University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Emeritus Faculty
Graduate Students
Postdoctoral Scholars
Staff Scientists
Support Staff
Visiting Faculty
Visiting Scholars

Christopher L. Schardl

Christopher L. Schardl, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Chair

Department of Plant Pathology
University of Kentucky
201C Plant Science Building
Lexington, KY 40546-0312

telephone: (859) 218-0730
fax: (859) 323-1961

Schardl Lab

Education Ph.D. in Biochemistry, 1983, University of California-Davis
B.S. in Biochemistry, 1978, Cornell University
Focus Research
The Schardl lab focuses on heritable mutualistic symbioses between plants and seed-borne fungal symbionts (endophytes). The fungi protect plants from insects, drought and other stresses. We have discovered genes for synthesis of protective alkaloids including ergot alkaloids used in numerous pharmaceuticals, and the broadly anti-insect loline and pyrrolizidine alkaloids. To understand the evolution of the endophytes and their alkaloid genes, we have identified and described dozens of endophyte species and sequenced dozens of genomes and transcriptomes. We are also using this information to understand the basis for host-endophyte compatibility and vertical (seed) transmissibility that are crucial for maintaining mutualistically beneficial symbioses.

  • PPA 670: Plant Bacteriology



Employment Highlights
  • Professor, University of Kentucky, 1997-present
  • Associate Professor, University of Kentucky, 1992-1997
  • Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, 1985-1992
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, England, 1983-1985



Awards, Recognition, Service
  • Fellow, American Phytopathological Society
  • Fellow, Mycological Society of America
  • University of Kentucky President’s Award for Diversity
  • Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels
  • Harry E. Wheeler Chair in Plant Mycology
  • Gamma Sigma Delta George Mitchell, Jr. Award for Outstanding Service to Graduate Students, University of Kentucky
  • Thomas Poe Cooper Award for Research in Agriculture, University of Kentucky
  • Gamma Sigma Delta
  • Sigma Xi
Editorial Boards Mycologia
Recent Research Publications
  • Schardl CL, Young CA, Hesse U, Amyotte SG, Andreeva K, Calie PJ, Fleetwood DJ, Haws DC, Moore N, Oeser B, Panaccione DG, Schweri KK, Voisey CR, Farman ML, Jaromczyk JW, Roe BA, O'Sullivan DM, Scott B, Tudzynski P, An Z, Arnaoudova EG, Bullock CT, Charlton ND, Chen L, Cox M, Dinkins RD, Florea S, Glenn AE, Gordon A, Güldener U, Harris DR, Hollin W, Jaromczyk J, Johnson RD, Khan AK, Leistner E, Leuchtmann A, Li C, Liu J, Liu J, Liu M, Mace W, Machado C, Nagabhyru P, Pan J, Schmid J, Sugawara K, Steiner U, Takach J, Tanaka E, Webb JS, Wilson EV, Wiseman JL, Yoshida R, Zeng Z (2013) Plant-symbiotic fungi as chemical engineers: multi-genome analysis of the Clavicipitaceae reveals dynamics of alkaloid loci. PLoS Genetics 9: e1003323. doi. 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003323.
  • Schardl CL, Florea S, Pan J, Nagabhyru P, Bec S, Calie PJ (2013) The epichloae: alkaloid diversity and roles in symbiosis with grasses. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 16: 480-488. doi 10.1016/j.pbi.2013.06.012.
  • Nagabhyru P, Dinkins RD, Wood CL, Bacon CW, Schardl CL (2013) Tall fescue endophyte effects on tolerance to water-deficit stress. BMC Plant Biology 13: 127. doi 10.1186/1471-2229-13-127.
  • Florea S, Machado C, Andreeva K, Schardl CL (2012) The Cre/lox system: a practical tool to efficiently eliminate selectable markers in fungal endophytes. Methods in Molecular Biology 824: 371-379. doi 10.1007/978-1-61779-433-9_19.
  • Schardl CL (2010) The epichloae, symbionts of the grass subfamily Poöideae. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 97: 646-665. doi 10.3417/2009144.
  • Zhang D-X, Nagabhyru P, Schardl CL (2009) Regulation of a chemical defense against herbivory produced by symbiotic fungi in grass plants. Plant Physiology 150: 1072-1082. doi 10.1104/pp.109.138222.
  • Spiering MJ, Faulkner JR, Zhang D-X, Machado C, Grossman RB, Schardl CL (2008) Role of the LolP cytochrome P450 monooxygenase in loline alkaloid biosynthesis. Fungal Genetics and Biology 45: 1307-1314. doi 10.1016/j.fgb.2008.07.001.
  • Schardl CL, Craven KD, Speakman S, Stromberg A, Lindstrom A, Yoshida R (2008) A novel test for host-symbiont codivergence indicates ancient origin of fungal endophytes in grasses. Systematic Biology 57: 483-498. doi 10.1080/10635150802172184.
  • Schardl CL, Grossman RB, Nagabhyru P, Faulkner JR, Mallik UP (2007) Loline alkaloids: currencies of mutualism. Phytochemistry 68: 980-996. doi 10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.01.010.
  • Schardl CL, Panaccione DG, Tudzynski P (2006) Ergot alkaloids--biology and molecular biology. Alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology 63: 45-86. doi 10.1016/S1099-4831(06)63002-2.
  • Faulkner JR, Hussaini SR, Blankenship JD, Pal S, Branan BM, Grossman RB, Schardl CL (2006) On the sequence of bond. formation in loline alkaloid biosynthesis. Chembiochem 7: 1078-1088.
  • Gentile A, Rossi MS, Cabral D, Craven KD, Schardl CL (2005) Origin, divergence, and phylogeny of epichloë endophytes of native Argentine grasses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35: 196-208.
  • Blankenship JD, Houseknecht JB, Pal S, Bush LP, Grossman RB, Schardl CL (2005) Biosynthetic precursors of fungal pyrrolizidines, the loline alkaloids. Chembiochem 6: 1016-1022.
  • Schardl CL, Craven KD (2003) Interspecific hybridization in plant-associated fungi and oomycetes: a review. Molecular Ecology 12: 2861–2873.


About Us | Extension | Graduate Education | Undergraduate Programs | People | Research | Service Core | News & Events | Contact Us | Home


Questions/Comments | Copyright © | An Equal Opportunity University,
University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

Last Updated:

This is a Java Script that displays the date the page was last modified. It is inconsequential to the navigation and content of this site.