Ed Thomas SURCA Winner
Plant Pathology’s own Edward Thomas was a first-place prize winner in WSU’s recent Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities competition (SURCA). His poster presentation in the “Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology” category earned him a Crimson Award and prize of $300. Ed’s research focused on developing methodology to study early infection processes in powdery mildews. He assessed different procedures for inducing conidial germination in vitro, culturing powdery mildews on detached leaves in two-layered Petri plates that he fabricated, and developed an inventory of powdery mildews occurring on the WSU-Pullman Campus. His powdery mildew inventory proved useful for students who took Plant Pathology 429 in fall semester (2014), enabling them to go to specific locations on campus to find powdery mildew specimens for class. Ed’s online powdery mildew inventory was made using free software and tools that combine maps, photographs, and GPS coordinates that can be used and updated by anyone with a smartphone. His research was sponsored by a CAHNRS Undergraduate Internship for summer 2014. He was mentored by Plant Pathology Department mycologist Dean Glawe. This year’s SURCA was the largest yet, with 189 students from four campuses plus WSU Extension registered to display posters in eight categories on their research, scholarship, and creative activities.