ph: Valerian Meline

Paula A. Gómez-Zapata, Ph.D.

 Mycologist and Plant Pathologist.

Areas of Research Interest:

Biocontrol, Mycoparasitism, Characterization studies, Fungal Genomics.

About me

I am a Plant Pathology researcher interested in the control of fungal plant pathogens through biological control and bioinformatics. I studied BSE in Agronomic Engineering at Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) with a major in Phytopathology. While I was an undergraduate student, I did an internship for six months at Purdue University at the Arthur Fungarium, screening rust specimens for the presence of natural enemies of rust fungi. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I carried out a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at Purdue University, which was focused on the characterization of the natural enemies of rust fungi by studying their species diversity, host-specificity for rust fungi, biogeography, and interaction events between these natural enemies and rusts. These projects led me to gain skills and experience in fieldwork, bioinformatics, phylogenetic analyses, genome assemblies, rust species identification, fungal cultures, biotrophic fungi, GFP fungal transformation, and molecular biology techniques, such as DNA extraction, PCR, primers design, and experience in troubleshooting these techniques. I also gained experience teaching biology courses to undergraduate students and training them in research.

I also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University on the project NSF PurSUiT Microfungi. This project aims to study obligate microfungi that are parasites of plants and animals from tropical ecosystems whose diversity and records are almost completely unknown. My role in the project focused on studying the diversity of the obligate fungal plant pathogens in the order Pucciniales (aka rust fungi). This project let me gain new skills in analyzing genomic-scale data and multiplexed next-generation sequencing. 

Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in the Department of Forestry Mycology and Plant Pathology. The project I am working on focuses on fungal genomics in the evolution of the lifecycle switch of Cronartium pini, the causal agent of Scots pine blister rust.

I enjoy collaborations, learning, and continuing to develop new skills.

Feel free to contact me: paulamelinegomez(at)gmail. com and welcome to my webpage :) 

Recent news

Fungal Pathogens Genomics Workshop, May 2023.  Happy to attend the FPG workshop in Wellcome Genomc Campus, Hinxton, UK, to learn about fungal databases  and their tools for genomic analyses.

ph: Valerian Meline



Abbasi, M., Rubio, K., Gómez-Zapata, PA., Díaz-Valderrama, J. R., & Aime, M. C. (2023). Uromyces savulescui on statice (Limonium sinuatum) in the Americas and reevaluation of its reported geographic range. Plant Disease, (ja).

Gómez-Zapata, PA, Donald D. Davis, Aime MC (2023). Rust disease caused by Uredinopsis osmundae on balsam fir, Canaan fir, white fir, and sensitive fern reported from Pennsylvania, USA. Plant Health Progress (accepted).

Gómez-Zapata PA, Smith ME, Frank MS, Aime MC (2022). First report of Pucciniastrum boehmeriae in North America, causing rust disease in bog hemp. Plant Health Progress 23 (4), 476-477. .

Gómez-Zapata PA, Haelewaters D, Quijada L, Pfister DH, Aime MC (2021). Notes on Trochila (Ascomycota, Leotiomycetes), with new species and combinations. MycoKeys 78: 21-47.

Gómez-Zapata, PA, & Salazar-Yepes, M. (2017). Camarotella colombiana sp. nov. (Phyllachoraceae) on Ceroxylon quindiuense (Arecaceae) from Colombia. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 88(2): 275-279.

Gómez-Zapata, PA, & Salazar-Yepes, M. (2014). Meliola crucifera Starbärk agente causal del mildiu negro de Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq., en Colombia. Revista De Protección Vegetal 29(3), 208-211.

My strengths

Achiever "People exceptionally talented in the Achiever theme work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive."

Deliberative "People exceptionally talented in the deliberative them are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate obstacles."

Context "People exceptionally talented in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history ."

Learner "People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them."

Intellection "People exceptionally talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions."

Clifton Strengths

ph: Valerian Meline

My Skills

Bioinformatics and Big Data Analysis

• Fungal Genome Assembly (FatsQC, Trimmomatic, Bowtie2, Kmergenie, Spades, MaSuRCA, Quast, Reapr, BUSCO, SSPACE, GapFiller).

• Phylogenetic analyses (Sequencher, MEGA, TrimAL, IQ-TREE, CIPRES, FigTree).

• Programming (R, Python, IDL).

Familiar with several Fungal Databases (Mycocosm, Ensembl FungiDB, SGD, and CGD).

Molecular Biology

• PCR, DNA extraction, Primer Design, electrophoresis, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of fungi.

Applied Plant Science

• Experimental design in greenhouse assays working with fungal obligate biotrophs.

• Interaction tests for potential fungal biocontrol agents.

• Inoculations of obligate fungi in the greenhouse.

Fieldwork experience collecting rust fungi in Africa, North America, and South America.


• Pure culturing fungi.

• Identification and characterization of fungal species.


• Fluent in Spanish and English.

• Portuguese (Intermediate level).

ph: Valerian Meline

Research presentations

Teliosorus of rust collected in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique (March 2023)

ph: Paula A. Gomez-Zapata


Telia and basidia on rust collected in National Park Gorongosa, Mozambique (March 2023)

ph: Paula A. Gomez-Zapata

Curriculum vitae

CV Gomez-Zapata, Paula 

Contact me!