Neha Potnis

Associate Professor (Bacteriology)

Entomology & Plant Pathology

(334) 844-2524 


Get In Touch

226 Rouse Life Science Building
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • 2007-2011 Ph.D., Plant Pathology — University of Florida
  • 2005-2007 M.S., Microbiology — University of Pune
  • 2002-2005 B.S., Microbiology — University of Pune


  • August 2016-Present Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology — Auburn University
  • 2015-August 2016 Research Plant Pathologist/Post-doctoral Associate, USDA-ARS, US Vegetable Laboratory
  • 2011-2015 Post-doctoral Research Associate, Plant Pathology — University of Florida
  • 2007-2011 Graduate Research Assistant, Plant Pathology — University of Florida


RESEARCH FOCUS: Ecology and Evolution of Plant-Pathogen Interactions

My research program focuses on advancing the fundamental understanding of dynamics of host- pathogen interactions and finding ways to integrate this knowledge to better manage plant diseases. I am also interested in understanding how ecological factors shape the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions. My program emphasizes the power of Omics tools in achieving the above mentioned goals.



Peer-reviewed Publications:

  • White, F. F., Potnis, N., Jones, J. B., and Koebnik, R. 2009. The Type III effectors of Xanthomonas. Mol Plant Pathol.10:749-766.
  • Moreira, L., Almeida, N., Potnis, N., Digiampietri, L., Vinatzer, B., and Setubal, J., et al., 2010. Novel insights into the genomic basis of citrus canker based on the genome sequences of two strains of Xanthomonas fuscans subsp. aurantifolii. BMC Genomics. 11:238.
  • Potnis, N., Krasileva, K., Chow, V., Almeida, N.F., Patil, P. B., Ryan, R. P., Sharlach, M., Behlau, F., Dow, J. M., Momol, M. T., White, F. F., Preston, J. F., Vinatzer, B. A., Koebnik, R., Setubal, J. C., Norman, D. J., Staskawicz, B. J., and Jones, J. B. 2011. Comparative genomics reveals diversity among xanthomonads infecting tomato and pepper. BMC Genomics. 12:146.
  • Ryan, R. P., Vorholter, F., Potnis, N., Jones, J. B., Van-Sluys, M., Bogdanove, A., and Dow, J. M. 2011.Pathogenomics of Xanthomonas: understanding bacterium-plant interactions. Nature Reviews Microbiology.9:344-355.
  • Potnis, N., Minsavage, G., Kennon Smith, J., Hurlbert, J. C., Norman, D., Rodrigues, R., Stall, R. E., and Jones, J. B. 2012. Avirulence proteins AvrBs7 from Xanthomonas gardneri and AvrBs1.1 from Xanthomonas euvesicatoria Contribute to a Novel Gene-for-Gene Interaction in Pepper. MPMI. 25(3):307-320.
  • Goss, E., Potnis, N., and Jones, J. B. 2013. Grudgingly sharing their secrets: New insight into the evolution of Plant pathogenic bacteria. New Phytologist Commentary. 199(3):630-632.
  • Potnis, N., Soto-Arias, J. P., Cowles, K., van Bruggan, A., Jones, J. B., and Barak, J. D. 2014.Xanthomonasperforans colonization influences Salmonella enterica in the tomato phyllosphere.Applied and Environmental Microbiology. (Published ahead of print March 2014, doi:10.1128/AEM.00345-14).
  • Kebede, M., Timilsina, S., Ayalew, A., Admassu, B., Potnis, N.,Minsavage, G.V., Goss, E. M., Hong, J. C., Strayer, A., Paret, M., Jones, J.B., and Vallad, G.E. 2014. Molecular characterization of Xanthomonas strains responsible for bacterial spot of tomato in Ethiopia.European Journal of Plant Pathology. DOI 10.1007/s10658-014-0497-3.
  • Jibrin, M.O., Timilsina, S., Potnis, N., Minsavage, G.V., Shenge, K.C., Akpa, A. D., Alegbejo, M. D., Beed, F., Vallad, G.E., and Jones, J.B. 2014. First report of Xanthomonaseuvesicatoria causing bacterial spot disease in pepper in Northwestern Nigeria. Plant Disease. 98(1):1426.
  • Timilsina, S., Goss, E.M., Potnis, N., Minsavage, G.V., Kebede, M, Schwartz, A., Bart, R., Jibrin, M., Pruvost, O., Staskawicz, B.J., Vallad, G.E., Jones, J.B. 2015. Multilocus sequencing analysis of xanthomonads causing bacterial spot of tomato and pepper reveals strains generated by recombination among species and recent global spread of X. gardneri. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 81(4): 1520-1529.
  • Potnis, N., Timilsina, S., Strayer, A., Shantharaj, D., Barak, J.D., Paret, M., Vallad, G.E., and Jones, J.B. 2014. Bacterial spot xanthomonads – Pathogen profile. Molecular Plant Pathology.DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12244
  • Jibrin, M.O., Timilsina, S., Potnis, N., Minsavage, G.V., Shenge, K.C., Akpa, A. D., Alegbejo, M. D., Beed, F., Vallad, G.E., and Jones, J.B. 2014. First report of atypical Xanthomonaseuvesicatoria strains causing bacterial spot of tomato in Nigeria. Plant Disease. Accepted.
  • Gochez, A. M., Minsavage, G.V., Potnis, N., Canteros, B. I., Stall R.E., and Jones, J. B. 2015. A functional XopAG homolog in X. fuscanspv.aurantifolii C strains limits host range. Journal of Plant Pathology. DOI: 10.1111/ppa.12361
  • Rockey, W., Potnis, N., Hong, J.C., Timilsina, S., Jones, J.B., and Norman, D.J. 2015. Multilocus sequence analysis reveals genetic diversity in xanthomonads associated with poinsettia production. Plant Disease. 99(6): 874-882.
  • Schwartz, A.*, Potnis, N.*, Bart, R., Timilsina, S., Barak, J. D., Vallad, G.V., Jones, J.B., and Staskawicz, B. J. 2015. Phylogenomicsof Xanthomonas field strains infecting pepper and tomato reveals diversity in effector repertoires and identifies determinants of host specificity. Frontiers in Plant Science, section Plant-Microbe Interaction, Research Topic titled “Genomics and Effectomics of the crop killer Xanthomonas”. Published on 3 June 2015. DOI: 10.3389/fmlcb.2015.00535 (*Both authors contributed equally).
  • Potnis, N., Colee, J., Jones, J. B., and Barak, J. D. 2015. Plant-pathogen induced watersoaking promotes Salmonella enterica growth on tomato leaves. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 81(23): 8126-8134.
  • Gochez, A., Shantharaj, D.,Potnis, N., Minsavage, G. V., Stall., R. E., Canteros, N., Jones, J. B. 2016. Molecular characterization of XopAG effector AvrGf2 from Xanthomonas fuscans ssp. aurantifolii in grapefruit. Molecular Plant Pathology. Early View. DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12408.
  • Peng, Z., Hu, Y., Xie, J., Potnis, N., Akhunova, A., Jones, J., Liu, Z., White, F.F., and Liu, S. 2016. Long read and single molecule DNA sequencing simplifies genome assembly and TAL effector gene analysis of Xanthomonas translucens. BMC Genomics. 17:21. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-2348-9.
  • Timilsina, S., Abrahamian, P., Potnis, N., Minsavage, G.V., White, F.F., Staskawicz, B. J., Jones, J.B., Vallad, G. E., Goss, E.M. 2016. Analysis of sequenced genomes of Xanthomonas perforans identifies candidate targets for resistance breeding in tomato. Phytopathology. 03-16-0119-FI
  • Book Chapters
  • Potnis, N., and Jones, J.B. 2015. Bacterial spot of tomato and pepper. In Virulence mechanisms of plant pathogenic bacteria. Hot Topics in Phytobacteriology, APS Press.
  • Potnis, N., Setubal, J.C., Bart, R., Shantharaj, D., and Jones, J.B. 2015. High-throughtput sequencing technology as a tool in understanding plant pathogenic bacteria.In Virulence mechanisms of plant pathogenic bacteria. Hot Topics in Phytobacteriology, APS Press.