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Dr Unnati Sonawala

Research Associate
Dr Unnati Sonawala
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3EA
Office Phone: 01223 748969


I am broadly interested in plant-microbe interactions, genetics, and evolution. After completing my MSc in Food Security from the University of Warwick, I worked on my PhD at Virginia Tech (USA) wherein I studied how oomycete plant pathogens acquire nitrogen from their host using the model pathosystem of Arabidopsis and its downy mildew pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. I am now using genomics to study a hyper-variable effector family in the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida to further understand their function and how they contribute to nematode parasitism. 

When not in lab, I like learning languages (of humans and computers) and photography. Please email me if you would like to know more about me and my research. 

Key Publications

Sonawala, U.; Dinkeloo, K.; Danna, C. H.; McDowell, J. M.; Pilot, G. Review: Functional Linkages between Amino Acid Transporters and Plant Responses to Pathogens. Plant Science 2018, 277, 79–88.
Besnard, J.; Pratelli, R.; Zhao, C.; Sonawala, U.; Collakova, E.; Pilot, G.; Okumoto, S. UMAMIT14 Is an Amino Acid Exporter Involved in Phloem Unloading in Arabidopsis Roots. Journal of Experimental Botany 2016, 67 (22), 6385–6397.

The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.