Sara Thomas Sharma

Sara Thomas-Sharma

 Assistant Professor

426 Life Sciences Building
Baton Rouge LA 70803
Phone: (225)578-8537
Fax: (225)578-1415

Curriculum Vitae




Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI (2015-2017)
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (2013-2015)
Ph.D., Plant Pathology, University of Georgia Athens, GA (2006-2012)
B.Sc., Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, India (2002-2006)

Areas of Specialization

Field Crop Pathology

How do plant disease epidemics develop? For any disease, an improved understanding of the interaction between the pathogen, host, and environment will provide insights to disease management. We address epidemiological knowledge gaps associated with diseases of Louisiana field crops.

Using the tools and principles of epidemiology, ecology, molecular biology, and biochemistry we study disease development and spread. The overall aim of the projects is to provide insights to develop novel/improved disease management solutions.  One focal disease in the lab is Cercospora leaf blight on soybean. This fungal disease causes major economic losses in the state and soybean growers have limited management options. A project currently underway focuses on the toxin, cercosporin, known to play a key role in disease development. We are studying the role of metal ions in toxin production and mineral nutrition as a tool to reduce symptoms.


K. A. Garrett, R. I. Alcalá-Briseño, K. F. Andersen, J. Brawner, R. A. Choudhury, E. Delaquis, J. Fayette, R. Poudel, D. Purves, J. Rothschild, I. M. Small, S. Thomas-Sharma, Y. Xing. 2019. Effective altruism as an ethical lens on research priorities. Phytopathology, published online (

K. O. Ogero, J. F. Kreuze, M. A. McEwan, N. D. Luambano, H. Bachwenkizi, K. A. Garrett, K. F. Andersen, S. Thomas‐Sharma, R. A. A. van der Vlugt. 2019. Efficiency of insect‐proof net tunnels in reducing virus‐related seed degeneration in sweet potato. Plant Pathology 68, 1472–1480 (doi: 10.1111/ppa.13069)

S. Thomas-Sharma, L. Wells-Hansen, R. Page, V. Kartanos, E. Saalau-Rojas, B.E.L. Lockhart, P. McManus. 2018. Characterization of Blueberry shock virus, an emerging Ilarvirus in cranberry. Plant Disease: 102:91-97 (doi:10.1094/PDIS-04-17-0551-RE)

C. E. Buddenhagen, J. F. Hernandez Nopsa, K. F. Andersen, J. Andrade-Piedra, G. A. Forbes, P. Kromann, S. Thomas-Sharma, P. Useche, and K. A. Garrett. 2017. Epidemic network analysis for mitigation of invasive pathogens in seed systems: Potato in Ecuador. Phytopathology 107: 1209-1218 (doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-03-17-0108-FI)

S. Thomas-Sharma, J. Andrade-Piedra, M. Carvajal Yepes, J. Hernandez Nopsa, M. Jeger, R. Jones, P. Kromann, J. Legg, J. Yuen, G. A. Forbes, and K. A. Garrett. 2017. A risk assessment framework for seed degeneration: Informing an integrated seed health strategy for vegetatively-propagated crops. Phytopathology 107: 1123-1135 (doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-09-16-0340-R)

S. Thomas-Sharma, J. H. Leebens-Mack, and H. Scherm. 2017. Marker gene overexpression in flowers treated with resistance inducers does not correlate with protection against flower-infecting fungi in tomato and blueberry. J Phytopathol 165: 53–63 (doi:10.1111/jph.12536)

S. Thomas-Sharma and H. Scherm. 2017. Pre- and post-anthesis activity of fenbuconazole and triforine against blueberry flower infection by Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi. Crop Protection 96: 180-187 (doi: 10.1016/j.cropro.2017.02.016)

S. Thomas-Sharma, A. Abdurahman, S. Ali, J.L. Andrade-Piedra, S. Bao, A. O. Charkowski, D. Crook, M. Kadian,  P. Kromann, P. C. Struik, L. Torrance, K. A. Garrett, and G. A. Forbes. 2016. Seed degeneration in potato: the need for an integrated seed health strategy to mitigate the problem in developing countries. Plant Pathology 65: 3-16 (doi: 10.1111/ppa.12439)

J. F. Hernandez Nopsa, G. J. Daglish, D. W. Hagstrum, J. F. Leslie, T. W. Phillips, C. Scoglio, S. Thomas-Sharma, G. H. Walter, and K. A. Garrett. 2015. Ecological networks in stored grain: Identifying key nodes for emerging pests and mycotoxins in postharvest networks. BioScience 65:985-1002 (doi:10.1093/biosci/biv122)

J. F. Hernandez Nopsa, S. Thomas-Sharma, and K. A. Garrett. 2014. Climate change and plant disease. In: Encyclopedia of Agriculture and Food Systems. N. van Alfen, ed. Elsevier Ltd. 231-243 K. A. Garrett, S. Thomas-Sharma, G.A. Forbes, and J. H. Hernandez Nopsa. 2014. Climate change and plant pathogen invasions. In Invasive Species and Global Climate Change. L. H. Ziska and J. S. Dukes, eds. CABI Publishing. 22-44