Donna M. Becker

Professor Dr. Becker in the greenhouse

New Science Facility 2013
Phone (906) 227-2443



B.A., Biology, Northern Michigan University

Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University

Research Associate, Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota


Research Interests

Research in my lab involves the study of plant-microbe interactions. The overarching theme involves investigating the microbial ecology of plant-associated microbes and applying that knowledge to improve plant growth. We are primarily focusing on rhizosphere microbes, particularly Streptomyces bacteria and ectomycorrhizal fungi, for their ability to stimulate Pinus resinosa (red pine) seedling growth and increase the ability of the seedling to tolerate environmental or biotic stresses. We are also studying other Streptomyces bacteria for their abilities to inhibit the potato scab disease pathogen, Streptomyces scabies. Other projects have involved isolating and identifying yeast species coexisting on plants, investigating novel plant tissue culture techniques, and examining the impact of aquatic plants on survival of Escherichia coli in lakes.


BI 100  Biological Science
BI 230  Plant Kingdom
BI 303  General Microbiology
BI 391  Laboratory Experience
BI 402  Microbial Ecology
BI 431  Plant Physiology
BI 498  Directed Studies in Biology
BI 499  Internship
BI 589  Research in Biology
BI 598  Directed Studies in Biology
BI 599  Thesis in Biology

Selected Publications

  • Kinkel, L.L., and Becker, D.M.  2000.  Actinomycetes.  In:  Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology, O.C. Maloy and  T.D. Murray, eds.  John Wiley and Sons, NY. 
  • Becker, D. M., and Kinkel, L. L.  1999.  Strategies for quantitative isolation of Streptomyces from soil for studies of pathogen ecology and disease biocontrol.  In: Recent Research Developments in Microbiology, Research Signpost, Trivandrum, India  3:349-362.
  • Becker, D. M., Podila, G. K., and Bagley, S. T.  1999.  Effects of mycorrhizal-associated streptomycetes on gene expression in Laccaria bicolor, and on growth of Laccaria bicolor, Cenococcum geophilum,and Armillaria species.  Mycologia 91:33-40.
  • Becker, D. M., Kinkel, L. L., and Schottel, J. L.  1997.  Evidence for interspecies communication and its potential role in pathogen suppression in a naturally-occurring disease suppressive soil.  Can. J. Microbiol.  43:985-990.