College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

April in the News

Faculty Attends Plant Virus Ecology Network Workshop

Dr. Hanu Pappu attended the second workshop of the Plant Virus Ecology Network (PVEN). The workshop was sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and hosted by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Ca’ Tron di Roncade, Italy, April 21-23, 2009.  The workshop, organized by Drs. Carolyn Malmstrom, Mark Tepfer and Ulrich Melcher, brought together virologists, ecologists, and epidemiologists to discuss virus ecology, virus evolution and fitness, and the interactions between viruses and the environment.  Dr. Pappu gave an invited talk based on his ongoing research on ecological, epidemiological and molecular aspects of tospoviruses (Bunyaviridae) and plant pararetroviruses (Caulimoviridae) in natural and managed ecosystems


The Great Debate

Students from Plant Pathology 534, Fungal Genetics, debated the origin of the potato late blight pathogen on April 28, 2009. The class was divided into two teams, one representing a “Pro-Andean” origin and the other representing a “Pro-Mexican” origin, and competed for the “Swan Cup”. The “Pro-Mexican” group were able to convince a panel of three judges (Drs. Paulitz, Carris and Rogers) through the overwhelming power of their persuasive arguments and esprit de corps.

Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Visitor

Dr. N. Balakrishnan, a faculty member in the Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India, completed hands-on training in thrips and tospoviruses at Washington State University under the direction of Dr. Naidu Rayapati during September 1, 2008 and April 30, 2009. His training was funded by a project awarded to Dr. Rayapati by the Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program of USAID at Virginia Tech.


Universidad del Valle de Guatemala Visitor

Dr. Margarita Palmieri, Departamento de Biología, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala, visited Dr. Naidu Rayapati’s lab during March 26-April 4, 2009, to learn techniques related to the diagnosis of plant viruses in vegetables. Her short-term visit was funded by Departamento de Biología, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala.

OSU Visitor

The Vegetable Seed Pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC welcomed Dr. Bo Ming Wu on the 28th and 29th April 2009. Dr. Wu is an Assistant Professor at the Oregon State University Madras REC where he works on diseases of a diversity of crops, including carrot seed crops, mint, onion seed crops, and grass seed crops. Dr. Wu recently completed a postdoctorate position with Dr. Krishna Subbarao at the University of California-Davis in Salinas, working on Sclerotinia minor in lettuce. Dr. Wu moved to central OR in March 2009 to take this faculty position with OSU that was previously held by Dr. Fred Crowe, who recently retired. Dr. Wu is working on a collaborative project with Dr. Lindsey du Toit‘s program on bacterial blight in carrot seed production.

Position Announcement

Associate in Research or Postdoctoral Research Associate, Plant Pathology
Washington State University, Department of Plant Pathology, Pullman, WA  

An Associate in Research or Postdoctoral Research Associate position is open to conduct phytobacteriology research focused on bacterial pathogens of onion and potatoes.  Position responsibilities and duties include: designing experiments, data management, presenting results at scientific meetings and preparing manuscripts for scientific journals, training and supervising temporary employees. Laboratory techniques may involve classical microbiological techniques including isolation, culturing, identification and maintenance of bacterial cultures.  Molecular techniques such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analyses including genomic DNA and plasmid isolations, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real time PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, molecular cloning, site-directed mutagenesis and sequencing will be completed.  Individual will independently perform research activities and data analysis according to standard and specified procedures.  Person will be involved in pathogenicity studies which will involve greenhouse work.  Applicant must be willing to learn additional techniques and problem solve as needed for the advancement of the laboratory.

Qualifications:  Required for an Associate in Research:  An MS in Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, or a related field.  Required for a Postdoctoral Research Associate: A PhD in Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, or related field.  A strong demonstrated background in molecular techniques,  an interest in plant-microbe interactions, and experience with bacteria. The successful candidate is expected to conduct research independently and have excellent written and oral communication skills.  Willing to fill at either level depending on the successful applicant’s qualifications.  Applicant must be able to demonstrate careful attention to detail, excellent record keeping, and ability to organize their time effectively and ability to manage multiple experimental approaches.

Availability:  The position is temporary, 12 month, full-time. Initial appointment is for 1 year and is annually renewable and dependent upon continued funding.  Salary is commensurate with experience and includes annual leave and medical benefits.  Submit letter of application describing interests and addressing all qualifications listed above, vitae, transcripts and three letters of reference (direct from source) to: Dr. Brenda K. Schroeder,  Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, P.O. Box 646430, Pullman, WA 99164-6430, e-mail:, phone: 509-335-5805, FAX: 509-335-9581.  Screening:  June 15, 2009


Visitor from Seminis Vegetable Seeds

The Vegetable Seed Pathology (VSP) program welcomed Matt May to the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC on 6th-9th April to work with Lindsey du Toit‘s program on a spinach Verticillium wilt project. Matt also discussed various research issues on other seedborne pathogens of vegetables that are being investigated in Lindsey’s program. Matt is a Research Associate 2 at Seminis Vegetable Seeds in Woodland, CA, where he works on vegetable seed health issues.

On Solid Ground Features

Research conducted by Dr. Chang-Lin Xio on reducing fruit rot was featured in the April 1 issue of On Solid Ground.

A feature was written on Dr. Naidu Rayapati and his colleagues who received the IPM Excellence Team Award in the April 1 issue of On Solid Ground.
Research conducted by Dr. Gary Chastagner on sudden oak death was featured in the April 8 issue of On Solid Ground.
Research conducted by Dr. Timothy Murray on snow mold was featured in the April 15 issue of On Solid Ground. This research was also featured in the April 21 edition of WSU Today.

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