Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology

The Baum Lab

Got a question?

Correspondence should be directed to:

Dr. Thomas Baum
Professor and Chair
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
351 Bessey Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

ph: (515) 294-2398
fax:(515) 294-9420

Questions about the website should be directed to the site creator, Tom Maier.
ph: (515) 294-8854


Research in the Baum lab focuses on the compatible interaction between cyst nematodes and their hosts with particular emphasis on the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) and the sugar beet cyst nematode (H. schachtii).  To a smaller extent, some projects are dealing with the root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp.  This group of so-called sedentary endoparasitic phytonematodes represents the most damaging group of plant-parasitic nematode and is responsible for billions of annual losses.  We are working to understand the molecular, genetic, and biochemical events of successful plant parasitism, the so-called compatible interaction. For this purpose, we are characterizing the signal transduction events leading to successful nematode establishment and parasitism with an ever increasing emphasis on cell biological approaches. These efforts include characterization of changes in plant and nematode gene expression during the different phases of parasitism, functional characterization of genes involved in the plant-nematode interaction, and most importantly, the study of nematode effector proteins, a group of molecules we call parasitism proteins.



We are frequently using the Arabidopsis thaliana model system because this plant is successfully infected by H. schachtii and gives us access to a wide variety of genetic and molecular resources.  Ultimately, understanding the compatible plant-nematode interaction will allow us to interfere with parasitism through genetic engineering of host plants in order to solve major agricultural and horticultural problems.  Currently, we are using an RNAi-based approach to decrease plant susceptibility to nematodes..

Lab Facts


The Baum Lab is located in Ames, Iowa, in the heart of the heartland, approximately 35 miles north of Des Moines, Iowa's capital. Ames is a city of more than 50,000 people, with a major university, yet still maintains a small town atmosphere. For more information about Ames, please visit this site.

The campus of Iowa State University is regarded as one of the nation's most beautiful. To see for yourself, please visit this site. For a map of the Iowa State Campus, as well as surrounding areas, please use this ISU site.


The Baum Lab is a member of the following units:



The Baum Lab is funded, in part by:

Iowa Soybean Promotion Board
Iowa Soybean Promotion Board

United Soybean Board
United Soybean Board

USDA National Research Initiative (NRI) Competitive Grants Program



NSF Plant Genome Research Program