In 2001, I started my Ph.D. studies at the Coffee Rust Research Center (CIFC)/IICT (Portugal) and Institut de Recherche pour le Development (IRD, France) in the area of Plant Pathology. This work focused on the indentification and characterization of the molecular aspects underlying resistance to coffee leaf rust (Hemilea vastatrix) resistance. Upon completion of my Ph.D. in 2005, I began a post-doctoral project on symbiotic nitrogen fixation between actinorhizal plants and Frankia bacteria. Specifically, I studied the role of 5 defense-related resistance (R) genes expressed during the symbiotic process. These included putatively encoding class III and class I chitinases (CgChi3 and CgChi1, respectively), a hairpin-inducible protein (CgHin1), a peroxidase (CgPox4) and a glutathione S-transferase (CgGst).