Dario Cantu

Cal Doval


Cantu, an assistant professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, is a systems biologist. Cantu completed his Ph.D. in plant biology at UC Davis in 2009 and was a postdoctoral fellow in genomics and bioinformatics in the Dubcovsky lab before joining the CA&ES faculty in 2012.

Research interests:

Plant diseases, plant genomics, fungal genomics, plant genetics, plant resistance to pathogens, pathogen evolution, fungicide resistance, fruit ripening and quality.

Brief overview:

More than one-third of crop production worldwide is destroyed annually by plant diseases caused by parasitic microorganisms. Genetic resistance is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly method for controlling plant diseases. Epidemics caused by aggressive strains of plant pathogens that evolve new mechanisms to overcome currently deployed genetic resistance and disease control strategies pose a continual threat to food security.

My research group uses genomics, genetics, and bioinformatics to understand plant disease resistance and how pathogenic microorganisms infect plants, cause disease, and evolve to overcome plant host resistance and chemical control strategies. Our integrated, systems-oriented approach provides a novel framework for the development of strategies to achieve durable genetic resistance in important cultivated plant species, such as grape, coffee, cocoa, wheat, and tomato.

Current projects:

  • Identification of mechanisms of pathogenicity and fungicide resistance in plant pathogens
  • Characterization and exploitation of mechanisms of plant resistance to pathogens
  • Biology of molecular networks regulating fruit development and fruit susceptibility to pathogens


Updated August 2014

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