Current Personnel

Pam Ronald
Pamela Ronald
Principal Investigator
I am a professor in the Dept of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at UC Davis. I have a PhD in Molecular and Physiological Plant Biology from UC Berkeley and was a postdoc at Cornell. I got interested in plant microbe interactions while studying biology at Reed College and later moved to Sweden to study mycorrhizal fungi. I enjoyed living in Sweden/France for three years but am glad to be back in California, where I grew up. When not doing science, I love to spend time hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains with my friends, family and our dog.
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Randy Ruan
Lab Manager
I graduated in Yangzhou University in China with a Master and Bachelor in Agronomy and Plant Genetics. I moved to United States in 1994 and joined Ronald lab in Dec 1994. I enjoy working with Pam and the hardworking lab group. Besides working on research and manage Ronald lab I spend most my spare time on gardening. Karen and I have a son Colin and two cats, Big Guy and Calypso.
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Rashmi Jain
Associate Specialist
I am an Associate Specialist at UC Davis from New Delhi, India. While doing my undergraduate course in Biology I also joined the diploma in computer science, Burned by the desire to dig into computational programming and use my background in biology, I earned the Master's degree in Bioinformatics from Sikkim Manipal University. I always believe in exploring the world and am ready to take on new challenges, so in the year, 2013, I came across an opportunity to work in Pamela Ronald’s Lab, at the University of California, Davis. Other than that, I like to watch TV and travel.
Valley Stewart
I am a Professor Emeritus of Microbiology whose research career focused on studying the physiology and genetics of enterobacteria. I have been collaborating with Prof. Ronald since 2016, focusing on Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae.
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Maria Florencia Ercoli
Postdoctoral Scholar
I am originally from Argentina; I have a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and a BSc in Biotechnology from the National University of Rosario. During my Ph.D. I studied regulatory networks controlling Arabidopsis root development and discovered my passion for plant genetics and molecular biology. I decided to apply this expertise to a different plant model, a crop, so in 2018 I joined the Laboratory of Prof. Pamela Ronald as a Postdoctoral Scholar. I am currently working as part of a team that, using different approaches, aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of small peptides to control plant development and plant-microbe interactions. My passion is to see life through a microscope; therefore, I approached this key research question from a cellular biology perspective, studying the anatomical modifications these hormones are causing in detail. If you want to see fun pictures from our research, you can find me on Twitter (@NeCesiTo1TiemP0).
In my free time, I love spending time with my husband Jean and our dog Gino; we go for hikes, camping, and bike rides. I also love cooking, watercolor painting, and gardening.
Artur Teixeira de Araujo Junior
Postdoctoral Scholar
I am a postdoc in Ronald Laboratory (Department of Plant Pathology – UC Davis). I have a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and a masters in Biotechnology from the Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil). I also had the experience of being a Rural Producer and Property manager in a farm for 6 years. This helped me to understand the vision of two very different points of work: developer of new technology and producer/user of these final products. I am responsible for the collection of rice mutants (KitBase) and sorghum mutants. My projects involve bioinformatics, laboratory and greenhouse work. I’m glad to study and learn about the modifications in the DNA and how these mutations can help the society with plants more tolerant to stress, more productive and with greater nutritional value in grains. In my free time, I like to improve my creative side and to do physical activities (hiking, climbing, among others).
Deedee Luu
Postdoctoral Scholar
I joined the Ronald lab as a graduate student, graduated with a Ph.D. in Microbiology, and now work as a postdoc. I earned my B.S. at UC Irvine studying poliovirus translation initiation. I then moved on to studying baculoviruses at Cal State Long Beach before I settled at UC Davis. My current research examines the virulence effects of a bacterial peptide that mimics the plant host. In my spare time, I enjoy DIY projects and creating art.
Alyx Shigenaga
Postdoctoral Scholar
I joined the Ronald Lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher in August 2021. I have a PhD in Plant Pathology from Colorado State University and a BSc in Microbiology and Botany from Humboldt State University. During my PhD, I studied the role the plant hormone cytokinin plays in heat-induced disease susceptibility of plants to bacterial pathogens. To learn more about my PhD research, you can see my 3-minute lightning talk here. My current research in the Ronald Lab focuses on further understanding the biological role sulfated plant peptide hormones play in plant-microbe interactions and identifying/characterizing the PSY receptor using various plant systems. Besides doing science, I enjoy spending time with my husband and dog outdoors hiking, kayaking, or swimming. You can follow me on Google Scholar.
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Ellen Rim
Postdoctoral Scholar
I am a Life Science Research Foundation postdoctoral scholar studying rice immune receptor signaling with the goal of developing crops with greater pathogen resistance. I'm working on engineering plant immune receptors to expand their pathogen recognition ability as well as revealing mechanistic aspects of immune receptor signal transduction inside the cell. Outside of lab, I enjoy cycling and playing ultimate frisbee.
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Peter Lynagh
Postdoctoral Scholar
I went to college hoping to learn about Kenyan coffee, which I love. I earned an agricultural B.S. from University of Maryland where I assisted in researching soils, greenhouse gases and insects. More recently, my UC Davis Plant Biology Ph.D. research improved detection and characterization of genome edits in plants. I developed a plant PCR method that is faster, less expensive, easier, uses less plastic and chemicals, and causes minimal tissue damage. My first postdoctoral position is here in the Ronald Lab. I am analyzing rice root system architectures, and related aspects, for improving carbon sequestration in soil.
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Ryan Packer
Junior Specialist
I graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in entomology. I entered college with a strong passion for working with vector-borne diseases. While working in the Ullman Lab, I found a passion for plants and molecular biology. I hope to keep pursue a career in researching the intricate interaction between vector, pathogen, and plant host. Other than science…. I love to bike, garden, and go to the movies.
Aashna Calidas
Aashna Calidas
Undergraduate Assistant
I am a Biochemistry undergraduate at UC Davis working on my UHP honors thesis within the Ronald lab. I work with Dee Dee Luu examining the function of the Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae peptide RaxX as it mimics PSY peptides. I grew up in Loma Linda, California. In my free time, I enjoy crocheting, baking, and traveling.
Kaley Ng
Undergraduate Assistant
I am a Biological Systems Engineering undergraduate at UC Davis. I joined the Ronald Laboratory last Spring as an undergraduate researcher, where I am working with Ellen and Alyx. During my free time, I enjoy hiking and trying new recipes.
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Rafael Vasquez-Chan
Undergraduate Assistant
I am an undergraduate student here at UC Davis pursuing a degree in biotechnology with a focus on plants. I joined the Ronald lab to work with Peter in improving carbon sequestration by rice. I like to spend my free time playing video games, being in nature, and doing dragon boat with UC Davis team.
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Nguyen Ho
Undergraduate Assistant
I'm a Computer Science undergraduate student at UC Davis. I joined Ronald laboratory to help with data computation & analysis and managing websites. In my spare time, I like to play and watch soccer. My favorite team is Manchester United (UK).