The Team

Principal Investigator

Takao Kasuga
Molecular Geneticist

Office:   382 Hutchison Hall
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

   (530) 752-0766
   (530) 754-7195
Email:    tkasuga at


After receiving his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Engineering from Waseda University in Japan, he went to Aberdeen University, Scotland to do his Ph.D. in Genetics under the mentorship of Keith Mitchelson. His dissertation research investigated the population structures of forest pathogens Cronartium flaccidum and Heterobasidion annosum. After that he did his postdoc in the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, Oklahoma with Madan Bhattacharyya, where he worked on a project to map Phytophthora resistance genes in soybean. Takao then moved to Roche Molecular Systems, Alameda, California, and investigated biogeography of human pathogenic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum with Thomas White and John Taylor. Between 2002 and 2008, he was involved in Neurospora Genome Project with Louise Glass at UC Berkeley. In 2008, Takao joined the USDA-ARS in Davis, CA.


PhD     1995, Genetics, University of Aberdeen
MEng   1991, Catalytic Chemistry, Waseda University
BEng    1989, Applied Chemistry, Waseda University

Graduate Student

Jennifer Yuzon

Graduate Student
Office: 355 Hutchison Hall
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

Email: jdyuzon at



Jennifer Yuzon obtained her B.Sc. in Microbiology at the University of California, San Diego and received her M.Sc. in Environmental Biology from Utrecht University. Under the mentorship of Prof. R. de Vries, she studied extracellular carbohydrate-active enzymes of Agaricus bisporus under commercial conditions. She also investigated the molecular phylogeny of the lichenized Ascomycete Bagliettoa under the mentorship of Dr. C. Gueidan at the Natural History Museum in London. She is currently in the doctoral program in Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, under the mentorship of Dr. T. Kasuga. Since she joined the Phytophthora Genomics Laboratory in 2014, her research interests include the epigenetic mechanisms contributing to the invasive biology and pathogenicity of Phytophthora ramorum.


MSc    2013 Environmental Biology, Universiteit Utrecht

BSc      2011 Microbiology, University of California, San Diego

Research Staff

Zach Frankman
Biological Science Technician

Office:  367 Hutchison Hall
             University of California
             Davis, CA 95616

Phone:    (530) 752-4721
Fax:        (530) 754-7195

Email: zdfrankman at

Zachary Frankman is currently a sophomore at U.C. Davis studying Biomedical Engineering.  He has over two years of lab experience spread between two labs:  the Louise Glass Lab at U.C. Berkeley's Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), and the Rizzo/Kasuga Lab at U.C. Davis.  While working at the Glass Lab, he researched biomass-to-ethanol conversion using Neurospora CrassaI, and focused primarily on fluorescent protein tagging and imaging, mutant selection, and DNA isolation.  Currently at the Rizzo/Kasuga Lab at U.C. Davis, he researches Phytophthora ramorum
, and primarily designs and conducts experiments on the genomic instability and adaptability of this dangerous organism.   Zachary’s ultimate goal is to earn his Ph.D. in Synthetic Biology and conduct research on novel organic systems and bio-electrical integration.  In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and other outdoor activities.

Kasuga Lab Alumni

  • Kelsey Walters - Genetics, UC Davis.
  • Aksiniya Asenova - Plant Biotechnology, UC Davis.
  • Christine Shoemaker - Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry, UC Davis
  • Mai Bui - Biotechnology/Bioinformatics, UC Davis (
  • Lillian Diep - Biological Science Technician, Biologicla Sciences and Chinese, UC Davis