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Karen Gomez

Karen Gomez

Associate Professor

School of Biological Sciences
College of Natural and Health Sciences

Contact Information

Ross Hall, Room 1550
Mailing Address
501 20th Street, Greeley, CO 80639


Postdoctoral: Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2005-2010)

Ph.D.:Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (2005)

M.S.:Crop, Soil and Environmental Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (2002)

B.S.:Agronomy, University Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno, Santa Cruz, Bolivia (1999)

Professional/Academic Experience

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses that provide hand-on experience on research techniques including Cellular and Molecular Laboratory (Bio 442/542), plant biology-related courses including General Plant Physiology (Bio 354/554) and Animal-Plant Interactions (Bio 336), and a course that involves discussion of the primary literature, Roundtable (Bio 591). Undergraduate students have participated in independent research in my lab (Bio 422) resulting in co-authorship on peer-review publications.

Research/Areas of Interest

The general focus of my research involves tripartite interactions between insects, plants, and beneficial plant-associated soil microbes. I am particularly interested in the changes that occur in plants as a result of these interactions and how plants allocate their resources toward defense or growth. Students in my lab have worked on systems involving potato and the model legume Medicago truncatula, commonly used species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and insect herbivores such as potato aphids, pea aphids, and cabbage loopers. Current work in my lab focuses on different aspects of plant physiology including plant gene expression, plant transcriptome and phytohormone analysis. I am also interested in microbial diversity in the rhizosphere.

Please do not hesitate to contact me asking about research opportunities that are available in my lab for M.S. and Ph.D. students.

Publications/Creative Works

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Mercado J.E., R.T. Walker, S. Franklin, S.L. Kay, B. Ortiz-Santana, and S.K. Gomez. (2023). Xylem traumatic resin duct formation in response to stem fungal inoculation in Douglas-fir and lodgepole pine. Forests, 14(3): 502.

Drew O., Berry H.M., Riggs J.D., Argueso C.T., and S.K. Gomez. (2022). Phytohormone profile of Medicago in response to mycorrhizal fungi, aphids, and gibberellic acid. Plants 11(6), 720.

Mercado, J. E., Walker, R. T., Gomez, S., Franklin, S., Kay, S. L., Hubbard, R. (2021). Changes in transpiration and leaf water potential in Douglas-fir trees following Douglas-fir beetle attack and mechanical girdling. Forests, 12(1722), 1-10.

Rizzo, E., T. Sherman, P. Manosalva, and S.K. Gomez. 2020. Assessment of local and systemic changes in plant gene expression and aphid responses during potato interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and potato aphids. Plants, 9(1) 82. 

Schoenherr, A., E. Rizzo, N. Jackson, P. Manosalva, and S.K. Gomez. 2019. Mycorrhiza-induced resistance in potato involves priming of defense responses against cabbage looper (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera). Environmental Entomology, 48 (2): 370-381.

Garzo E., E. Rizzo, A. Fereres, and S.K. Gomez. 2018. High levels of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus colonization on Medicago truncatula reduces plant suitability as a host for pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum). Insect Science, 17: 1-14.

Maurya A.K., M.P. Kelly, S.M. Mahaney, and S.K. Gomez. 2018. Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis alters plant gene expression and aphid weight in a tripartite interaction. Journal of Plant Interactions, 13(1): 294-305.

Floss D., S.K. Gomez, H.-J. Park, A.M. MacLean, K.K. Bhattarai, L.M. Mueller, V. Levesque-Tremblay, I.E. Maldonado-Mendoza, M.J. Harrison. 2017. A transcriptional program for arbuscule degeneration during AM symbiosis is regulated by MYB1. Current Biology, 27(8): 1206-1212.

Breuillin-Sessoms F., D.S. Floss, S.K. Gomez, N. Pumplin, Y. Ding, V. Levesque-Tremblay, R.D. Noar, D.A. Daniels, A. Bravo, J.B. Eaglesham, V.A. Benedito, M.K. Udvardi, and M.J. Harrison. 2015. Suppression of arbuscule degeneration in Medicago truncatula phosphate transporter 4 mutants is dependent on an ammonium transporter 2 family protein, MtAMT2;3. Plant Cell, 27(4): 1352-1366.

 Tesfaye M., K.A.T. Silverstein, S. Nallu, L. Wang, C.J. Botanga, S.K. Gomez, L.M. Costa, M.J. Harrison, D.A. Samac, J. Glazebrook, F. Katagiri, J.F. Gutierrez-Marcos, and K.A. VandenBosch. 2013. Spatio-temporal expression patterns of Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula defensin-like genes. PLOS ONE. 8(3): 1-15.

Tisserant E., A. Kohler, P. Dozolme-Seddas, R. Balestrini, K. Benabdellah, A. Colard, D. Croll, C. Da Silva, S.K. Gomez, R. Koul, N. Ferrol, V. Fiorilli, D. Formey, P. Franken, N. Helber, M. Hijri, L. Lanfranco, E. Lindquist, Y. Liu, M. Malbreil, E. Morin, J. Poulain, H. Shapiro, D. van Tuinen, A. Waschke, C. Azcón-Aguilar, G. Bécard, P. Bonfante, M.J. Harrison, H. Küster, P. Lammers, U. Paszkowski, N. Requena, S.A. Rensing, C. Roux, I.R. Sanders, Y. Shachar-Hill, G. Tuskan, J.P.W. Young, V. Gianinazzi-Pearson, and F. Martin. 2012. The transcriptome of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices (DAOM 197198) reveals functional tradeoffs in an obligate symbiont. New Phytologist. 193: 755-769.

González-Chávez M.C.A., M.P. Ortega-Larrocea, R. Carrillo-González, M. López-Meyer, B. Xoconostle-Cázares, S.K. Gomez, M.J. Harrison, A.M. Figueroa-López, and I.E. Maldonado-Mendoza. 2011. Arsenate induces the expression of fungal genes involved in As transport in arbuscular mycorrhiza. Fungal Biol. 115(12): 1197-1209.

Javot H., R.V. Penmetsa, F. Breuillin, K. Bhattarai, R. Noar, S.K. Gomez, Q. Zhang, D. Cook, and M.J. Harrison. 2011. Medicago truncatula mtpt4 mutants reveal a role for nitrogen in the regulation of arbuscule degeneration in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. The Plant J. 68: 954-965.

Benedito V.A., H. Li, X. Dai, M. Wandrey, J. He, R. Kaundal, I. Torres-Jerez, S.K. Gomez, M.J. Harrison, Y. Tang, P.X. Zhao, and M.K. Udvardi. 2010. Genomic inventory and transcriptional analysis of Medicago truncatula transporters. Plant Physiol. 152: 1716-1730.

Navia-Giné W.G., S.K. Gomez, J. Yuan, F. Chen, and K.L. Korth. 2009. Insect-induced gene expression at the core of volatile terpene release in Medicago truncatula. Plant Signaling and Behavior. 4(7): 1-3.

Gomez S.K., H. Javot, P. Deewatthanawong, I. Torres-Jerez, Y. Tang, E. Blancaflor, M.K. Udvardi, and M.J. Harrison. 2009. Medicago truncatula and Glomus intraradices gene expression in cortical cells harboring arbuscules in the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. BMC Plant Biology. 9:10.

Gomez S.K. and M.J. Harrison. 2009. Laser microdissection and its application to analyze gene expression in the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. Pest Management Sci. 65: 504-511.

Liu J., W.K. Versaw, N. Pumplin, S.K. Gomez, L.A. Blaylock, and M.J. Harrison. 2008. Closely related members of the Medicago truncatula PHT1 phosphate transporter gene family encode phosphate transporters with distinct biochemical activities. J. Biol Chem. 283: 24673-24681.

Korth K.L., S. Doege, S.-H. Park, F. Goggin, Q. Wang, S.K. Gomez, G. Liu, J. Lingling, and P.A. Nakata. 2006.  Medicago truncatula mutants demonstrate the role of plant calcium oxalate crystals as an effective defense against chewing insects. Plant Physiol. 141: 188-195.

Gomez S.K., D.M. Oosterhuis, D.L. Hendrix, D.R. Johnson, and D.C. Steinkraus. 2006. Diurnal pattern of aphid feeding and its effect on cotton leaf physiology. Environ. and Exp. Botany. 55:77-86.

Gomez S.K., M.M. Cox, J.C. Bede, K. Inoue, H.T. Alborn, J.H. Tumlinson, and K.L. Korth. 2005. Lepidopteran herbivory and oral factors induce transcripts encoding novel terpene synthases in Medicago truncatula. Arch. Insect Biochem. and Physiol. 58:114-127.

Gomez S.K., D.M. Oosterhuis, S.N. Rajguru, and D.R. Johnson. 2004. Foliar antioxidant enzyme responses in cotton after aphid herbivory. J. Cotton Science. 8:99-104. (cover image)