About Basu Lab

The Basu lab focuses on multiple research areas:

  • Biological control for honey bee varroa mites
  • Molecular ecology
  • Disease ecology
  • Sustainable pest and pathogen management

Metarhizium is a sporulating soil fungus. The Basu lab studies the effects of these microbial biopesticides for varroa mite control and aims to discover new strains of Metarhizium that can be more effective and tolerant to warmer temperatures.  This labs primary goal is to produce new and effective strategies for beekeepers to use, in Washington and globally. There is also interest in investigating how these microbial biopesticides can be used to control other potential plant pests to boost agroeconomy.

Molecular, biochemical, and ecological tools are utilized to study various aspects of complex species to community interactions. Previous research findings have shown that beneficial soil mutualistic microbes improve plant responses to both pathogens and pests by enhancing plant defense chemistry and nutritional quality (Basu et al. 2021, Functional Ecology; Basu et al. 2022, Basic and Applied Ecology).

Values and Philosophy

Basu Lab aims to manifest a highly collaborative environment and show mutual respect by being highly committed toward promotion of DEI principles and gender equality.

Basu lab is committed to performing excellent, original, and quality research.

Lab Members

Dr. Saumik Basu (PI)

Dr. Basu’s research is directed toward molecular ecology and pest biological control in various agriculturally important systems of Pacific North West. He works in the interface of basic and applied research to find sustainable, effective and eco-friendly strategies to improve crop yield, and achieve enhanced plant tolerance. He is excited to be involved in the development of effective biopesticides to control varroa mites, a major pest of honey bees.

Pooja Malhotra

Pooja is the Lab Manager for Basu Lab and the WSU bee program. She is involved with the Molecular and Biochemical aspects Metarhizium projects and helps the WSU bee lab with various molecular support. Pooja did her M.Sc. with Dr. David Crowder from this Department and her dissertation was focused on investing the effects of soil mutualistic rhizobia and drought on pea-insect-virus interactions in peas. She also had another M.Sc. degree from Presidency University, India in Biotechnology. Beyond molecular and ecological research, she is also proficient in teaching. She taught various entomology courses, as a teaching assistant and an instructor, in the department with Prof. Dr. Laura Lavine, Prof. and Chair of Entomology.

Join the lab

Now hiring: Postdoctoral Researcher

Basu lab is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to work on biological control of major honey bee pest, varroa mites, using the biopesticide Metarhizium fungus. This position will involve a significant amout of travel. Interested candidates with strong beekeeping experience and some knowledge of molecular biology are encouraged to apply. For more information or details contact Dr. Basu or wait for the advertisement to be posted. A link for this will be opportunity will be shared soon.

Prospective Masters Graduate Students

Basu lab is interested in hiring a masters student but this is based on availability of funding and resources. Please contact Dr. Basu if you are interested in my lab for pursuing M.Sc. You will discuss whether your mutual research interests match.

Prospective Undergraduates

We are in constant need of dedicated and hard working undergraduates. Feel free to contact Dr. Basu.

Saumik Basu’s Peer-Reviewed Publications

Malhotra, P.; Basu, S*. (2023) The Intricate Role of Ecdysis Triggering Hormone Signaling in Insect Development and Reproductive Regulation. Insects14, 711. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14080711

Cohen A, Basu S, Crowder DW. (2023) Water stress mediates interactions between potato plants, psyllid vectors, and a bacterial pathogen. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiac142

Clark RE, Basu S, Eigenbrode SD, Oeller E, Crowder DW. (2023). Risk assessment for non-crop hosts of Pea Enation Mosaic Virus and the aphid vector Acyrthosiphon pisum. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/afe.12564

Pingault L, Basu S, Vellichirammal NN, Williams WP, Palmer N, Sarath G and Louis J. (2022). Co-transcriptomic analysis of the maize-western corn rootworm interaction. Plants (MDPI). DOI: 10.3390/plants11182335

Kansman J, Basu S, Casteel CL, Crowder DW, Lee BW, Nihranz CT, Finke DL. (2022).  Plant water stress reduces aphid performance: Exploring mechanisms driven by water stress intensity. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2022.846908

Basu S*, Lee BW,Clark RE, Bera S, Casteel CL, Crowder DW. (2022).Effects of soil rhizobia in inducing anti-herbivore defense and altering host plant quality in peas in response to S. lineatus feeding. Basic and Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2022.08.005 (*= Corresponding author).

Lee BW, Clark RE, Basu S, Crowder DW. (2022). Predators affect a plant virus through direct and trait-mediated indirect effects on vectors. Food webs. DOI: 10.1016/j.fooweb.2022.e00251

Pingault L, Basu S, Zogli P, Williams WP, Palmer N, Sarath G and Louis J. (2021). Aboveground herbivory influences belowground defense responses in maize. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2021.765940

Bloom E, Oeller E, Olsson R, Brousil M, Schaeffer R, Basu S, Fu Z, Crowder D. (2021). Documenting pollinators, floral hosts, and plant-pollinator interactions in Pacific Northwest US agroecosystems. Ecology. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3606

Basu S*, Clark RE, Casteel CL, Crowder DW. (2021). Responses of pea plants to multiple antagonists are mediated by order of attack and phytohormone crosstalk. Molecular Ecology. DOI:  10.1101/2021.02.17.431727 (*= Corresponding author).

Basu et al. (2021) Molecular Ecology.

Lee BW, Basu S, Bera S, Casteel CL, Crowder DW. (2021). Vector responses to predation risk and alarm pheromones affect plant virus transmission. Oecologia. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-021-04989-6

Basu S*, Clark RE, Blundell R, Casteel CL, Crowder DW. (2021). Reciprocal plant-mediated antagonism between a legume plant virus and soil rhizobia. Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13828 (*= Corresponding author).

Schaeffer RN, Pfeiffer VW, Basu S, Brousil M, Strohm C, DuPont ST, Vannette RL, Crowder DW. (2021).Orchard management and landscape context mediate the floral microbiome of pear. Applied Environmental Microbiology. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00048-21

Basu S*, Clark RE, Fu Z, Lee BW, Crowder DW. (2020). Insect alarm pheromones in response to predators: molecular mechanisms and ecological trade-offs in food web interactions. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2020.103514 (*= Corresponding author).

Basu et. al (2020) Insect Biochem. and Molec. Biology.

Basu S, Singh D, Sahu S, Singh AK, Chakraborty S. (2020). Role of viral suppressors governing asymmetric synergism between tomato-infecting begomoviruses. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-020-11070-4 

Chisholm PJ, Eigenbrode SD, Clark RE, Basu S, Crowder DW. (2019). Plant-mediated indirect interactions between a vector and a non-vector herbivore promotes the spread of a plant virus. Proceedings of Royal society B. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2019.1383.

Basu S, Pereira AE, Pinheiro DH, Wang H, Siegfried BD, Louis J, Vélez AM (2019). Evaluation of reference genes for expression analysis using quantitative real-time PCR in southern corn rootworm, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi (Barber). Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-47020-y

Palmer NA, Basu S, Heng-Moss T, Bradshaw JD, Sarath S, Louis J (2019). Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda Smith) feeding elicits differential defense responses in upland and lowland switchgrass. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218352

Clark RE, Basu S, Lee BW, Crowder DW. (2019). Tri-trophic interactions and non-vector herbivores determine the spread of vector-borne pathogens through trait- and density-mediated mechanisms. Ecology. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2879

 Basu S, Kumar Kushwaha N, Kumar Singh A, Pankaj Sahu P, Vinoth Kumar R, Chakraborty S. (2018). Dynamics of a geminivirus encoded pre-coat protein and host RNA- dependent RNA polymerase 1 in regulating symptom recovery in tobacco. Journal of Experimental Botany.  DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ery043

Basu S, Varsani S, Louis J. (2018). Altering Plant Defenses: Herbivore-Associated Molecular Patterns and Effector Arsenal of Chewing Herbivores. Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction. DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-07-17-0183-FI

Ray S, Basu S, Rivera-Vega LJ, Acevedo FE, Louis J, Felton GW, Luthe DS. (2016). Lessons from the Far End: Caterpillar FRASS-Induced Defenses in Maize, Rice, Cabbage, and Tomato. Journal of Chemical Ecology, DOI: 10.1007/s10886-016-0776-x

Varsani S, Basu S, Williams WP, Felton GW, Luthe DS, Louis J. (2016). Intraplant communication in maize contributes to defense against insects. Plant Signaling and Behavior. DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2016.1212800

Louis J, Basu S, Varsani S, Castano-Duque L, Jiang V, Wiiliams WP, Felton GW, Luthe DS. (2015) Ethylene contributes to mir1-mediated maize defense against the phloem-sap sucking corn leaf aphid. Plant Physiology. DOI: 10.1104/pp.15.00958

Kumar RV, Singh AK, Singh AK, Yadav T, Basu S, Kushwaha N, Chattopadhyay B, Chakraborty S. (2015). Complexity of begomovirus and betasatellite populations associated with chilli leaf curl disease in India. Journal of General Virology. DOI: 10.1099/jgv.0.000254

Sharma VK, Basu S, Chakraborty S. (2015). RNAi mediated broad-spectrum transgenic resistance in Nicotiana benthamiana to chilli-infecting begomoviruses. Plant Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1007/s00299-015-1795-8

Kushwaha N, Singh AK, Basu S, Chakraborty S. (2015). Differential response of diverse solanaceous hosts to tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus infection indicates coordinated action of NBS-LRR and RNAi-mediated host defense. Achieves of Virology. DOI: 10.1007/s00705-015-2399-x

Sharma VK, Kushwaha N, Basu S, Singh AK, Chakraborty S. (2015). Identification of siRNA generating hot spots in multiple viral suppressors to generate broad-spectrum antiviral resistance in plants. Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants. DOI: 10.1007/s12298-014-0264-0

Ranjan P, Singh AK, Kumar RV, Basu S, Chakraborty S. (2014). Host-specific adaptation of diverse betasatellites associated with distinct Indian tomato-infecting begomoviruses. Virus Genes. DOI: 10.1007/s11262-013-1031-y

In submission/review/revision

Malhotra P#, Basu S#*, Lee BW, Crowder DW. Effects of soil rhizobia and drought on plant-vector-pathogen interactions on a legume host. FEMS Microbiology Ecology (Submitted, in review, *#= Co-first and corresponding author).

Malhotra P#, Basu S#*, Lee BW, Oeller LC, Crowder DW. Effects of abundance of soil rhizobia on tri-trophic interactions mediated by a vector-borne pathogen in a legume host (In submission with Microorganisms (MDPI) *#= Co-first and corresponding author).

Wendlandt CE, Basu S, Montoya AP, Roberts P, StewartJD, Coffin A, Crowder DW, Porter SS. Managing friends and foes: Sanctions against ineffective mutualists trades off with defense against antagonists. Proceedings of Royal Society B (Submitted, in review).

Chisholm PJ, Basu S, Charlton A, Reganold JP, Crowder DW. Soil rhizobia mediate interactions between vectors, pathogens, and plant yields. The ISME Journal (in revision).

Book Chapters

Basu S, Sharma VK, Bhattacharyya D, Chakraborty S. (2014). An overview of antiviral RNA in plant: biogenesis, host-virus interaction and potential applications. “Approaches to Plant Stress and their Management”. Springer Verlag publishers. DOI: 10.1007/978-81-322-1620-9_18