WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

February in the News

Integrated Plant Sciences Retreat

Nathalie Walter, Biological Sciences Technician in the laboratory of Dr. Pat Okubara, wins Best Poster by a Research Staff at the 2009 Integrated Plant Sciences Retreat held February 21, 2009.

Lacey Hulbert, sophomore ag communications major, working part-time with Dr. Pat Okubara and Dr. Lindsey du Toit also presented a poster. Lacey did DNA sequencing of Pacific Northwest isolates of Fusarium oxypsorum f. sp. spinaciae, the pathogen causing Fusarium wilt of spinach.  She collated her data with data from others in the du Toit and Okubara labs, and presented a poster at the Annual Integrated Plant Sciences Retreat.

WSU Today Feature

Dr. Ekaterini Riga’s reserach on nematodes was featured in the February 26 edition of WSU Today.


Auvil Scholarship Recipient

The Schroeder laboratory is pleased to announce that one of its members, Juan Pena, is the recipient of a $500 Auvil Scholarship for the spring 2009 semester.   Juan received a $1000 Auvil Scholarship during the fall 2008 semester.  This allowed Juan to begin a multilocus sequence analysis of Enterobacter cloacae.  The current scholarship will enable Juan to continue to work on this project.


Associate Professor Promoted

Dr. Ken Eastwell, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology located at IAREC, Prosser, is promoted to Professor of Plant Pathology. His promotion will become effective July 1, 2009.

Dr. Eastwell is one of the world’s foremost virologists with expertise in grape and tree fruit viruses. He has been successful in developing a nationally and internationally recognized virology program and brought recognition to our department, IAREC, CAHNRS and WSU.  As the director of the NRSP-5, Dr. Eastwell enhanced the effectiveness, visibility and reputation of the program and took it to the next level.  Besides his high quality research program, Dr. Eastwell has been a firm believer in addressing the needs of the growers and stakeholders and his service and outreach activities are valued and appreciated by various grower groups locally, regionally , and nationally. He has been the driving force in making the concept of National Clean Plant Network become a reality.  Dr. Eastwell’s vision for the future of plant health issues in perennial crops and his tireless efforts to bring coordination among various state and federal agencies in ensuring the sustainability of perennial crops did not go unnoticed:  IAREC, Prosser was recently selected to be the headquarters for the National Tree Fruit Network.

Congratulations Dr. Eastwell!


Faculty Gives Presentation

Dr. Lindsey du Toit was invited to give a presentation at the International Seed Health Initiative – Vegetable Technical Group meeting in Paris, France on February 3-5. Dr. du Toit spoke on “Selected Seedborne Pathogens of Spinach and Carrot”, based on research her program has completed on Cladosporium variabile, Stemphylium botryosum, and Verticillium dahliae as seedborne pathogens of spinach; and Xanthomonas hortorum pv. carotae as a seedborne pathogen of carrot. The meeting was attended by about 50 vegetable pathologists and seed pathologists from France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US.


Reception to Honor Dr. Murray

A celebration was held February 20 to honor Dr. Timothy Murray for serving as chair of the Department of Plant Pathology for 8 years. Thank you Dr. Murray for your service to the Department! More photos, click here.


Faculty Honored with WSU’s 2009 Woman of Distiniction Award

Dr. Lori Carris, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology, has been selected to receive WSU’s 2009 Woman of Distinction Award. The award recognizes Dr. Carris’ accomplishments in academic work, career, leadership, and service, and her contributions to the personal growth and success of others, especially women, through education, research, or public or volunteer service above and beyond her expected job responsibilities.

A sample quote from one of her nomination statements…
Few members of our university community have contributed so much to make WSU a better place to work as did Dr. Carris.  Her professional contributions and service activities are not limited to her home department but are valued and appreciated throughout CAHNRS and across various colleges in WSU…

President Elson S. Floyd will present the award at the Women’s Recognition Luncheon on March 11, 2009 in the Cub Ballroom.

Dr. Carris’ dedication and commitment to helping students realize their full potential won her the Outstanding Mentor of the Year award two years ago.


Faculty Honored with 2009 CAHNRS Women’s History Recognition Award for Professional and Academic Leadership

Dr. Debbie Inglis, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology, has been selected to receive the 2009 CAHNRS Women’s History Recognition Award for Professional and Academic Leadership.

Besides having research and extension responsibilities, Dr. Inglis served as the interim director and associate dean of NWREC, Mt. Vernon for four years during which she oversaw the expansion of the laboratory facilities at the center.  She has been a great ambassador in representing the department and CAHNRS in her role as the interim director. Her leadership skills, people skills, and her forward-looking and progressive vision for the NWREC’s future were admired and applauded by all.

Some of the comments from her nomination statement include…

“Dr. Inglis is an invaluable mentor and leader to each of us at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. Her tireless integrity, attention to detail, and often selfless interest in the successful development and growth of our research and extension programs have been instrumental to the team atmosphere that predominates at the NWREC. This has made it a pleasure to work at this facility, and a welcome environment for the many new employees that have joined the NWREC staff/faculty over the past four years.”

“An important characteristic that Dr. Inglis instilled as Interim Director of the NWREC is the sense of ‘ownership’ for all employees, i.e., that it is both a privilege and a responsibility to contribute to the success of individual programs and the whole NWREC…”

See WSU Today Feature.


On Solid Ground Feature

Research conducted by Dr. Lori Carris on smuts in grass was featured in the February 18 issue of CAHNRS On Solid Ground.


California Oak Mortality Task Force Newsletter Feature

Research by Dr. Gary Chastagner, Professor of Plant Pathology, WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center, on Phytophthora ramorum causal agent of Sudden Oak Death (SOD) was the Featured Article in the February 2009 issue of the California Oak Mortality Task Force (COMTF) Newsletter. COMTF is the leading national organization dealing with SOD.

Dr. Chastagner gave a presentation at a meeting held by the USDA-APHIS and WSDA for the national, regional, and state APHIS personnel to discuss regulatory issues relating to Phytophthora ramorum in Washington State.


Staff Wins the Prestigious CAHNRS Award for Excellence

Mike Derie, Scientific Assistant with Dr. Lindsey du Toit in Mt. Vernon, is selected to receive the CAHNRS Academic and Professional Excellence Award for 2009. Mike will be recognized at the annual CAHNRS Awards Banquet in Pullman on April 4th.

Congratulations, Mike!


Undergraduate Internship

Cindy Getschow just completed a month-long internship in Dr. Gary Chastagner‘s laboratory at WSU Puyallup.  Cindy is a native of Beavercreek, Ohio and is a freshman at Oberlin College in Ohio. She is double majoring in biology and neuroscience. During her internship she provided assistance on a number of projects relating to sudden oak death. She worked closely with Katie Coats on molecular experiments relating to the colonization of conifer woody tissues by Phytophthora ramorum. She also assisted Marianne Elliott on a project examining the susceptibility of Rhododendron spp. to this pathogen.


Student Wins Second Prize

Dan Villamor, PhD student with Dr. Ken Eastwell, won second prize in student poster competition at the Annual meeting and Trade Show of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.  His poster reported results of his ongoing PhD research on Grapevine Yellow Speckle Viroid-1 (GYSVd-1) and Rupestris Stem Pitting Associated Virus (RSPaV) in Washington State.  The poster was co-authored by Dr.  Julie Tarara and Dr. Ken Eastwell.

Congratulations Dan!

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