Clare Casteel

Clare Casteel

Position Title
Assistant Professor

Plant Pathology


Casteel, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, specializes in vector-plant interactions. Casteel completed her M.S. in entomology at UC Riverside, her Ph.D. in plant biology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Boyce Thompson Institute before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2014.

Research interests:

Plant disease, plant physiology, global climate change, biotic stress, vector-pathogen interactions, plant-insect interactions, agroecology, chemical ecology, plant defense, phytohormone signaling.

Brief overview:

Most viruses that attack plants depend on insect vectors for transmission, and ultimately for survival. My research focuses on the different ways pathogens can alter plant-insect interactions to increase their own transmission and the key molecular mechanisms responsible for these relationships. By better understanding these relationships, we hope to improve the safety and sustainability of current control strategies for plant diseases in agricultural systems.

Current projects:

  • Determine the impact of individual viral proteins on plant-aphid interactions
  • Investigate host targets of viral proteins responsible for producing the host plant phenotype and extended phenotype in the insect vector
  • Decipher the early signaling events and the mechanisms of plant resistance that occur during pathogen transmission by insect