College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

December in the News

Congratulations to Our Fall Graduates!

Olufemi J. Alabi completed his Ph.D. program under the supervision of Dr. Naidu Rayapati. His thesis title is “Studies on epidemiology, molecular detection and genetic diversity of selected viruses infecting cassava and wine grapes.” He is pursuing postdoctoral research in Dr. Rayapati’s lab.

Evans Njambere completed his Ph.D. program under the supervision of  Dr. Weidong Chen. His thesis research was on “Etiology and population biology of Sclerotinia species causing stem and crown rot of chickpea.” He joined Dr. Ning Zhang’s lab at Rutgers University as a post-doctoral fellow.

Congratulations to both our graduates!

Building a Better Christmas Tree: Faculty Research on Christmas Trees Featured in Seattle Times

Research on Christmas trees by Dr. Gary Chastagner, professor of plant pathology in our department and located at Puyallup REC, was featured in the December 14 issue Seattle Times. Dr. Chastagner is a world-renowned researcher 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, Dr. Chastagner is a leading researcher on diseases of ornamental bulbs.

Faculty Publication Discusses the Future of Plant Pathology Education

Dr. Tim Murray, professor of plant pathology, co-authored a Feature Article that discusses the future of plant pathology education.

MacDonald et al., 2009.  Education in Plant Pathology: Present Status and Future Challenges. Plant Disease 93: 1238-1251.

The American Phytopathological Society (APS) has made this available as “open access” article for the next couple of months.

Faculty publication chosen as Editor’s Pick

Congratulations to Dr. Naidu Rayapati. His following publication has been chosen as Phytopathology Editor’s Pick!

Tefera A. Mekuria, Linga R. Gutha, Robert R. Martin, and Rayapati A. Naidu. 2009. Genome Diversity and Intra- and Interspecies Recombination Events in Grapevine fanleaf virus. Phytopathology 99: 1394-1402.

Congratulations to Our ARS News Makers

Dr. Mark Mazzola , Research Plant Pathologist with USDA-ARS in Wenatchee and adjunct professor in our department, has been featured as the News Maker by USDA ARS for the month of December 2009. Dr. Mazzola has been studying the WWF version of the microbial world (no folding chairs are allowed here!): some real bare-knuckle brawls among bacteria and amoebas in the soil. He is finding that certain strains of Pseudomonad bacteria could be just the ticket to help protect  young apple trees against the dreaded “apple replant disease.”

Dr. Frank Dugan, Research Plant Pathologist with the ARS Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research Station and adjunct professor in our department, is the USDA ARS News Maker for December.  His research suggests that biocontrol could be the way to go to combat the fungus Ascochyta rabiei, which threatens chickpea crops the world over, and the troublemaker could be about to meet its match in a fellow fungus called Aureobasidium pullulans that looks like a hot contender as a biocontrol agent.

Faculty Receives Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Dr. Lori Carris, Associate Professor, received the WSU Association for Faculty Women (AFW)’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award. The award was presented by President Emeritus Dr. Sam Smith at the AFW meeting on December 9, 2009 and was featured in the December 8 edition of WSU Today.

The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Emeritus Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU.  The criteria for the award are as follows: “The recipient of the Award shall be an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the Washington State University system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.”

Dr. Carris will also be recognized for this award at the WSU Academic Showcase Banquet on March 26, 2010.


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