Positions

Overview

  • Dr. Karolina Mukhtar is a broadly trained molecular plant biologist with over ten years of experience studying various aspects of plant-microbe interactions using genetic and biochemical approaches. After obtaining her Biology degree she worked as a teaching assistant for Cell Biology and then became an IMPRS doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute. Her dissertation described the quantitative basis of plant resistance to two deadly phytopathogens. She graduated summa cum laude and was nominated for the Otto Hahn Medal, the highest academic honor for young scientists awarded by the Max-Planck Society.

    Subsequently Dr. Mukhtar conducted post-doc research in the laboratory of Dr. Xinnian Dong (a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator) at Duke University, where she studied the molecular basis of plant immunity to a bacterial phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Her projects were focused on transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of plant immunity as well as pathogen-triggered manipulation of plant hormone signaling. This work uncovered the existence of a previously unknown transcriptional growth-to-defense molecular switch in plants; the research resulted in a number of publications in high impact journals including Science, Current Biology, the EMBO Journal, and Genes and Development.

    Research in Dr. Mukhtar's lab at UAB focuses on the interface between the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and several of its most devastating pathogens, including fungi and bacteria. At the center of her research program is the Unfolded Protein Response (see her Research Interests below). Dr. Mukhtar is also highly committed to teaching at K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels. In 2013, she was named one of the 11 inaugural UAB Faculty Fellows in Service Learning. In addition, she pursues a very active educational outreach program directed to K-12 teachers and students as well as minority students of Miles College funded through her NSF-CAREER award and in the framework of the UAB-CORD and ASIM/AMSTI programs. Dr. Mukhtar is also implementing sustainability in her classroom curricula through her participation in the UAB Red Mountain Project.

    Classes taught by Dr. Mukhtar utilize the i>clicker 2 Classroom Response System that helps monitor real-time learning outcomes, and implement the C.R.E.A.T.E. technique (Consider, Read, Elucidate the hypotheses, Analyze the data, Think of the next Experiment) — a novel way to use the real language of science, the journal article, to empower students to think like scientists. All course materials are available online through Canvas.

    Dr. Mukhtar puts a special emphasis on development and implementation of instructional strategies for teaching students with various learning disabilities. In Spring 2015, Dr. Mukhtar was named the Outstanding Faculty Mentor by the Office of Disability Support Services.
  • Research Overview

  • Plants, while lacking adaptive immunity observed in animals, have instead evolved complex innate immune systems that effectively defend them from versatile potential pathogens. Successful defense against pathogenic microbes requires host’s abilities to mount specific, fine-tuned, and temporally as well as spatially regulated responses to various biotic stresses. The research in my laboratory is focused on molecular mechanisms of cellular stress responses in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

    Unfolded Protein Response (UPR), an evolutionarily conserved cellular stress response, activates upon accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resulting from biotic/abiotic stresses. Initially UPR transduces signals to reinstate ER homeostasis. However, prolonged or acute ER stress may lead to a transition that initiates programmed cell death. The action of UPR in plants is almost unknown. A long-term goal of my laboratory is to advance our understanding of the genetic and molecular basis of UPR in Arabidopsis as well as its role in defense against diverse pathogens. We are expecting to uncover the differences between the animal and plant UPR responses that make it a unique adaptive process in plant immunity. Our primary objective is to identify how the key ER stress sensor IRE1 kinase/endonuclease is mechanistically involved during plant UPR. We are working on identification of additional regulatory factors required for both the activation and the attenuation of ER-stress response and studying the molecular signal transduction pathways that enable cells to activate the stress-adaptive (pro-survival) or apoptotic (pro-death) signaling pathways under mild or acute ER stress conditions, respectively. This research is supported by a recent $1.1 million NSF-CAREER Faculty Early Career Development grant (IOS‐1350244), one of the most prestigious awards supported by the NSF.

    Plant Molecular Biology, Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Unfolded Protein Response (UPR), Pro- and Anti-apoptotic Signaling in Plant Immunity, Plant Hormonal Cross-talk, Service Learning, Sustainability, Instructional Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • Teaching Activities

  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Summer Term 2019) 2019
  • BY450 - Plant Physiology (Summer Term 2019) 2019
  • BY695 - Special Topics in Biology I (Summer Term 2019) 2019
  • BY795 - Special Topics in Biology I (Summer Term 2019) 2019
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Spring Term 2019) 2019
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2019) 2019
  • BY210 - Genetics (Fall Term 2018) 2018
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Fall Term 2018) 2018
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Fall Term 2018) 2018
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2018) 2018
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2018) 2018
  • BY395 - Special Topics in Biology (Summer Term 2018) 2018
  • BY495 - Special Topics in Biology (Summer Term 2018) 2018
  • BY696 - Special Topics in Biology II (Summer Term 2018) 2018
  • BY398 - Undergrad Research - RES (Spring Term 2018) 2018
  • BY451 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2018) 2018
  • BY651 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2018) 2018
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Spring Term 2018) 2018
  • BY751 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2018) 2018
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2018) 2018
  • BY210 - Genetics (Fall Term 2017) 2017
  • BY398 - Undergrad Research - RES (Fall Term 2017) 2017
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Fall Term 2017) 2017
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2017) 2017
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Fall Term 2017) 2017
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2017) 2017
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Summer Term 2017) 2017
  • BY495 - Special Topics in Biology (Summer Term 2017) 2017
  • BY398 - Undergrad Research - RES (Spring Term 2017) 2017
  • BY451 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2017) 2017
  • BY651 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2017) 2017
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Spring Term 2017) 2017
  • BY210 - Genetics (Fall Term 2016) 2016
  • BY398 - Undergrad Research - RES (Fall Term 2016) 2016
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Fall Term 2016) 2016
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Fall Term 2016) 2016
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Fall Term 2016) 2016
  • BY495 - Special Topics in Biology (Summer Term 2016) 2016
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Summer Term 2016) 2016
  • BY699 - Thesis Research (Summer Term 2016) 2016
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Summer Term 2016) 2016
  • BY398 - Undergrad Research - RES (Spring Term 2016) 2016
  • BY451 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2016) 2016
  • BY651 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2016) 2016
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Spring Term 2016) 2016
  • BY699 - Thesis Research (Spring Term 2016) 2016
  • BY751 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2016) 2016
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Spring Term 2016) 2016
  • BY689 - Seminar in Genetics (Fall Term 2015) 2015
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Fall Term 2015) 2015
  • BY789 - Seminar in Genetics (Fall Term 2015) 2015
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Fall Term 2015) 2015
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Summer Term 2015) 2015
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2015) 2015
  • BY495 - Special Topics in Biology (Summer Term 2015) 2015
  • BY451 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2015) 2015
  • BY651 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2015) 2015
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Spring Term 2015) 2015
  • BY751 - Plant Biology (Spring Term 2015) 2015
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2015) 2015
  • BY210 - Genetics (Fall Term 2014) 2014
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Fall Term 2014) 2014
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2014) 2014
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2014) 2014
  • BY210 - Genetics (Summer Term 2014) 2014
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Summer Term 2014) 2014
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2014) 2014
  • BY210 - Genetics (Fall Term 2013) 2013
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Fall Term 2013) 2013
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2013) 2013
  • BY210 - Genetics (Summer Term 2013) 2013
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Summer Term 2013) 2013
  • BY495 - Special Topics in Biology (Spring Term 2013) 2013
  • BY795 - Special Topics in Biology I (Spring Term 2013) 2013
  • BY210 - Genetics (Fall Term 2012) 2012
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Fall Term 2012) 2012
  • BY210 - Genetics (Summer Term 2012) 2012
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Summer Term 2012) 2012
  • BY210 - Genetics (Spring Term 2012) 2012
  • BY210 - Genetics (Spring Term 2011) 2011
  • BY501 - Genetics for Teachers (Spring Term 2011) 2011
  • BY210 - Genetics (Fall Term 2010) 2010
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics, 2005
  • Master of Science in Biology, 2002
  • Bachelor of Science or Mathematics in Biology, 2001
  • Full Name

  • Karolina Mukhtar