Leonardo De La Fuente


Entomology & Plant Pathology

(334) 844-2582 



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209 Life Sciences Bldg
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • Ph.D. in Plant Pathology (2005) – Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA.
    Dissertation: Characterization of ecological and physiological basis of superior rhizosphere colonization of fluorescent pseudomonad genotypes. Advisors: David M. Weller and Linda S. Thomashow.
  • M. S. in Biology. Minor: Microbiology (2000) – PEDECIBA (Program for the Development of Basic Sciences), University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay. Thesis: Biological control strategies of the native strain Pseudomonas fluorescens UP61
  • B. S. in Biochemistry (1996) – School of Sciences, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay


English and Spanish



  • 2014-Present Associate Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University
  • 2008-2014 Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University
  • 2005-2008 Postdoctoral Associate. Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University. Supervisors: Harvey Hoch and Tom Burr. Use of “artificial” xylem vessels (microfluidic chambers) to study biological aspects of the bacterial pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, such as xylem colonization, biofilm formation and twitching movement.
  • 2001-2005 Graduate research assistant. Department of Plant Pathology. Washington State University. Advisers: D.M. Weller and L.S. Thomashow. I studied ecological and physiological aspects of rhizosphere colonization by Pseudomonas fluorescens producing the antibiotic 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG).
  • 1999-2001 Research assistant for Project “Reduction of the chemical inputs in a vegetable crop by the use of beneficial rhizospheric microorganisms.” Project Director: Philippe Lemanceau (INRA, Dijon, France). Funded by European Union. INCO-DC EU. In this joint project among European and South American laboratories, we studied the use of beneficial Pseudomonas and mycorrhizas to improve tomato yield.
  • 1998-2001 Teaching assistant. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of the Republic. Montevideo, Uruguay. Professors: Susana Castro, Adriana Estévez, Claudio Martínez. 2000. Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology courses for graduates and undergraduates students.
  • 1997-1998 Teaching assistant. Nitrogen Fixation and Mycorrhizal Fungi Associate Unit. Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Agrononomy, University of the Republic. Montevideo, Uruguay. Professor: Lillián Frioni. 1997. Microbiology courses for graduates and undergraduates students.
  • 1993-2001 Research scholar. Department of Biochemistry, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable (IIBCE). Montevideo, Uruguay. Supervisor: Alicia Arias. I studied the use of native fluorescent Pseudomonas strains to protect forage legumes against seedling diseases. The mechanisms of biocontrol elucidated in P. fluorescens UP61 included the production of antibiotics with broad range of activity against phytopathogens. I studied the interactions among biocontrol P. fluorescens strains and commercially available rhizobial strains used as inoculants in Uruguay.


  • 2012 – Schroth Faces of the Future – New Frontiers in Plant Bacteriology. American Phytopathological Society
  • 2004-2005 – Storkan-Hanes-McCaslin Foundation. Grant: “Ecology of rhizosphere fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. involved in suppression of soilborne pathogens”
  • 2004 – Graduate and Professional Students Association of the Washington State University. Graduate student travel grant to attend the 2004 APS Annual Meeting held at Anaheim, California (USA)
  • 2003 – APS Student Travel Award to attend the 2003 APS Annual Meeting held at Charlotte, North Carolina (USA)
  • 1999-2000 – International Foundation for Science (IFS) (Sweden). Grant: “Native fluorescent Pseudomonas as biocontrol agents of alfalfa seedling diseases”
  • 1999-2000 – M.Sc. Scholarship. PEDECIBA Biology (Program for the Development of Basic Sciences), University of the Republic. Montevideo, Uruguay



My research interests are focused on the interactions between plants and associated microorganisms. Particularly, I am interested in infection processes, host colonization, biofilm formation, and molecular characterization of bacterial plant pathogens. I am answering research questions about the biology of pathogenic bacteria using a variety of microbiology and molecular biology techniques, as well as nanotechnology.


  • PLPA 4980 – Undergraduate Research
  • PLPA 4960 –  Special Problems in Plant Pathology
  • PLPA 7300 – Plant-Bacterial Interactions
  • ENTM/PLPA 7930/8930 – Journal review for Entomology and Plant Pathology
  • PLPA 8880 – Physiological and molecular Plant Pathology


Please visit the lab link above or visit Google Scholar Profile.

Professional Societies

  • American Phytopathological Society
  • American Society for Microbiology