Dr. Bob Pruitt’s research is presently focused on two areas that use basic science techniques to address applied problems. The first involves studying the nature of bacterial interactions with plants, with a particular focus on human pathogens that contaminate fresh produce. The goals of this research are to understand how pathogenic bacteria are introduced into the plant system and what bacterial, plant and environmental factors allow them to survive and proliferate. Experiments utilize techniques ranging from traditional microbiology and genetics to modern sequencing methods to examine the microbial communities associated with commercial produce. The second area is to try and develop a modern plant molecular genetic/genomic system to apply to the study of weed science. Availability of a genome sequence together with a comprehensive set of molecular markers would greatly simplify the study of the natural and selected variation in weed traits that affect weed life history as well as those that impact agriculture.