Mostafa Rahnama


Mostafa  Rahnama


Assistant Professor



Email Address:


(931) 372-3648


Laboratory Science Commons (LSC) 2101


The Rahnama Lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in fungal adaptation to various environments, especially during interactions with different hosts (plants, insects, and animals). To achieve this, we combine advanced genomics techniques, such as CRISPR, DNA-seq (Illumina and Nanopore technologies), RNA-seq, and ChIP-seq, with computational and quantitative approaches.

Primary research areas
  • Fungal genome evolution.
  • Chromosomal structure and dynamics.
  • Molecular mechanisms involved in the emergence and distribution of new diseases.
  • Using fungi as a natural pesticide.
Educational Background
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Kentucky, 2022
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, U.K. College of Medicine, 2019
  • Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology, University of Auckland, 2018
  • M.S. in Biotechnology, Isfahan University of Technology, 2009
  • B.S. in Biology, Shiraz University, 2006
  • Fundamentals of Bioinformatics (BIOL 4993/5993)
  • Microbial Evolution (BIOL 4110/5110)
  • Health Science Microbiology (BIOL 3230)
  • Mycology (BIOL 4993/6980)
Selected Peer-Reviewed Journal Papers

- Rahnama M., Condon B., Ascari J.P., Dupuis J.R., Del Ponte E., Pedley K.F., Martinez S., Valent B., Farman M.L. 2022. Recombination of standing variation in a multi-hybrid swarm drove adaptive radiation in a fungal pathogen and gave rise to two pandemic plant diseases. Nature Ecology & Evolution 7, 2055–2066.
- Rahnama M., Novikova O., Starnes J., Chen L., Zhang S., Farman M.L. 2020. Transposon-mediated telomere destabilization: a driver of genome evolution in the blast fungus. Nucleic Acids Research 48(13):7197–7217.
- Rahnama M., Wang B., Dostart J., Novikova O., Farman M.L. 2021. Telomere roles in fungal genome evolution and adaptation. Frontiers in Genetics 12: 676751.
- Rahnama, M., Maclean, P., Fleetwood, D. J., Johnson, R. D. 2023. Comparative Transcriptomics profiling of perennial ryegrass infected with wild type or a ΔvelA Epichloë festucae mutant reveals host processes underlying mutualistic versus antagonistic interactions. Journal of Fungi, 9(2), 190.
- Rahnama M., Fleetwood D.J., Johnson R.D. 2021. Histological methods to detect early-stage plant defense responses during artificial inoculation of Lolium perenne with Epichloë festucae. Bio-Protocol, 11(9): e4013.
- Ascari, J.P., Cazón, L.I., Rahnama, M., Lamour, K., Fernandes, J.M., Farman, M. and Del Ponte, E. 2023. Pyricularia are Mostly Host-Specialized with Limited Reciprocal Cross-Infection Between Wheat and Endemic Grasses in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Phytopathology.
- Rahnama M., Szarka D., Li H., Dixon E., Castlebury L., *Gauthier N.A. 2021. Reemergence of Septoria leaf spot caused by Septoria cannabis on hemp in the Kentucky. Plant Disease 11(9): e4013.
- Rahnama M., Phillips T.D., *Farman M.L. 2020. First report of blast disease on Eragrostis tef in the United States. Plant Disease 104:12, 3266.
- Szarka, D., Smith, H.S., Dixon, E., Munir, M., Rahnama, M. and Gauthier, N.W., 2023. Fusarium species recovered from postharvest hemp materials from Kentucky fields. Plant Health Progress.