California Agriculture 62:161-166.

Crown gall can spread between walnut trees in nurseries and reduce future yields. Epstein L, Kaur S, McKenna JR, Grant JA, Olson WH, Reil WO. 2008. California Agriculture 62:111-115.

Sewage and community shower drains are environmental reservoirs of Fusarium solani species complex group 1, a human and plant pathogen. Mehl HL, Epstein L. 2008. Environmental Microbiology 10:219-227.

Identification of Fusarium solani f. sp. cucurbitae race 1 and race 2 with PCR and production of disease free pumpkin seeds. Mehl HL, Epstein L. 2007. Plant Disease 91:1288-1292.

Fusarium solani species complex isolates conspecific with F. solani f. sp. cucurbitae race 2 from naturally-infected human and plant tissue and environmental sources are equally virulent on plants, grow at 37ºC, and are interfertile. Mehl HL, Epstein L. 2007. Environmental Microbiology 9:2189-2199.

California’s Pesticide Use Reports and trends in pesticide use. Epstein, L. 2006. Outlooks in Pest Management 17:148-54.

Adhesion and adhesives of fungi and oomycetes. Epstein, L. and Nicholson R.L. 2006. In: Smith A.M. and Callow J.A. (eds), Biological Adhesives, p. 41-62. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

A class Vb chitin synthase in Colletotrichum graminicola is localized in the growing tips of multiple cell types, in nascent septa, and during septum conversion to an end wall after hyphal breakage. Amnuaykanjanasin A and Epstein L. 2006. Protoplasma 227:155-164.

Rootstock effects on pistachio trees grown in Verticillium dahliae-infested soil. Epstein, L., Beede, R., Kaur, S., and Ferguson, F. 2004. Phytopathology 94:388-395.

A class V chitin synthase gene essential for conidial and hyphal wall strength in the fungus Glomerella graminicola (Colletotrichum graminicola). Amnuaykanjanasin, A. and Epstein, L. 2003. Fungal Genetics and Biology 38: 272-285.

Physiological, biochemical, and microscopic analyses of weakened walls of conidia in Colletotrichum graminicola with a disrupted class V chitin synthase gene, chsA. Amnuaykanjanasin, A. Epstein, L., and Labavitch, J. M. 2003. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 63:107-115.

Patterns of Pesticide Use and the Implications for Plant Disease Management. Epstein, L., and S. Bassein, Annual Review of Phytopathology 41:351-375. [Supplementary material 1; Supplementary material 2]

Changes in Pest Management Practice in Almond Orchards During the Rainy Season in California USA. Epstein, L., S. Bassein, F. G. Zalom,and L. R. Wilhoit. 2001. Agriculture, Ecosystems and the Environment 83:111-120.

Catastrophic Wall Rupture During Conidial Germination of a Genetically Tagged Mutant of Glomerella graminicola. Epstein, L., S. Bartnicki-Garcia, E. Lippman, S. Bassein, and A. Amnuaykanjanasin. 2001. Mycological Research 105:132-137.

Involvement of the 90 kDa glycoprotein in adhesion of Nectria haematococca macroconidia. Kwon, Y.H., and L. Epstein. 1997. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 51:287-303.

Celery & F. oxysporum f. sp. apii protocols:

PCR protocols for haplotype sequencing-diagnostics-and qPCR for Foa biomass
Celery seed hot water treatment;
Production of celery seedlings before assaying for Foa resistance;
Soil infestation with Foa & pathogenicity testing of Foa;
RNA isolation from celery crowns for TagSeq;
Fungal DNA purification for PacBio

Digital assessment program (pd.exe) 5 files:

pd.exe; pddocumentation.pdf; DemoImage1119.ppm; DemoImage328.ppm; DemoStandard.txt. The zipped file contains the DemoImage328.ppm,DemoImage1119.ppm and pddocumentation.pdf files: epstein.zip