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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group



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.


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.
Research Associate
Dr Unnati  Sonawala

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street,
01223 748969