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Marilyn Roossinck

Marilyn Roossinck

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Professor of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology and Biology

W229A Millennium Science Complex
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814)865-2292


Research Interests

The Evolution of Infectious Virus Disease


Roossinck and her researchers are interested in understanding how and why viruses evolve to cause disease. The majority of viruses probably do not cause disease, but research in virology has been extremely biased. The only viruses that have been studied are those that cause disease in humans and their domestic plants and animals. Measures to control virus diseases, especially in plants, have been largely unsuccessful. It is unlikely that any effective measures will be designed until it is understood why normally benign, or even beneficial, viruses evolve to cause disease. Roossinck's lab is using several approaches to tackle this question: they are studying the dynamics of virus populations and the mechanisms of evolution using RNA plant viruses in the family Bromoviridae; they are assessing the biodiversity and ecology of wild plant viruses that generally do not cause disease, and they are studying the mechanisms of a lethal virus-induced disease in tomato.

Selected Publications

Roossinck, M. J. (2011). The good viruses: viral mutualistic symbioses . Nature Reviews Microbiology, 9, 99-108 DOI:10.1038/nrmicro2491 .


Roossinck, M. J. (2011). Changes in population dynamics in mutualistic versus pathogenic viruses. Viruses, 3 (special issue), 12-19 DOI:10.3390/v3010012.


Morsy, M., Oswald, J., He, J., Tang, Y., & Roossinck, M. J. (2010). Teasing apart a three-way symbiosis: Transcriptome analyses of Curvularia protuberata in response to viral infection and heat stress. Biochemical and Biophysical Communications, 401 (2), 225-230 DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.09.034.


Ali, A., & Roossinck, M. J. (2010). Genetic bottlenecks during systemic movement of Cucumber mosaic virus vary in different host plants. Virology, 404 (2), 279–283 DOI:10.1016/j.virol.2010.05.017.


Roossinck, M. J. (2010). Lifestyles of plant viruses. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 365 (1548), 1899-1905 DOI:10.1098/rstb.2010.0057.


Roossinck, M. J., Saha, P., Wiley, G. B., Quan, J., White, J. D., Lai, H., Chavarria, F., Shen, G., & Roe, B. A. (2010). Ecogenomics using massively parallel pyrosequencing to understand virus ecology. Molecular Ecology, 19 (Suppl. 1), 81-88 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04470.x.