Joseph E. Flaherty, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor of Biology; Director of Undergraduate Research; Coordinator of the Biology Education Major; Coker Faculty Member Since 2005
Education: B.S., M.S., North Carolina State University;
Ph.D., Purdue University
Department: Biology
Office: Science Building - Room 213
Office Hours: By Appointment
Phone: (843) 383-8079
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @joseph_flaherty
Curriculum Vitae: Download

 

Courses: Schedule

BIO101, BIO101L, BIO110, BIO110L, BIO211, BIO291, BIO391, BIO392, BIO410, BIO 411, BIO 461, BIO491

Teaching Interests:

My passion centers on understanding the fundamental characteristics of life and applying tools to expand our knowledge of biological processes. I enjoy teaching introductory biology courses, beginning and advanced courses in molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry.

In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I engage students who participate in research projects both in summertime and during the academic year. Typically, 8-10 students participate in my laboratory during the semester. Students may be supported by grant funds or receive academic credit for taking on a research project.

Recent graduates who have performed a research project in my lab that have continued to pursue advanced degrees (or gained permanent employment) include:

  • Megan Sexton ('13) - North Carolina State University, PhD program in Plant Pathology
  • Rebecca Armentrout ('12) - McLeod Medical Hospital, Medical Technology Program
  • Mandi J. Warner ('11) - Southern Illinois University, PhD program Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems
  • Bryan Musungu (‘11) - Southern Illinois University, PhD program Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems
  • Jessica Griggs (’11) – Roche (analytical chemistry technician), Florence, SC
  • Kendra English (‘11) - UNC-Chapel Hill, Clinical Laboratory Sciences
  • Sara Johnson (’10) – University of South Carolina, MS program, Integrated Biomedical Sciences
  • Heidi J. Rienstra (‘10) - University of Colorado, PhD program in Developmental Biology
  • Kayla M. Gerberich (’10) – Senior Biological Scientist at the University of Florida, awarded MS in Plant Pathology from Purdue University
  • Andrew J. Shychuk (’10) – University of South Carolina School of Medicine, MD program
  • Shelly M. Catlett ('09) - The Medical University of South Carolina, College of Dental Medicine
  • A. Michele Burnham ('09) - awarded MS in Plant Pathology from University of Georgia, currently USDA research scientist, Exotic and Emerging Avian Disease Research Unit, Athens, GA.
  • Ashley D. Zearfoss ('08) - awarded MS in Plant Pathology from North Carolina State University, currently in PhD program in Biochemistry at Clemson University
  • Amber B. Rayfield ('08) - University of Arkansas, MS program in Animal Science/Genetics
  • Jessica L. Winburn ('07) - The Ohio State University, PhD program in Plant Biotechnology

Research Program:

Independent laboratory research is an essential educational component for students aspiring to become future scientists, medical doctors and science teachers. The research program that I have developed at Coker College focuses on gene discovery in filamentous fungi, with particular emphasis on elucidation of regulatory networks controlling development in foliar plant pathogens. The research conducted at Coker College is synergistic with both Drs. Jin-Rong Xu’s and Larry Dunkle’s respective programs at Purdue University and Dr. Burton Bluhm’s program at the University of Arkansas, providing opportunities for undergraduate students at Coker College to National Science Foundationparticipate in University-level research projects.

Genomic approaches and field studies are being used in my program to understand fungal biology. We employ real-time qPCR and microarray analysis of gene expression to characterize developmental mutants of Fusarium graminearum. Field studies are focused on understanding the effects of crop selection on Fusarium populations. Student-driven projects are facilitated by collaborations with scientists from government (USDA-ARS), industry (Monsanto), and academia (Purdue University).

Together with Coker College's institutional commitment to providing resources to stimulate research experiences for undergraduates, our program has benefitted from extramural support from the SC-EPSCoR Collaborative Research Program (CRP), IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU), and the National Science Foundation (NSF-CAREER award no. 0845324). Student-driven projects are facilitated by collaborations with scientists from government (USDA-ARS), industry (Monsanto), and academia (Purdue University and University of Arkansas).

For more information: Combating Crop Diseases (US News & World Report, 6/4/12)

Honors Projects

  • Rebecca Armentrout (2012), Project title: Gene expression analysis of a gain-of-function mutant in Fusarium graminearum.
  • Mandi J. Warner (2011), Project title:  Characterization of novel conidiation-impaired mutants in Fusarium graminearum.
  • Miranda L. Klees (2010), Project title: Overexpression of FG_10780 in Fusarium graminearum.
  • Andrew J. Shychuk (2010), Project title: RNA isolation and purification to study gene expression in Fusarium graminearum.
  • Sara H. Johnson (2010), Project title: Phenotypic characterization of specific knockout mutants in Neurospora crassa.
  • Shelly M. Catlett ('09), Project title: Characterization of mutants impaired in light-responsive fungal development.
  • Ashley D. Zearfoss ('08), Project title: Identification of two tagged insertional mutants of Fusarium graminearum impaired in asexual reproduction.
  • Amber B. Rayfield ('08), Project title: Population dynamics of Fusarium species found in soils at the Coker Historical Farm in Hartsville, SC.

Recent Presentations (student names in bold)

Thompkins A, Atkinson SL, Sexton ML, Bass B, Delancy E, Rhodes J, Osunga-Buyu H, Lum A, McCarron B, Godbout K, Morris E, and Flaherty JE. 2013. A systems-biology approach to build gene-regulatory network models connecting osmotic stress responses and asexual development in Fusarium graminearum. Fungal Genetics Conference held in Pacific Grove, CA (Poster)
Atkinson S, Osunga-Buyu H, Godbout K, Morris E, and Flaherty JE. 2013. Bioinformatic analysis of 39 coordinately expressed genes associated with the transition from vegetative growth to asexual development in Fusarium graminearum. Annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists held in Charleston, WV (Poster)
Sexton ML, Atkinson SJ, Armentrout R, Ridenour J, Horevaj P, Bluhm BH, and Flaherty JE. 2012. Interrogating the transcriptomes of developmental mutants to identify conidiation-specific genes in Fusarium graminearum. European Fungal Genetics Conference held in Marburg, Germany. (Poster)
Warner AJ, Horevaj P, Bluhm BH, Flaherty JE. 2011.  Characterization of novel conidiation-impaired mutants in Fusarium graminearum. 26th Fungal Genetics Conference held in Asilomar, CA.  Fungal Genetics Reports 58 (Suppl): #195. (Poster)
Musungu BM, Indriago, CH, Liu W, Zhou X, Xu J-R, Dunkle LD, Flaherty JE. 2010.  Characterization of Two Transcription Factor Genes in Fusarium graminearum. 10th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minorities (ABRCMS) held in Charlotte, NC. (Poster)
Catlett SM, Stamey EM, Shychuk AJ, Armentrout AM,
Flaherty, JE. 2009. Molecular characterization of insertional mutant 8B5 of Fusarium graminearum. Phytopathology 99:S20. Annual Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society held in Portland, OR. (Poster)
Catlett SM, Gerberich KM, Johnson SA, Flaherty JE. 2009.Characterization of developmental mutants of Fusarium graminearum. American Phytopathological Society - Southern Division Meeting held at Atlanta, GA. (Oral)
Catlett SM, Zearfoss AD, Gerberich KM, Johnson SA, Flaherty JE. 2008. Quantitative Expression Analysis of Candidate Regulatory Genes Involved in Asexual Fungal Development. SC Academy of Sciences annual meeting held at Clemson, SC. (Poster)
Rayfield AB, Burnham AM, Lane LA, Shychuk AJ, Fraser DE, Flaherty JE. 2008. Population dynamics of Fusarium species found in soils at the Coker Historical Farm in Hartsville, South Carolina. SC Academy of Sciences annual meeting held at Clemson, SC. (Poster)
Catlett SM, Flaherty JE. 2008. Quantitative Expression Analysis of Candidate Regulatory Genes Involved in Light-Responsive Fungal Development. Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities held at Greer, SC. (Oral)
Zearfoss AD, Parrott LA, Kelly AG, Xu J-R, Dunkle LD, Flaherty JE. 2007. Identification of two tagged-insertional mutants of Fusarium graminearum impaired in asexual reproduction. Phytopathology 97:S128. Annual Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society held in San Diego, CA. (Poster)
Burton MA, Flaherty JE. 2006. Characterization of targeted gene disruptants of the plant-pathogenic fungus, Fusarium graminearum. National Council of Undergraduate Research, National Meeting, Asheville, NC. (Poster)

 

Publications:

Bluhm, BH, X Zhao, JE Flaherty, J-R Xu and LD Dunkle. 2007. RAS2 regulates growth and pathogenesis in Fusarium graminearum. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 20:627-636.

Flaherty, JE and LD Dunkle. 2005. Identification and expression analysis of regulatory genes induced during conidiation in Exserohilum turcicum. Fungal Genetics and Biology 42:471-481.

Flaherty, JE and CP Woloshuk. 2004. Regulation of fumonisin biosynthesis in Fusarium verticilliodes by a zinc binuclear cluster-type gene, ZFR1. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70:2653-2659.

Shim, W-B, JE Flaherty (equal contributors) and CP Woloshuk. 2003. Comparison of fumonisin B1 biosynthesis in maize germ and degermed kernels by Fusarium verticillioides. Journal of Food Protection 66:2116-2122.

Flaherty, JE, AM Pirtilla, BH Bluhm and CP Woloshuk. 2003. Role of PAC1, a pH regulatory gene from Fusarium verticillioides, in growth and fumonisin biosynthesis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69:5222-5227.

Bluhm, BH, JE Flaherty, M Cousin and CP Woloshuk. 2002. PCR detection of fumonisin and trichothecence producing Fusarium species. Journal of Food Protection 65:1955-1961.

Flaherty, JE, BK Harbaugh, JB Jones, GC Somodi and LE Jackson. 2001. Use of H-mutant bacteriophages to control bacterial blight of geranium. HortScience 36:98-100.

Flaherty, JE, JB Jones, BK Harbaugh, GC Somodi and LE Jackson. 2000. Control of bacterial spot on tomato in the greenhouse and field with bacteriophages. HortScience 35:882-884.

Du, W-L, Z-Y Huang, K Wells, JE Flaherty (equal contributors) and GA Payne. 1999. Green fluorescent protein as a reporter to monitor gene expression and food colonization by Aspergillus flavus. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 65:834-836.

Liu, BH, JF Brewer, JE Flaherty, GA Payne, D Bhatnagar and FS Chu. 1998. Immunochemical identification of AFLR, a regulatory protein involved in aflatoxin biosynthesis. Food and Agricultural Immunology 9:289-298.

Flaherty, JE and GA Payne. 1997. Overexpression of AFLR leads to upregulation of pathway gene transcription and increased aflatoxin production in Aspergillus flavus. Applied Environmental Microbiology 63:3995-4000.

Flaherty, JE, MA Weaver, GA Payne and CP Woloshuk. 1995. A beta-glucuronidase reporter gene construct for monitoring aflatoxin biosynthesis in Aspergillus flavus. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 61:2482-2486.

 
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