WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

News - 2012 RSS feed

December in the News

Plant Pathology had the biggest contingent of CAHNRS graduate students at this year’s fall commencement

A record number of Plant Path PhD graduates were hooded at this year’s fall commencement held on December 8th at Beasley.  Plant Pathology PhD graduates hooded this morning during the commencement (major advisors in parenthesis)

From left: Drs. Jeremiah Dung (Drs. Dennis Johnson and Brenda Schroeder), Kamil Mohd Jaaffar (Dr. Linda Thomashow), Ebrahiem Babiker (Dr. Scot Hulbert), Christie Almeyda (Dr. Hanu Pappu), Renuka Attanayake (Dr. Weidong Chen), and Yu-HsuanLin (Dr. Hanu Pappu).

Not present:
PhD: Dr. Peng Cheng (Dr. Xianming Chen), and Dr. Dan Villamor (Dr. Ken Eastwell)
MS: Maryam Almoran (Dr. Frank Dugan), Tyler Bourret (Dr. Dean Glawe), Noma Chingandu (Dr. Hanu Pappu), Shyam Kandel (Dr. Tim Paulitz), and Marianne Powell (Dr. Debbie Inglis).

Congratulations!

Photo courtesy: Sudeep Bag, PhD student, Plant Pathology


 

Dr. Gary Chastagner (aka Dr. Christmas Tree) Featured in New York Times
A SEVEN-FOOT evergreen will bear 350,000 needles, more or less. And if Gary Chastagner has his way this holiday season, precious few of them will end up on the parlor floor.
As a plant pathologist at Washington State University, Dr. Chastagner, 64, heads one of the nation’s half-dozen Christmas tree research labs.

He could presumably use the authority of his post to settle the age-old debate on whether candy canes should face right or left. Yet recent months have found Dr. Chastagner frittering away his time on a multistate, $1.3-million RNA-sequencing trial instead. By sampling trees that he has tested for needle retention, Dr. Chastagner and his colleagues hope to discover the genes associated with shedding. Read more:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/garden/building-a-better-christmas-tree.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

Dr. Gary Chastagner, professor in the department and located at the Puyallup REC was featured in WSU Today – “Timely tips on how to keep Christmas tree fresh”
PUYALLUP, Wash. – The lots are open and shoppers are already buying and putting up their Christmas trees. But what’s the secret to keeping a Christmas tree fresh through the holiday season? [more]

November in the News

Faculty Delivers Invited Talk at International Conference

Dr. Mark Mazzola delivered the invited address entitled The Development of Biologically-Based Strategies for the Management of Apple Replant Disease at Interpoma 2012, the 8th biennial international congress on apple, in Bolzano, Italy.  He also participated in the update and review of the European Commission CORE Organic II research project BIO-INCROP: Biodiversity and natural resources for new technologies in organic fruit production, which was held at the Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry.

Reviews in the Annual Review of Phytopathology

Congratulations to Dr. Mark Mazzola, adjunct professor in the department, who published two reviews in the Annual Review of Phytopathology (impact factor 10.2) this year:

Mazzola, M., and L.M. Manici. 2012. Apple Replant Disease: Role of Microbial Ecology in Cause and Control. Annual Review of Phytopathology 50: 45-65. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-081211-173005

Raaijmakers, J.M., and M. Mazzola. 2012. Diversity and Natural Functions of Antibiotics Produced by Beneficial and Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. Annual Review of Phytopathology Vol. 50: 403-424. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-081211-172908

Dr. Mazzola’s research is focused on the development of biologically-based sustainable methods to enhance overall plant health and control soilborne diseases, with emphasis on organic agro-ecosystems. To address this goal, significant effort is centered on acquiring an understanding of how biotic and abiotic elements of the soil environment affect the structure and function of soil microbial communities. Current investigations include identification of the microbiological elements operating in amendment-induced soilborne disease control, the temporal and spatial dynamics of the microbial response responsible for pathogen suppression, the operative microbial mechanism contributing to the response, and the impact of soil amendments on composition of non-target communities (e.g. protozoa) and ecosystem function (e.g. nitrogen cycling).

October in the News

Faculty Featured in Washington State Magazine

Ongoing research by Dr. Brenda Schroeder, assistant professor in the department, was featured in the winter 2012 issue of the Washington State Magazine.

Dr. Schroeder’s research focus is on bacterial diseases of vegetable crops, with emphasis on the study of pathogenicity and virulence factors by bacterial plant pathogens. She uses traditional plant pathology, phytobacteriology, molecular genetics and genomics to investigate the production of pathogenicity and virulence factors to better understand the pathogen and ultimately control these diseases.


 

Dr. Dennis Johnson Presented with the 2012 Kenneth J. Morrison Extension Award in Crop and Soil Sciences

Dr. Dennis Johnson, professor in the department, was presented with the 2012 Kenneth J. Morrison Extension Award in Crop and Soil Sciences.  Dr. Rich Koenig, chair of crops and soil sciences and CAHNRS Associate Dean for Extension presented the award to Dr. Johnson at a special departmental event held in Vogel on October 22nd. The award was established in 1987 for the purpose of recognizing annually an Extension faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to Washington state’s agriculture, especially in agronomic crop production improvement and/or soil management. Dr. Johnson is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society, an Honorary Life Member of the Potato Association of America, a recipient of the Friend of the Washington Mint Industry Award, and Past President of the American Phytopathological Society – Pacific Division.


 

Onion Seed Safari, University Role in Agricultural Extension
On 9-10 October 2012, Lindsey du Toit participated as one of two guest speakers in the Onion Seed Safari in the Klein Karoo, South Africa. The event was organized by Klein Karoo Seed Production (KKSP), based out of Oudtshoorn, South Africa, and was attended by 85 onion seed farmers in South Africa as well as seed production managers. On 9 October, attendees toured numerous onion seed crops in the Klein Karoo to observe and discuss disease management. Chris Barnard, farmer and irrigation consultant, was the second guest speaker on the tour who spoke on irrigation management in onion seed crops. On 10 October, Lindsey du Toit gave a presentation titled “Disease management for sustainable onion seed production: What? Who? How? Why?”. Other presentations were made by Chris Barnard on irrigation management; Theunis Engelbrecht on honeybee management in onion seed production; Pieter Burger, on general aspects of onion seed production; and David Malan, Managing Director of KKSP, on an overview of the current status of onion seed production in South Africa and globally. Photos of the Seed Safari can be found at the AgriEden website at: http://www.agrieden.co.za/gallery.php?Gallery=119 with summaries of the event at:http://www.agrieden.co.za/news.php?id=533 and http://www.agrieden.co.za/news.php?id=528

On 12 October, Lindsey was invited to lead a discussion titled “The University Role in Agricultural Extension: Lessons from Washington State University” to faculty in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.


 

Dr. Gary Chastagner (aka Dr. Christmas Tree) Recognized
Congratulations to Dr. Gary Chastagner, Professor of Plant Pathology and located in Puyallup REC. He co-authored the OSU Christmas Tree Nutrient Management Guide which received the Extension Education Materials of Excellence Award.

Dr. Chastagner, for the past several years, has worked with the OSU coauthors on the effect of fertility levels on current season needle necrosis and provided the biomass accumulation data that were used to estimate nutrient uptake values.

Dr. Chastagner is working on ways to improve the sustainability of Christmas tree industry which is valued at nearly US $1 billion in the US. Besides his expertise in Christmas tree health and postharvest quality, he conducts research and extension on diseases of ornamental bulbs.

He was a recipient of the National Christmas Tree Association’s Outstanding Service Award, and Excellence in Extension Award from the American Phytopathological Society.


 

Guest Seminar by Visiting Scientist from China

Dr. Jun Zhao of Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, Huhhot, Inner Mongolia, China, presented a special guest seminar on October 3.  Her seminar was entitled “Unraveling the regulation mechanism of small G protein on the establishment of potato resistance to potato late blight”.  Zhao was hosted by Dr. Weidong Chen, USDA-ARS and adjunct professor in the department to discuss research and management of Sclerotinia diseases.  While in Washington, Zhao also toured sunflower seed production and operation hosted by the Precision Seed Production in Ephrata, WA.

September in the News

Congratulations to Dr. Brenda Schroeder!

Dr. Brenda Schroeder, assistant professor in the department, recently co-authored a review on food safety and plant pathology that just came out in the 2012 Annual Review of Phytopathology (impact factor 10.2).

Barak J.D., and B.K. Schroeder. 2012. Interrelationships of Food Safety and Plant Pathology: The Life Cycle of Human Pathogens on Plants. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 2012. 50:241–66

Some of the previous contributions to the Annual Reviews series by our faculty include:

Carris, L.M. L.A. Castlebury, and B.J. Goates. 2006. Nonsystemic Bunt Fungi—Tilletia indica and T. horrida: A Review of History, Systematics, and Biology. Vol. 44: 113-133.

Glawe, D.A. 2008. The Powdery Mildews: A Review of the World’s Most Familiar (Yet Poorly Known) Plant Pathogens. Vol. 46: 27-51.

Hulbert, S., C.A. Webb, S.M. Smith, and Q. Sun. 2001. Resistance gene complexes: Evolution and Utilization. Vol. 39: 285 – 312.

Mavrodi, D.V., W., Blankenfeldt, and L.S. Thomashow. 2006. Phenazine compounds in fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. biosynthesis and regulation. Vol. 44:417-45.

Paulitz, T.C., and R.R. Bélanger. 2001. Biological control in greenhouse systems. Vol. 39: 103 – 133.

Weller, D.M., J.M. Raaijmakers, B. McSpadden Gardener, and L.S. Thomashow. 2002. Microbial populations responsible for specific soil suppressiveness to plant pathogens. Vol. 40: 309 – 348.


Renowned Mushroom Photographer Presents “In Search of the Holey Veil” on the WSU Campus October 7

The Department of Plant Pathology, in conjunction with the Palouse Mycological Association, will host the North American mushroom photographer, videographer and adventurer Taylor Lockwood and his multimedia show “In Search of the Holey Veil”, on Sunday, October 7, at 7 pm in the Ensminger Pavilon on the Washington State University campus.   “The Holey Veil” includes photos and videos of  mushrooms and mushroomers from Taylor’s three-month trip to India, Nepal, Thailand, and China in 2011.  For more information on Taylor’s photographs, videos, and books, see  http://www.taylorlockwood.com/

Ensminger Pavilon is located  on the corner of Wilson Road and Lincoln Drive, across from the Alumni Centre, on the WSU campus.  Doors will open at 6:30 pm, and refreshments will be served.  Taylor will have his books and DVDs available for purchase at the show.  The show is free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Lori Carris (carris@wsu.edu).


Outreach Video from APS

From APS News Capsule: During this year’s APS Annual Meeting, Carol Ishimaru officially unveiled the new APS plant pathology video. This professionally produced outreach video is now available for all members to distribute in various outlets for the purpose of increasing the recognition and understanding of plant pathology. The video is aimed at undergraduates in biology and related majors who have limited agricultural background, and it’s available for your use in classroom settings, on organization websites, on display at career fairs, and for sharing with colleagues. The opportunities are endless! Share the video to increase your plant pathology outreach efforts. Check it out, and help the video go viral today!

August in the News

Congratulations to our recent graduates!

Congratulations to the following plant pathology graduate students who successfully completed the requirements so far this year (CY 2012) to receive a graduate degree (MS or PhD) in plant pathology from WSU (degree obtained and their major advisor in parentheses):

Mr. Segun Akinbade (MS with Dr. Ken Eastwell)
Dr. Christie Almeyda (PhD with Dr. Hanu Pappu)
Ms. Maryam Alomran (MS with Dr. Frank Dugan)
Dr. Renuka Attanayake (PhD with Dr. Weidong Chen)
Dr. Ebrahiem Babiker (PhD with Dr. Scot Hulbert)
Mr. Tyler Bourret (MS with Dr. Dean Glawe)
Dr. Peng Cheng (PhD with Dr. Xianming Chen)
Ms. Noma Chingandu (MS with Dr. Hanu Pappu)
Dr. Jeremiah Dung (PhD with Dr. Dennis Johnson)
Dr. Kamil Mohd Jaaffar (PhD with Dr. Linda Thomashow)
Mr. Shyam Lal Kandel (MS with Dr. Tim Paulitz)
Dr. Yu-Hsuan Lin (PhD with Dr. Hanu Pappu)
Dr. Dipak Sharma Poudyal (PhD with Dr. Xianming Chen)
Dr. Dan Villamor (PhD with Dr. Ken Eastwell)

This is a major milestone in one’s career and a moment of pride for you and your families. We are proud of you! The department wishes these newly minted graduates the very best in their careers and future endeavors. Read more.

 


Dr. Lori Carris Delivers Keynote Address at the 2012 WSU Convocation

(pictured left, Dr. Hanu Pappu; right, Dr. Lori Carris)

Dr. Lori Carris, Associate Professor in the department, delivered the keynote address at the WSU Convocation on August 17 in Beasley. Attended by the WSU President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Deans, Associate Deans, Directors, Chairs, faculty, staff, students and their families, Dr. Carris addressed more than 4,000 incoming freshmen during this event. For a transcript of her speech, click here.

Dr. Carris received many awards and accolades Most recently, Dr. Carris was the recipient of the 2012 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. She was presented with the award by WSU Provost and Executive Vice President,  Dr. Warwick Bayly during the Annual Academic Showcase Banquet held on March 30, 2012.  In 2011, Dr. Carris received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Phytopathological Society and the William H. Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Mycological Society of America. At WSU, she received the 2007 Mentor of the Year award, the 2009 Woman of Distinction Award, the 2010 Association of Faculty Women Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award and the 2010 CAHNRS R. M. Wade Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.

 


“Attack of the Clones”: Science News Focus on FUNGI!

A MUST READ! Science News Focus called “Attack of the Clones”, with the subtitle “Fungi have long been seen as the least interesting pathogens, but two catastrophes in the animal world have changed that view”.  The article talks about the importance of fungi as pathogens of animals AND plants.
Science 10 August 2012: Vol. 337 pp. 636-638. DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6095.636
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6095/636


REU students in Plant Pathology this summer

Ten undergraduate students from across the nation participated in a REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) in Plant Genomics and Biotechnology at Washington State University this past summer.  This is a three year REU program supported by the National Science Foundation and led by Dr. Amit Dhingra in the Department of Horticulture.  The goal of this REU program is to provide undergraduate students in plant biology and related fields an opportunity to participate in ongoing active research programs. Working closely with faculty and graduate students, the participants gained hands on experience in various plant biology disciplines that utilize genomics and biotechnology approaches.   The participants were undergraduate students from all levels of undergraduate education working toward degrees in genetics, molecular biology, microbiology, horticulture, crop sciences, food sciences, computer sciences, bioinformatics, math and other technical majors.  Women and members of demographic groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering were particularly encouraged to apply.  Two of these students, Jeronda Hunt and Naeh Klages-Mundt, were hosted in the laboratories of Drs. Brenda K. Schroeder and Scot Hulbert in the Department of Plant Pathology.  The end of the student’s research experience for the summer culminates with a poster presentation.  Dr. Schroeder ran two workshops with the students to discuss aspects of poster preparation and presentation.

Pictured left to right; back row: Brenda Schroeder, Lydia Paradiso, Jeronda Hunt, Piedad Alcala, Mario Barco, Kathie Lee Nicholson, Naeh Klages-Mundt, Julian Jones, front row: Sequoia Leuba, Jasmine Scott, Brittany LeGrant.


Plant Path Graduate Student and Professor Organize Summer Science Research Program for WA Science Teachers

Fifteen secondary (6-12) teachers from North Central Washington participated in a summer science research program in the laboratory of Dr. Ken Eastwell, Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and located at the Washington State University Irrigated Agriculture and Extension Research Center in Prosser, WA.  The program was funded through a U. S. Department of Education Math Science Project Grant awarded to the North Central Educational Service District (NCESD).  Jeff Bullock, PhD student in Plant Pathology working under Dr. Ken Eastwell’s supervision and the NCESD collaborated to bring the two week program together.  During the two week program teachers learned some fundamental aspects of plant pathology, centered primarily around viral and viroid diseases of hops.  They worked in teams in coordination with the Washington Hop Commission to collect hop tissue samples from 43 different hop yards located in three major hop growing regions in Washington State.  In addition to the plant pathology aspect of the program, the teachers learned a variety of molecular biology techniques used to detect and identify viral and viroid pathogens.  Techniques included RNA extraction from plant tissue, performing a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify RNA, and analyzing the amplified PCR product by capillary electrophoresis.  Other techniques included agarose gel electrophoresis of proteins and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of plant viruses.

“Participants gained hands-on experience in applying molecular techniques in solving real world problems and will introduce these concepts and techniques into their classrooms” said Eastwell.

“I gained a deeper understanding of specific aspects of plant pathology through the process of preparing for this program and the teachers were able to actively participate in a science study that demonstrated the application of science to a plant pathology problem” said Bullock.   Several of the teachers commented during the program that they had no idea what a plant pathologist was or did prior to this summer program; nor did they appreciate the extent that science was used in the agriculture industry.

“The two-week project provided a very meaningful, unique and in-depth learning opportunity for classroom teachers.  We know from the education research when teachers own content knowledge increases their students benefit.  We also know this kind of hands on professional development and learning opportunities create the very best learning environments possible” said Cindy Duncan, Assistant Superintendent, NCESD.


Seeds of prosperity: Spinach research could double Skagit County, U.S. production

Research by Dr. Lindsey du Toit, associate professor in the department and located at the Northwest Research and Extension Center, Mount Vernon, and her PhD student, Ms. Emily Gatch was featured in The Skagit Valley Herald. Their ongoing work on Fusarium wilt in spinach seed crops was featured in Herald’s Tuesday, 7 August edition. The article* and photos are at: http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/seeds-of-prosperity/article_4aa179c6-4628-5aa5-bbeb-410bf8c464d9.html

Dr. du Toit is nationally and internationally recognized for her expertise in seed health. Her research focus is on the epidemiology and management of diseases affecting vegetable seed crops (primarily small-seeded vegetables) in the Pacific Northwest. Besides her research and extension responsibilities, Dr. du Toit teaches a graduate course, PlP 525 Field Plant Pathology, a two-week course offered every other summer during even years.

Dr. du Toit leads the PNW-VEG (PNW-Vegetable Extension Group): her leadership and tireless and successful efforts in information dissemination and knowledge transfer earned the PNW-VEG the 2012 CAHNRS Team Interdisciplinary Award from CAHNRS Dean, Dr. Dan Bernardo.

Dr. du Toit was recipient of the NSF ADVANCE mini-grant (2011); WSU Kenneth J. Morrison Extension Award for outstanding contributions to the improvement of Washington State’s crop production (2009);  Alfred Christianson Family Endowed Professorship (2001-05, 2006-2010); Robert MacDonald Vegetable Seed Memorial Fund (2003-05, 2008-2011); and the APS Pacific Division Early Career Award (2006).

*Lost in translation: Couple of inaccuracies were inadvertently introduced during transcription of the interview to written article. The article says that Emily Gatch is an MS student from Iowa State University. Emily did receive an MS from Iowa State before starting her PhD in our department with Dr. du Toit. It also stated that 95% of the US supply of spinach seed is produced in the Skagit Valley: up to 25% of the US supply of spinach seed (not 95%) is produced in western Washington (Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, Lewis, and Clallam Counties) and western Oregon (Willamette Valley), not just in Skagit Co.


Faculty member Co-organized an International Symposium on plant virus diseases

A symposium “Research and Management of Insect-transmitted Virus Diseases in Vegetables in the Tropics and Subtropics” was organized by Naidu Rayapati (Washington State University), Ed Rajotte (Penn State University) and Muni Muniappan (Director of IPM CRSP, Virginia Tech) in collaboration with Drs. G. Karthikeyan and S. Mohankumar of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) during July 10-13, 2012 at TNAU, Coimbatore, India.  The main purpose of this symposium was to review the current status of insect-transmitted virus disease management in vegetables in the tropics and subtropics. The symposium was co-sponsored by the USAID funded Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program (IPM CRSP) and USDA. Plant virologists and entomologists from the U.S. (Scott Adkins, USDA-ARS-USHRL; Judy Brown, University of Arizona; Amer Fayed, Virginia Tech; Robert Gilbertson, University of California, Davis; Michael Goodin, University of Kentucky; Barry Jacobsen, Montana State University; Christina Rosa, Penn State University, and John Sherwood, The University of Georgia) presented invited lectures on different aspects of plant viruses and their management. In addition, scientists and IPM CRSP collaborators from India, Bangladesh, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda shared their research programs on management of virus diseases in different vegetable crops. Representatives from USAID mission/New Delhi and USDA-APHIS/New Delhi have participated in the symposium. Discussions were held on the current status of research, education, and extension relevant to the management of emerging and re-emerging virus diseases, especially those of vegetable crops in IPM CRSP host countries. Participants visited vegetable fields and markets to gain first-hand impressions about agriculture and crop production by farmers in India.


WSU Plant Path Department well-represented at this year’s APS annual meeting!

A strong contingent of faculty, staff and students attended this year’s APS annual meeting in Providence, RI.  The alumni social was well-attended where current and past members of the department had a chance to catch up.


Dr. Tim Murray delivers invited talks in China and Japan

Dr. Tim Murray, professor in the department, gave the keynote talk entitled “Global Change in Winter Climate and Agricultural Sustainability” at the Plant and Microbe Adaption to Cold meeting in Sapporo, Japan in June. He presented another talk at the same meeting on his research entitled “Marker-assisted selection for resistance to speckled snow mold of wheat.”  This working group has met every 3 years since 1997 at various places in the northern hemisphere where winter climate is a limiting factor for agriculture. Dr. Murray will be hosting  the next meeting in 2015. In Japan, Dr. Murray was hosted by a former visiting scientist to his lab, Dr. Zenta Nishio.

Enroute to Japan, Dr. Murray spent 6 days in China hosted by former postdoctoral scientist Hongjie Li, now with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. During the trip he visited Dr. Li’s lab, visited Taiyuan (Shanxi Province) where he met with breeders from the Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences and gave two seminars on his ongoing research.


Graduate Student from Australia visited the Department

Dalphy O.C. Harteveld, Ph.D. candidate, Tree Pathology Centre DAFF & Shool of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia visited Dr. Tobin Peever, associate professor in the department July 21 to August 2, 2012.  Dalphy presented a seminar to the department entitled “Alternaria leaf blotch and fruit spot of apple in Australia” and discussed her research with Dennis Johnson, Wonyong Kim and several other members of the department in Pullman. Dalphy travelled to the irrigated potato fields in central WA to view early blight infections with Tom Cummings and Lydia Tymon. She also visited the fruit tree orchards of Wenatchee with Mark Mazzola, Parama Sikdar and Christian Aguilar and went water skiing on the beautiful Lake Chelan.


Plant Path Graduate Student Receives Master Gardener Scholarship

Congratulations to Anna Leon, PhD student in the department working with Dr. Gary Chastagner, Professor of Plant Pathology and located at the Puyallup REC.
Anna was selected to receive the 2012 Pierce County Master Gardener Scholarship.

Anna’s dissertation research is on direct soil quantification using real-time PCR and population dynamics of Fusarium oxysporum and F. commune from Douglas-fir nursery soils.


Dr. Lori Carris elected Executive Vice President of the Mycological Society of America

Congratulations to Dr. Lori Carris, Associate Professor in the department, for her election as Executive Vice President of the Mycological Society of America (MSA). Her 3-year term started at the end of the annual MSA meeting held early this month in New Haven, CT.

The Mycological Society of America is a scientific society dedicated to advancing the science of mycology – the study of fungi of all kinds including mushrooms, molds, truffles, yeasts, lichens, plant pathogens, and medically important fungi. MSA publishes a scholarly journal, Mycologia, one of the top mycological serials worldwide. MSA members meet annually to exchange information about all aspects of fungi.
Dr. Carris served on the MSA Advisory Board (2004-2009) and was past chair of the Board. She is serving as an associate editor of Mycologia.

Dr. Carris’ research includes the biology and systematics of plant pathogenic fungi, with emphasis on smut fungi (Tilletia and allied genera). Research on Tilletia species focuses on species complexes infecting cultivated (Triticum, Lolium, Poa, Festuca, etc.) and wild grass hosts (Apera, Bromus, Poa, Vulpia, etc.) using morphological, cytological and molecular methods. Current research focuses on smut fungi associated with grass seed crops, both as pathogens and as contaminants.

In 2011, Dr. Carris received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Phytopathological Society and the William H. Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Mycological Society of America. At WSU, she received the 2007 Mentor of the Year award, the 2009 Woman of Distinction Award, the 2010 Association of Faculty Women Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award and the 2010 CAHNRS R. M. Wade Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.


Dr. Lori Carris to deliver keynote address at 2012 WSU Convocation

Dr. Lori Carris, Associate Professor in the department, was invited to deliver the keynote address at the WSU Convocation to be held on August 17 in Beasley. The event starts at 10 am and is open to all.  Attended by WSU President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, Chairs, faculty, staff and students, Dr. Carris will be addressing more than 3,000 incoming freshmen during this event.

Most recently, Dr. Carris was the recipient of the 2012 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. She was presented with the award by WSU Provost and Executive Vice President,  Dr. Warwick Bayly during the Annual Academic Showcase Banquet held on March 30, 2012.

The Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction is presented to a member of the faculty in recognition of truly outstanding accomplishments in the establishment of excellence in the instructional programs of  WSU.  Activities encompassed by this award may be either outstanding singular accomplishments or a record of excellence over a period of years including: Exceptionally effective instruction; Organizing or conducting new courses or programs of study; Revitalizing existing courses or programs of study; and Establishing a national reputation as a leader in instruction.

Dr. Carris is admired for her excellence in teaching at WSU and beyond. In addition to her WSU courses, she instructs many community groups, both in classroom settings and in the field.  She teaches graduate-level mycology courses and has also taught a 100-level mycology class for non-science majors. It has become one of the most popular courses in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS).

In 2011, Dr. Carris received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Phytopathological Society and the William H. Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Mycological Society of America. At WSU, she received the 2007 Mentor of the Year award, the 2009 Woman of Distinction Award, the 2010 Association of Faculty Women Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award and the 2010 CAHNRS R. M. Wade Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.


 

July in the News

Faculty Research Featured in WSU Today

Research by Dr. Axel Elling, assistant professor in the department, was featured in WSU Today.

Keeping potatoes happy and healthy -The next time you eat a baked spud you might want to think of the agricultural scientists who are hard at work trying to help the humble potato deal successfully with some significant diseases. [more]


Alumnus to deliver talk at the Schroth Faces of the Future Symposium at the 2012 APS annual meeting

Dr. Leonardo (Leo) De La Fuente (PhD Plant Pathology, WSU) assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Auburn University, Auburn, AL was invited to deliver a talk at the Schroth Faces of the Future in Bacteriology Symposium at this year’s APS annual meeting in Providence, RI.

Leo obtained his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and master’s degree in biology with a minor in microbiology from the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay. He then headed north to Cougar Town, USA and joined our department to pursue his Ph.D. He explored rhizosphere colonization by 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG)-producing strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens under the guidance of Drs. Dave Weller and Linda Thomashow. After graduation, Leo did postdoctoral work at Cornell University, Geneva Campus before joining the Auburn faculty.  At Auburn, he is studying X. fastidiosa and is leading research to determine whether or not infection by this bacterium influences the plant’s mineral composition and how this could affect disease development. In addition, he is also adapting nanotechnology techniques used to develop microfluidic chambers to study the species of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter’ that are associated with huanglongbing (citrus greening disease). Leo has authored/coauthored 27 peer-reviewed articles and is the recipient of a number of honors, including the Storkan-Hanes-McCaslin Foundation Research Fellowship. He currently serves as the vice chair of the APS Bacteriology Committee.

The Schroth Faces of the Future Symposium, established through an endowment from Milt and Nancy Schroth and organized by the Early Career Professionals Committee with support from the APS Foundation, acknowledges early career scientists whose research and forward thinking have positioned them to be the “up and comers” in their field. Speakers for this year’s symposium, “Forging New Frontiers in Plant Bacteriology” were selected through a formal competition by a panel composed of distinguished members of the Bacteriology Committee and each speaker will receive a $500 travel award. The symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, August 8, 2012, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the APS Annual Meeting in Providence, RI.

Past invitees from our department to speak at this symposium include Drs. Olufemi Alabi (Schroth Faces of the Future in Virology) Axel Elling (Schroth Faces of the Future in Nematology) and Brenda Schroeder (Schroth Faces of the Future in Bacteriology).

Congratulations, Señor Leo!


 

Plant Path Grad Students Receive Competitive Travel Awards

Christie Almeyda, PhD student with Dr. Hanu Pappu, is the recipient of the Elsie J. and Robert Aycock Student Travel Award from the APS Foundation (http://www.apsnet.org/members/foundation/giving/funds/Pages/Aycock.aspx). The Elsie J. and Robert Aycock Student Travel Fund was established by Dr. Aycock to honor his wife, Elsie Aycock.

Ebrahiem Babiker, PhD student with Dr. Scot Hulbert, received the José and Silvia Amador Student Travel Award from the APS Foundation.(http://www.apsnet.org/members/foundation/giving/funds/Pages/Amador.aspx). This fund was created by the APS Caribbean Division, made possible by contributions of members of the division.

These competitively-awarded travel awards support plant pathology graduate students’ attendance at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society in Providence, RI, August 4-8. Christie and Ebrahiem will be presenting results of their PhD dissertation research at this conference.

 

 

Renuka Attanayake, PhD student with Dr. Weidong Chen, received a travel award to attend a workshop on  Multiple Sequence Alignment and Phylogeny Estimation on May 20-22, 2012 at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation through a grant to the University of Texas.  She also received a travel scholarship to attend the 58th Conference on Soilborne Plant Pathogens, held on March 20-22, 2012 at the Huntington Library and Gardens, San Marino, CA (http://soilfungus.ars.usda.gov/). This competitive award supports graduate students working on soilborne plant pathogens to attend the meeting and present results of his/her research.

 

Noma Chingandu, MS student with Dr. Hanu Pappu, is the recipient of the
APS Pacific Division Graduate Student Travel Award from the APS Pacific Division
(http://www.apsnet.org/members/divisions/pac/Pages/APSPacificDivisionStudentTravelAwards.aspx). This award supported graduate students’ attendance at the 2012 Annual Meeting of APS Pacific Division, Sacramento, June 27 -29. Noma presented the results of her MS research in a Graduate Student Oral Presentation Competition at this conference.

 

Danny Humphreys, PhD student with Dr. Axel Elling, received the Nathan A. Cobb Foundation Student Travel Award from the Society of Nematologists (SON) http://www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu/societies/nacobb/grant.shtml. This competitive award supports nematology graduate students’ attendance at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nematologists in Savannah, Georgia, August 12-15. Danny will be presenting results of his PhD dissertation research at this conference.

 

Diwaker Tripathi, PhD student with Dr. Hanu Pappu, received a travel grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) (http://my.aspb.org/news/85498/ASPB-Travel-Grant-PRogram-Awardees.htm). This travel award will support the student’s attendance at the 2012 annual meeting of ASPB- Plant Biology 2012 in Austin, TX, July 20-24. Diwaker will present a part of his PhD dissertation research at this conference.

 

 

 


Mycological Herbarium Dedication Ceremony

The Shaw Mycological Herbarium dedication ceremony was featured in the June issue of Phytopathology News, the official monthly newsletter of the American Phytopathological Society. Hard copy of the newsletter is distributed to more than 5,000 members worldwide.

The Mycological Herbarium in the Department of Plant Pathology was formally named in honor of Charles Gardner Shaw. Gardner, as he was widely
known, was a long-time faculty member and former chair of the Department of Plant Pathology. He was responsible for its growth and evolution in its modern form. The Shaw
family has provided an endowment for the operation of the herbarium. The dedication was attended by Gardner’s sons, Charles Gardner III (Terry) and Mark, and their families and
other family members. Remarks relevant to the dedication were made by Daniel J. Bernardo, dean, CAHNRS; Hanu Pappu, chair, Department of Plant Pathology; and faculty members Lori Carris, Frank Dugan (USDA ARS), and Jack Rogers. WSU President Elson Floyd attended the dedication ceremony, and a celebration followed the event, which was organized by CAHNRS Alumni and Friends.

The C. G. Shaw Herbarium contains about 73,000 specimens of fungi and a few lichens from throughout the world, being especially rich in fungi from the Pacific Northwest.
There are particularly valuable collections of destructive plant pathogens, including rust, smut, downy mildew, powdery mildew, pyrenomycetous fungi, and fungi inhabiting grasses and forest trees. The contents of the C. G. Shaw Herbarium are online and searchable. Loans are made worldwide to mycologists and plant pathologists. The herbarium is considered a world resource
for food security owing to its status as a major collection of fungi pathogenic to food crops.

Dr. Shaw was a well-known teacher, forest pathologist, and world authority on downy mildew fungi. He published two editions of Host-Fungus Index for the Pacific Northwest, Vol.1 Hosts and Vol. 2 Fungi. The contents of these volumes were put online by Dean A. Glawe, professor, Department of Plant Pathology.


June in the News

Dr. Dennis Johnson –Recipient of the 2012 Kenneth J. Morrison Extension Award in Crop and Soil Sciences

Congratulations to Dr. Dennis Johnson, professor in the department, recipient of the 2012 Kenneth J. Morrison Extension Award in Crop and Soil Sciences. The award was established in 1987 for the purpose of recognizing annually an Extension faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to Washington state’s agriculture, especially in agronomic crop production improvement and/or soil management.

Dr. Johnson has made key contributions to understanding the epidemiology and management of late blight, black dot, white mold, and silver scurf of potato and of Verticillium wilt.  Important scientific contributions have been made in the areas of disease forecasting, quantitative characterization of spatial patterns of disease plants, characterization of partial resistance, and in the etiology of Phytophthora infestans of latently-infected potato seed tubers. He has also contributed to understanding and managing plant diseases of other irrigated crops including downy mildew on hop, Verticillium wilt in mint, Kluyveromyces marxianus (a yeast) in onion, and rusts of asparagus and mint. Dr.  Johnson is recognized for his unique ability to conduct translational research and seamlessly integrate his research and extension programs with outcomes that directly benefit the growers by increasing the profitability and ensuring the sustainability of crop production.

Dr. Johnson is highly successful in integrating his plant pathology research and extension programs: practical disease management strategies and tactics have been developed for a variety of crops and diseases. His disease management recommendations are highly respected, and importantly, followed and adopted by growers. Dr. Johnson recently edited the second edition of the APS publication, Potato Health Management, and raised significant contributions for the publication expenses. The second edition of the Potato Health Management book is widely used by growers and crop advisors in the potato industry. The second edition grew under Dr. Johnson’s stewardship (46% more information) and Dr. Johnson orchestrated a group of more than 50 authors to contribute to the resource. He has authored or co-authored 106 peer reviewed research journal articles and several sections in the APS Disease Compendia on potato, hop and onion. He has also authored over 250 disease control bulletins and articles for growers.

Dr. Johnson is most proud of his role in mentoring graduate students. Fifteen advanced degrees have been awarded and past students are now productive in science careers. He is currently advising two Ph.D. students and one MS student, besides serving on several student committees.

Dr. Johnson is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society, an Honorary Life Member of the Potato Association of America, a recipient of the Friend of the Washington Mint Industry Award, and Past President of the American Phytopathological Society – Pacific Division.


Dr. Xianming Chen Elected Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society

Congratulations to Dr. Xianming Chen, Research Plant Pathologist in the USDA-ARS and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, for his election as Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). The Fellow Award is APS’ highest honor and is annually given to less than 0.1% of the membership. Dr. Chen will be recognized during a special ceremony at this year’s annual meeting of the APS in August in Providence, RI.

Dr. Chen is a world authority on stripe rust of wheat and barley.  He leads a highly productive program combining both fundamental and applied research focused on developing and implementing strategies for the control of stripe rust, one of the most important diseases of wheat worldwide and of barley in many countries including the US. He has made significant contributions to understanding the epidemiology of the disease; the biology, virulence, evolution, and genomics of the stripe rust pathogens; and on host resistance, from development of genetic resources and techniques to identification of effective fungicides for integrated control of the diseases.

Scientists from countries throughout the world have consulted him for advice on stripe rust research and control, and his program serves as a magnet for those who want to study this disease.  His fundamental research is aimed at generating new scientific knowledge that can then be translated into more effective control practices. He also works closely with growers, helping them to implement the best available control measures each year, often through results generated from his research program. His group plants rust-monitoring and germplasm-screening nurseries at four locations in the State of Washington and send collaborators nurseries to plant in more than 30 locations throughout the US and some other countries. He spends countless hours inspecting commercial and experimental fields throughout the Pacific Northwest and often in other states.  He sends growers and cereal scientists regular disease updates and recommendations through e-mails and grower-orientated magazines for implementing appropriate control measures.  Following his recommendations, yield losses across the PNW have been reduced from 15 to 40% to less than 3% in a low to moderate epidemic year, and from 40 to 70% to less than 5% of the total wheat production of more than 300 million bushels in a severe epidemic year, which saves growers from 200 to more than 1000 million dollars annually in the region, at the cost of 20 to 80 million dollars used for fungicide applications. For example, his integrated control program, which combines growing resistant cultivars and fungicide application, saved growers in the PNW more than 900 and  1200 million dollars in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Dr. Chen trained two M.S. and three Ph.D. students, eight post-doctoral associates, and 30 visiting scientists and students. He also has served on 19 graduate student committees.  Dr. Chen has an impressive list of 129 peer-reviewed publications, 5 book chapters, and 77 technical publications.  His dedication to plant pathology and to APS is evident in his service on multiple APS subject matter committees, and service as Associate Editor of Phytopathology and Senior Editor of Plant Disease. Currently he is Editor-in-Chief of Crop Protection.


 

Dr. Axel Elling, assistant professor in the department, was invited to meet with nematologists in Europe, May 12-25. He exchanged ideas for joint projects with colleagues at The James Hutton Institute in Dundee, Scotland, where he gave an invited talk. He then met with nematologists at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, England. Dr. Elling also gave an invited talk about variability in Meloidogyne chitwoodi and the use of effector genes as control targets at the 64th International Symposium on Crop Protection in Gent, Belgium. Following the symposium, he participated in the International Secretory Proteins in Tylenchids (SPIT) Meeting, which also took place in Gent. The SPIT Meeting is a working group focusing on nematode effectors and was attended by nematologists from Iowa State University, NC State University, University of Missouri, Washington State University, Gent University (Belgium), INRA (France), The James Hutton Institute (UK), and Wageningen University (Netherlands) (see picture).

May in the News

Dr. Chuck Brown and Dr. Debbie Inglis’ Visit to Neah Bay High School

Dr. Chuck Brown (USDA ARS Prosser, Potato Geneticist) and Dr. Debbie Inglis (Professor, Plant Pathology) recently visited biology students at Neah Bay High School, and presented lectures and laboratory exercises on Makah/Ozette potato and common potato diseases. Virus-free cuttings and tubers of this heritage potato were also distributed to the students and Makah tribal members. Makah/Ozette is believed to be a remnant potato variety introduced to the Olympic Peninsula by Spanish explorers during the 1700’s. The potato has been maintained and preserved by Makah tribal members since that time and used as a food item.

Graduate Student Wins First Place in Paper Competition at International Workshop in Spain

Wonyong Kim , PhD student with Weidong Chen, USDA ARS and adjunct professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at Washington State University, Pullman, won the first place in the Bob Henson Student Paper Competition at the Third International Ascochyta Workshop held  at Cordoba, Spain, April 22 to 26, 2012.  His presentation was entitled “Identification of solanapyrone biosynthesis genes and generation of solanapyrone-deficient mutants in Ascochyta rabiei“, and was co-authored by W. Kim, H.O. Akamatsu, T.L. Peever, G.J. Vandemark and W. Chen.  Eight students from seven countries participated in the competition.

Congratulations, Wonyong!


Congratulations to spring 2012 graduates, Segun Aukinbade and Dipak Sharma Poudyal for completing the requirements for the award of MS and PhD degrees, respectively.

Segun Akinbade’s  MS dissertation was on genetic diversity viruses associated with apple green crinkle disease, carried out under the supervision of Dr. Ken Eastwell, Professor of Plant Patholgy and Director, Clean Plant Center for Northwest located at the IAREC, Prosser. The supervsory committee included, Drs. Lindsey du Toit, Dennis Johnson and Richard Larsen. Apple green crinkle disease (AGCD) is widespread in apple orchards worldwide, causing symptoms such as deformation and cracking of fruit. However, these clearly visible symptoms of the disease are only apparent in years with cooler spring temperatures (< 9.2oC). The mode of spread of AGCD suggests that a viral pathogen might be involved in the etiology. Field samples were indexed for the presence of Apple mosaic virus (ApMV), ACLSV, ASGV, ASPV, viroids (in the genus Apscaviroid) and phytoplasmas. Results from these analyses demonstrated that ACLSV, ApMV, viroids (entire genus Apscavirod) and phytoplasmas were not associated with AGCD. Genetic diversity analysis of the coat protein (CP) and replicase genes and triple gene block (TGBs) sequences of ASPV and ASGV were studied. Genetic diversity analysis of virus populations revealed that whereas ASGV populations were genetically conserved in both AGCD-symptomatic and asymptomatic trees, populations of ASPV were highly variable. Phylogenic analysis of CP sequences of ASPV revealed six major groups of sequence variants with two of six phylogroups comprised only of sequences from AGCD-symptomatic trees. These results point to the possible involvement of one or more of the ASPV variants, with or without ASGV, in the etiology of AGCD, and will direct future efforts to identify and characterize putative causal agent(s) of AGCD in symptomatic apple fruits.

Segun is a native of Nigeria and grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria. His love for science while in high school prompted him to register for a National Diploma in Science Laboratory Technology at the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Nigeria. While studying at Ede, he visited the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria on an excursion tour and was amazed with the level of research in this institute. After his program, he joined IITA in 1995. While at IITA, he obtained Final Diploma (equivalent of baccalaureate degree) in Microbiology/Virology option from University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and a Postgraduate Diploma in Crop Protection from University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Dipak Sharma Poudyal, completed the requirements for a PhD degree in plant pathology from Washington State University (WSU) under the supervision of Xianming Chen.  His supervisory committee included Kulvinder Gill, Dennis A. Johnson, and Timothy D. Murray.  Dipak’s PhD dissertation was titled “Prediction of disease damage, determination of pathogen survival regions, and characterization of international collections of wheat stripe rust”.  Dipak conducted three studies in regional, national, and international scopes with a focus on the epidemiology of the disease.  In the first study, he developed a series of models for predicting potential yield loss for the U.S. Pacific Northwest using historical climatic and disease data.  In the second study, he determined the regions for over-seasoning of the stripe rust pathogen in the mainland U.S. using long-term means for temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, dew point, snow depth, and availability of plant hosts.  In the third project, he determined virulences and molecular genotypes for more than 200 stripe rust isolates from 18 countries on 20 single resistance gene lines and 20 wheat differential genotypes and 17 SSR markers.  His research showed common and unique virulences in different countries and two genetic groups with some of admix genotypes.  Dipak’s research findings provided a better understanding of the virulence and genetic variation of the pathogen populations and should be useful for control of stripe rust using disease resistance.  Dipak grew up in Chitwan, Nepal and received his BS in soil science in 1998 and MS in plant pathology in 2001 from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

April in the News

Faculty Invited to Contribute to the APS Education Center

The on-line reference source on fungi,  “Introduction to Fungi” by Dr. Lori Carris, associate professor in the department (co-authored by C.R. Little and WSU Plant Pathology alumna C.M. Stiles), The Plant Health Instructor. DOI:10.1094/PHI-I-2012-0426-01 is now available at the APS Education Center: http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/PathogenGroups/Pages/IntroFungi.aspx.  The Introduction is a comprehensive, illustrated treatment of the Fungi and fungal-like organisms and their roles as biotrophs, saprotrophs and pathogens.


Plant Pathology Graduate Students to receive ARCS Fellowships

Christian Aguilar (pictured left, PhD student with Drs. Mark Mazzola and Chang-Lin Xiao) and Katie McKeever (pictured right,PhD student with Dr. Gary Chastagner) have been selected to receive the highly prestigious and competitive Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholarship from the ARCS-Seattle Chapter (http://www.seattlearcsfoundation.org/). Christian’s and Katie’s strong academic and research performance and their leadership skills were recognized and complimented by the ARCS Foundation.

Other Plant Pathology ARCS Fellows include Dr. Jane Stewart (PhD, WSU, with Dr. Tobin Peever), and Mr. Aaron Agostini (PhD student with Dr. Dennis Johnson).

Plant Pathology is one of only four departments in WSU to have earned this recognition by the ARCS Foundation.

From the ARCS web site:  The ARCS Foundation-Seattle Chapter (http://www.seattlearcsfoundation.org/), a group of 121 dedicated women, has given over $11.5 million in fellowships to the University of Washington and Washington State University since 1978.  Their goal is to provide our state’s two premier research institutions with a competitive edge in recruiting the nation’s finest doctoral students in the fields of science, engineering and medical research. Fellowships are a grant of $17,500 over three years that the Seattle Chapter funds for graduate students at UW and WSU.  The UW and WSU use these grants to attract graduate students with outstanding scholastic records who receive multiple offers to study at the best universities in the country. 

Congratulations to Christian and Katie!


Faculty Webinar

Dr. Tim Murray, professor of plant pathology, presented a webinar as part of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network spring webinar series on Wednesday April 11, 2012 entitled “Role of alternate hosts in development and control of rust diseases of field crops.”  Webinars are posted at www.gpdn.org.


 

Wheat Researchers Travel to Mexico

Drs. Scot Hulbert and Tim Murray, professors in the department, were part of a delegation including other members of the wheat research team, and members of the Washington Grain Commission (WGC) invited to attend the Global Wheat Week at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) research station in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico on March 26-28.   Activities included visiting the local irrigation district, area farms, a flour mill, cookie bakery and brewery, attending field day at the research station, presentations by CIMMYT researchers located at other research stations around the world, meeting with individual CIMMYT scientists and a carne asada barbecue.

Pictured at the research center (l to r):  Chad Weigand, US Wheat Associates, Mexico City; Mary Palmer Sullivan, WGC; Tim Murray, WSU; Jianli Chen, University of Idaho; Jim White, WGC; Kim Garland-Campbell, USDA-ARS; Dana Heron, WGC; Randy Seuss, WGC; Arron Carter, WSU; and Scot Hulbert, WSU. Not pictured: Mike Pumphrey and Gary Shelton, WSU.


Diagnostic Clinic

Karen Ward, Plant Diagnostician for the WSU Pullman Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic (PPDC), was featured in the April 2012 issue of Wheat Life. The article highlights the services the PPDC can provide to wheat growers and stakeholders, including potentially significant economic savings, and encourages wheat growers to utilize the PPDC. Karen can be contacted at the PPDC at (509) 335-3292 or karen_flint.ward@wsu.edu. For more details, visit the PPDC website


2012 Sam Smith Lecture

Debrorah Atwood, Executive Director of Meridian Institute – AGree, Washington, DC, presented a seminar entitled “Global Challenges in the 21st Century: Transforming Food and Ag Policy” as part of the President Samuel Smith Lecture Series in the department on April 12, 2012. The Samuel Smith Lecture has been established in the department to recognize Dr. Smith, Professor Emeritus in the department. Dr. Smith served as WSU’s president from 1985-2000. He earned two plant pathology degrees from the University of California Berkley, a bachelor’s in 1961 and a Ph. D. in 1964, and was Dean of College of Agriculture at Penn State before moving to WSU as President. 

AGree seeks to improve agricultural productivity and environmental performance, enhance availability of and access to nutritious food, and promote opportunities for rural communities to succeed economically.

Deb Atwood has more than 30 years of experience in policy and legislative matters regarding food, agriculture, the environment, research, and risk management, including extensive experience working with executives in the private sector, federal government, and nonprofit organizations.

Prior to joining Meridian, Atwood was an Associate for Corporate Affairs and Public Policy at Mars, Incorporated. In this role, she worked closely with lawmakers in Congress and senior officials in the White House, and federal agencies. Previously, she was a Senior Policy Advisor with Crowell & Moring, on behalf of clients in the agricultural, food, environmental, mining, and chemical industries. She served from 2001 to 2003 as a Special Assistant to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jim Moseley. From 1995 until 1999 she was Assistant Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the National Pork Producers Council. Atwood served from 1989 to 1992 as Deputy Associate Administrator for Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She served as head of the Congressional Affairs Office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prior to taking the EPA position. She serves on the board of ACDI-VOCA, an agriculture development nonprofit organization with many years of experience working in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Atwood’s visit included a lunch meeting with graduate students in the department.

The visit was co-sponsored by WSU Office of Research. Big thanks to Dr. Howard Grimes, Vice President for Research and Dean, Graduate School for his support.


Faculty’s Feature Article on Tospoviruses Highlighted in APS Newscapsule

A review article, co-authored by Dr. Hanu Pappu and published in Plant Disease, was featured in the April issue of APS News Capsule.
Excerpt from the News Capsule:

“Plant Disease Feature Article: Emerging Problems of Tospoviruses. In this month’s feature article, B. Mandal and colleagues discuss emerging diseases caused by tospoviruses and their distribution in the Indian subcontinent. The authors discuss virus relationships, vectors, and epidemiology of the five tospoviruses known to occur there. Of the five, Groundnut bud necrosis virus and Watermelon bud necrosis virus are becoming increasingly important in vegetables. Interestingly, Tomato spot wilted virus and Impatiens necrotic spot virus, two widely established tospoviruses on vegetables throughout much of the world, are not known to occur in India.”


Student-Invited Distinguished Lecture Series: Dr. Eric Davis from NC State Visited the Department on April 2, 2012.

The Plant Pathology Graduate Student Organization successfully hosted Dr. Eric Davis, Professor in the North Carolina State University’s Department of Plant Pathology as part of their annual Student-Invited Distinguished Lecture Series. Davis’s seminar, “Molecular Plant-Nematode Interactions”, delivered on April 2nd covered is ongoing research on the molecular mechanisms of host plant parasitism by nematodes.

Katie McKeever, PhD student and President of the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Organization which is overseeing the event, said “Dr. Davis is an accomplished nematologist with a strong plant pathology and biotechnology background. As an instructor of courses such as Phytonematology, he integrates classical techniques with modern molecular approaches. We eagerly anticipate Dr. Davis’s visit and are honored by his acceptance of our invitation.”

This annual event is organized by our graduate student association and from choosing the speaker to arranging his/her itinerary was entirely taken care by graduate students’ said Dr. Hanu Pappu, chair of the Department of Plant Pathology.  ‘This gives our students an opportunity to develop the important skill set of organizing, hosting and engaging a scientist well-known in their field of research and to develop professional contacts and networking’ said Pappu.

Davis’s research has emphasized the physical and molecular interactions between parasitic nematodes and their plant hosts. Recent publications have focused on characterization and localization of nematode parasitism proteins, the expression levels of host and parasite genes during pathogenesis, and host molecular defense responses and cellular changes in host roots. Davis’s lab works extensively with systems involving the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines), the tobacco cyst nematode (Globodera tabacum), and the root-knot nematodes in the genus Meloidogyne. The research performed by Davis’s lab aims to improve management methods for control of plant parasitic nematodes and further the development of host plant resistance.

In addition to his seminar, Davis met with graduate students and faculty throughout the day and joined the department personnel for a potluck dinner and social hour in the evening.


Congratulations to Mr. Segun Akinbade for successfully defending his MS thesis on April 2nd.  Segun’s supervisory committee included Drs. Ken Eastwell (chair), Lindsey du Toit, Dennis Johnson, and Richard Larsen.

His MS dissertation was on GENETIC DIVERSITY IN VIRUSES ASSOCIATED WITH APPLE GREEN CRINKLE DISEASE.
Apple green crinkle disease (AGCD) is widespread in apple orchards worldwide, causing symptoms such as deformation and cracking of fruit. However, these clearly visible symptoms of the disease are only apparent in years with cooler spring temperatures (< 9.2oC). The mode of spread of AGCD suggests that a viral pathogen might be involved in the etiology. In previous studies, Apple stem pitting virus (ASPV), Apple stem grooving virus (ASGV) and Apple chlorotic leaf spot virus (ACLSV) were detected in diseased trees.

(pictured left to right: R. Larsen, K. Eastwell, S. Akinbade, L. du Toit, D. Johnson)

Segun’s research evaluated the genetic diversity of viruses associated with this disease. Shoots from AGCD-symptomatic and asymptomatic trees were obtained during the summer of 2010 and 2011 from North Carolina (NC) and Washington State (WA), and all samples were indexed for the presence of Apple mosaic virus (ApMV), ACLSV, ASGV, ASPV, viroids (in the genus Apscaviroid) and phytoplasmas. Results from these analyses demonstrated that ACLSV, ApMV, viroids (entire genus Apscavirod) and phytoplasmas were not associated with AGCD. Genetic diversity analysis of the coat protein (CP) and replicase genes and triple gene block (TGBs) sequences of ASPV and ASGV were studied. Genetic diversity analysis of virus populations revealed that whereas ASGV populations were genetically conserved in both AGCD-symptomatic and asymptomatic trees, populations of ASPV were highly variable. Phylogenic analysis of CP sequences of ASPV revealed six major groups of sequence variants with two of six phylogroups comprised only of sequences from AGCD-symptomatic trees. These results point to the possible involvement of one or more of the ASPV variants, with or without ASGV, in the etiology of AGCD, and will direct future efforts to identify and characterize putative causal agent(s) of AGCD in symptomatic apple fruits.

Segun is a native of Nigeria and grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria. His love for science while in high school prompted him to register for a National Diploma in Science Laboratory Technology at the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Nigeria. While studying at Ede, he visited the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria on an excursion tour and was amazed with the level of research in this institute. After his program, he joined IITA in 1995. While at IITA, he obtained Final Diploma (equivalent of baccalaureate degree) in Microbiology/Virology option from University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and a Postgraduate Diploma in Crop Protection from University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

March in the News

Plant Pathology Faculty Recognized with Awards of Excellence.

Dr. Lori M. Carris, associate professor in the department, was the recipient of the 2012 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. Dr. Carris was presented with the award by WSU Provost and Executive Vice President,  Dr. Warwick Bayly during the Annual Academic Showcase Banquet on March 30, 2012.

The Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction is presented to a member of the faculty in recognition of truly outstanding accomplishments in the establishment of excellence in the instructional programs of  WSU.  Activities encompassed by this award may be either outstanding singular accomplishments or a record of excellence over a period of years including: Exceptionally effective instruction; Organizing or conducting new courses or programs of study; Revitalizing existing courses or programs of study; and Establishing a national reputation as a leader in instruction.

Dr. Carris is admired for her excellence in teaching at WSU and beyond. In addition to her WSU courses, she instructs many community groups, both in classroom settings and in the field.  She teaches graduate-level mycology courses and has also taught a 100-level mycology class for non-science majors. It has become one of the most popular courses in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS).  In 2011, Dr. Carris received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Phytopathological Society and the William H. Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Mycological Society of America. At WSU, she received the 2007 Mentor of the Year award, the 2009 Woman of Distinction Award, the 2010 Association of Faculty Women Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award and the 2010 CAHNRS R. M. Wade Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.

Dr. Gary G. Grove, professor and extension specialist in the department and located at the Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, received the 2012 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement. Dr. Grove was presented with the award by Dr. Warwick Bayly, Provost and Executive Vice President, during then Annual Academic Showcase Banquet on March 30, 2012.

The intent of the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement is to recognize the outstanding performance by a WSU faculty member toward fulfilling the University’s public service mission, mainly by outreach and engagement into the state or nation.  The award serves to honor truly exceptional accomplishments through activities directed toward extending instruction, research, and supporting resources to a broader public.

Dr. Grove revived, expanded and enhanced WSU’s Ag Weather Network (AWN), transforming it into a vital component of agriculture-based enterprise throughout the state and region. AWN sites provide raw weather data and value-added weather products such as crop models and disease forecasts. In two years as director of the AWN, Grove established a network of 132 weather stations throughout Washington State that provides real-time weather and forecast data and various pest models and disease forecasts.  The website receives more than 400,000 visits per month and uses text messaging and synthetic voice technology to deliver to weather and pest alerts.  His extension and research efforts have develop unique insights in pathogen biology and disease epidemiology irrigated perennial agriculture and resulted in a 60% decrease in fungicide use in Washington vineyards and cherry orchards.  Dr. Grove was recipient of the 2010 American Phytopathological Society’s Excellence in Extension Award.

Congratulations!


Plant Pathology Recognized for Most Posters at the 2012 Academic Showcase Poster Session!

CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo issued a challenge to all CAHNRS departments and offered a reward to the unit that had the most # of accepted posters at this year’s Academic Showcase. Plant Pathology, along with HLA, were declared winners!
Moreover, the most # of accepted posters submitted by individual faculty/program across all CAHNRS units: top two of the three were from Plant Pathology!

Congratulatory Note from CAHNRS Dean, Dan Bernardo:

“Thank you and congratulations on having a poster(s) included in this year’s Academic Showcase Poster Session.  This poster session is a great way to communicate to the rest of our university colleagues the fine and diverse work that is being done in CAHNRS and WSU Extension.  CAHNRS and WSU Extension were identified as the lead college on 98 of the 300 posters presented at this year’s Showcase.  This was a great showing, and it was noticed by many of the faculty and administrators who attended the event.  It was great to see many of you at the session.  I was particularly impressed with the diversity of our posters, ranging from “Advanced Proteome Analysis of Arogenate Dehydratase Knockout Mutants” to “Assessing the Clothing Needs of Adolescent Girls.” 

The department chairs were made aware a couple of months ago of a little contest to encourage participation.  The department with the most posters (scaled to account for faculty size) was to receive a prize at a future faculty meeting.  The contest ended in a dead heat, with both Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and Plant Pathology coming in at 1.00 posters per faculty FTE.  A special congratulations to each of those units.

Please forward this email to all of your graduate student, post-doc, and other poster authors, so that I might also extend a heartfelt congratulations to them, as well. 

Best regards,
Daniel J. Bernardo


Fukata visits WSU Mount Vernon

Masahiro Fukuta, carrot breeder for a Japanese seed company, Sumika Agrotech Co., Ltd., visited Dr. Lindsey du Toit’s vegetable seed pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC on 26 March 2012 to discuss carrot diseases and methods of screening for resistance to these diseases, particularly bacterial leaf blight. Masahiro’s visit to WSU was part of a 3 month stay in the USA, primarily at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Masahiro was working with Dr. Phil Simon, USDA ARS carrot breeder.


Peever Research in On Solid Ground

Dr. Tobin Peever, Associate Professor in our department, and his PhD. Student, Jane Stewart were featured in a recent issue of On Solid Ground. Dr. Peever’s research is focused on the evolution of plant-pathogenic fungi, with a goal to understand how evolution has shaped pathogen populations and to use this knowledge to design more stable and environmentally sound management strategies to control plant disease. Current research efforts are focused on the evolutionary genetics of host specificity, the role of host specificity in fungal speciation and speciation processes in asexual fungi. His group is studying the molecular systematics of Alternaria alternata and closely related small-spored Alternaria species on several host plants and are using Alternaria species as a model to determine the role of mating genes in asexual fungi. Dr. Peever collaborates extensively with WSU researchers as well with numerous others around the globe.

Dr. Jane Stewart, who obtained her PhD under the tutelage of Dr. Peever, worked on the evolutionary biology of the citrus pathogen, Alternaria brown spot (A. alternata) for her PhD dissertation. She examined the mating system of this pathogen and how it relates to the evolution and virulence of this pathogen.

Jane has received several awards including, an ARCS Scholarship (2006‐2009), American Phytopathological Society Student Travel Award (2009), Second International Ascochyta Workshop Travel Award (2009), first place at the Second International Ascochyta Workshop student poster competition, and first place at the Evolutionary Biologists of PNW Student (EVOWIBO) Poster Competition (2010). Jane is a member of the American Phytopathological Society, and the WSU Plant Pathology Graduate Students Club.

Jane grew up in Portland, Oregon. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Oregon in 1999. In 2003, she earned her Master’s degree in Forestry, with an emphasis on Forest Pathology at University of Vermont, School of Natural Resources (UVM SNR). Her thesis work focused on the movement of a tree pathogen by forest insects. Before starting her PhD at WSU, she worked as a technician for the University of Vermont Entomology Lab, focusing on IPM management for forest insect pests. She then traveled back to the PNW to work for the USDA Forest Service. Her work focused the genetics of nursery and forest tree
diseases.


Plant Pathology Faculty Recognized with Team Interdisciplinary Award from the College

PNW VEG (Pacific Northwest Vegetable Extension Group) led by Drs. Lindsey du Toit and Debra Inglis in our department and Carol Miles in HLA, is selected to receive the 2012 CAHNRS Team Interdisciplinary Award. The Team will be recognized at the annual CAHNRS Awards Banquet to be held on April 14, 2012 in Ensminger Pavilion, WSU, Pullman (4 to 6:30 pm).

The PNW VEG was founded 11 years ago by Dr. Debra Inglis because of the monumental challenge of addressing the research and extension (R&E) needs for a diversity of diseases on more than 45 primary fresh market and processing vegetables as well as more than 20 vegetable seed crops grown in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). The team is now led by Drs. Lindsey du Toit, Debra Inglis, and Carol Miles (Depts. of Plant Pathology and Horticulture & Landscape Architecture). From the 10 charter members, the team now represents a tri-state R&E effort with 23 vegetable specialists from WSU, OSU and the UI with R&E appointments in entomology, horticulture, plant pathology and weed science. Members share information on emerging vegetable issues; develop science-based vegetable resources and recommendations; and, disseminate research-based information rapidly and effectively via a comprehensive website, conference calls and electronic communications, disease diagnoses and field visits, presentations and publications, and regular interactions with stakeholder groups and key industry representatives. Many PNW VEG members serve on vegetable stakeholder advisory boards.

Prior to 2000, a unified team did not exist to assess R&E needs for the complex PNW vegetable industry, and convey those needs to land grant institutions and stakeholders. Washington vegetables (including potatoes) represented a farmgate value of >$775 M in 2000. Dr. Inglis identified the need to coordinate the various R&E activities in vegetables. She put together the Vegetable Pathology Extension Team and served in its leadership role until 2004 when Dr. du Toit assumed leadership of the team (re-named the PNW VEG) with subsequent recruitment of diverse vegetable specialists in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

The team works with organic and conventional cropping systems, vegetable growers and industry representatives in the Tri-state region. Team members discuss trends in vegetable problems at monthly team conference calls during each growing season. These calls lead to effective sharing of information, improved diagnoses and, sometimes, specific outreach projects (e.g., PNW VEG Extension Bulletin No. 616 in 2009 on physiological leaf roll of tomato, after team members in all three states reported widespread occurrence of this problem). Collaborations on applied research projects have led to important outcomes (e.g., du Toit and Pelter issued the first report documenting the yield impact of Iris yellow spot virus on 55 onion cultivars grown in WSU’s onion cultivar trial in 2004; and these annual onion cultivar trials have led to other research projects and grant awards, e.g., addressing Iris yellow spot and onion storage rots).

The following are highlights of team outputs and impacts: 45 team conference calls over 11 growing seasons (minutes archived and circulated to members and university administrators; two comprehensive vegetable disease diagnosis workshops (Mount Vernon in 2003 and Pasco in 2008) which received excellent ratings from participants; team website regularly revised that features a calendar of vegetable educational events, a vegetable photo gallery, 18 electronic newsletters, and comprehensive listings of vegetable resources; four professional development opportunities (team trainings at Snoqualmie Pass and Pasco, and vegetable tours in the Skagit Valley and Columbia Basin); distribution of resources (books, CDs, digital cameras, etc.) to team members; and integration of university plant clinic diagnosticians into team activities. Congratulations!


Plant Pathology Staff Recognized with Award for Excellence from the College

Mr. Thomas Cummings, Senior Scientific Assistant in Dr. Dennis Johnson’s program in our department, is selected to receive the 2012 CAHNRS Administrative Professional Technical Staff Excellence Award. He will be recognized at the annual CAHNRS Awards Banquet to be held on April 14, 2012 in Ensminger Pavilion, WSU, Pullman (4 to 6:30 pm).

Excerpt from the nomination statement: “Mr. Cummings is an outstanding member of the plant pathology research team. He is self sufficient, adaptable and technically proficient both in field and laboratory research environments. Tom has an excellent work ethic and will go the extra mile with effort and time to meet research goals. Of particular importance is Tom’s intellectual curiosity and understanding of the broader implications of research. People enjoy working with Tom. He has a respectful and a team spirit manner when cooperating with others. His contributions in research with students, WSU departments and Extension, other universities, and industry personnel are well known, sought out and highly valued. Tom is a valued asset of the WSU community.”

Congratulations, Tom!


Faculty Featured in WSU Today

The American Phytopathological Society, the world’s largest professional society of plant pathologists, recently chose Washington State University plant pathologist Dr. Dean Glawe’s database as a standard reference for authors submitting papers on powdery mildews to the journal Plant Disease. An article featuring Dr. Glawe’s accomplishment was featured in the March 7 edition of WSU Today.


Plant Pathology Faculty Selected to Receive 2011 Best Viticulture Paper Award

Congratulations to Dr. Gary Grove, professor of plant pathology! He co-authored a paper that has been selected to receive the 2011 Best Viticulture Paper Award from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV).

The ASEV Best Paper Committee evaluated all research papers published in Volume 62 (2011) of the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. The Committee has chosen one paper in the field of viticulture that is deemed outstanding in its content and a substantial contribution to the field. Dr. Grove’s paper, “Powdery Mildew Severity as a Function of Canopy Density: Associated Impacts on Sunlight Penetration and Spray Coverage” has been chosen as the bestviticulture paper for 2011.

The award consists of complimentary general registration for the National Conference in Portland, Oregon for June 20-21, 2012; An invitation to the Board of Director’s Reception and Dinner to be held on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at the National Conference; an engraved plaque to be presented to him at the National Conference; and a cash award.

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