Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Email: mpsrivarez (at) ncsu.edu
I did my Bachelor’s degree research at the International Rice Research Institute where I focused on the phenotypic and transcriptomic responses of rice (Oryza sativa) upon single or mixed infection of Rice tungro bacilliform tungrovirus and Rice tungro spherical waikavirus. Thereafter, I worked at the University of the Philippines and obtained my MSc degree where I studied the possible influence of beneficial microbes to host resistance of papaya (Carica papaya) against the bacterial crown rot pathogen (Erwinia mallotivora) (Rivarez et al., 2021). In Spain, I did a pre-doctoral research stint at the Institute of Integrative Systems Biology under the supervision of Santiago Elena. I was involved in genome-wide association studies that uncovered candidate genes in Arabidopsis thaliana, which could have a role in the adaptation of turnip mosaic potyvirus to new host genotypes (Butković et al. 2021), and separately, novel genes involved in plant development (González et al. 2020). I finished my doctorate through a Marie Skƚodowska-Curie fellowship under the supervision of Denis Kutnjak and Maja Ravnikar at the National Institute of Biology in Slovenia. We systematically reviewed the current status of tomato viruses and how high-throughput sequencing (HTS) has helped accelerate their discovery (Rivarez et al., 2021) and my doctoral research focused on characterizing the viromes of tomato and weed plants from Slovenia. We used HTS and various bioinformatic analyses pipelines to uncover the diversity and phylogenetic relationships of viruses in tomatoes, and in various weed species nearby tomato-growing areas, and identified more than 100 known and novel species of viruses, viroids, and satellite RNAs of viruses (Rivarez et al., 2023). This included the first reported detection of Ranunculus white mottle virus in Slovenian tomatoes and peppers (Rivarez et al., 2022).