College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

March in the News

Dr. Claude Fauquet, Cassava Biotechnologist, visits the Department

Dr. Claude Fauquet, director of the International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology, and member and principal investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri, is one of the world’s leading cassava biotechnologists. He has dedicated his career to cassava improvement and to helping resource-poor farmers in African nations preserve and improve their livelihood.

Fauquet was the student-invited distinguished speaker at the Department of Plant Pathology. Fauquet’s visit was organized by the plant pathology graduate students and included meetings with students, staff and faculty. During the two-day visit (March 29-30), Fauquet gave two seminars: “Intimate relationships between the host and geminiviruses and their satellites” and “Better Food for a Better World: Cassava Biotechnology”.

This annual event brings a distinguished scientist to WSU. Speakers are selected by the students, and from making the initial contact to invite him/her, to arranging the complete itinerary are done by the students. “This whole exercise offers students valuable professional development training and provides networking opportunities” said Hanu Pappu, chair of the Department of Plant Pathology. “This year our students pulled off a real coup by getting Dr. Fauquet visit WSU for two days” said Pappu.

Before assuming the directorship of ILTAB, Fauquet served as the co-director for this lab, along with Dr. Roger Beachy who recently assumed the position of Director of USDA’s NIFA. “Fauquet is one of those scientists who dedicated his career for improving the lives of people in Africa through his research on cassava” said Pappu. His lab is a magnet for students and scientists from all over the world. To date, Fauquet hosted and trained visiting scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and students from over 69 countries.

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Faculty Organized Workshop

Dr. Lindsey du Toit and Steven Koike (University of California Cooperative Extension in Salinas, CA) organized a lab workshop titled “Spinach Verticillium Seed Assay Workshop” to demonstrate seed testing methods for identification and differentiation of Verticillium spp. and other necrotrophic fungi on spinach seed. The workshop took place on 31st of March 2010 in Davis, CA and was attended by 28 plant pathologists and seed pathologists representing seed companies, private and state seed testing labs, consulting companies, and regulatory agencies in the US and EU. The workshop was followed by a planning session for an international ‘ring test’ to develop a standardized, internationally-accepted spinach seed health assay for Verticillium spp.

WSU Showcase and the Sciences and Engineering Undergraduate Research Poster Competition

Graduate and undergraduate students working with Dr. Brenda Schroeder participated in WSU Showcase on March 26 and Sciences and Engineering Undergraduate Research Poster Competition on March 29.

Juan Peña presented “Phylogeny of Enterobacter cloacae on onions”, Nathan Peterson and Sarah M. Dossey presented “Colonization of Enterobacter cloacae in onion leaves”, and Sarah M. Dossey presented “Role of Exopolysaccharide in the Biology Enterobacter cloacae”.

Sciences and Engineering Undergraduate Research Poster Competition:
Austin Bates and Ryan Liesche presented “Development of an Enterobacter cloacae pathogenicity assay on onion pieces”, Juan Peña presented “Phylogeny of Enterobacter cloacae on onions”, Nathan Peterson presented “Colonization of Enterobacter cloacae in onion leaves”.

Austin Bates and Ryan Liesche were presented with the Novice Award for a young scientist who has worked on their project for less than a year who shows incredible scientific promise.

Austin Bates

Nathan Peterson

Juan Pena

On Solid Ground and WSU Today Features

Multidisciplinary research on biodegradable mulch directed by Dr. Debra Inglis was featured in the March 24 edition of On Solid Ground. This research was also featured in the April 7 edition of WSU Today.

USDA-ARS News Feature

Dr. Dennis Johnson‘s research on powdery scab and black dot was featured in the March 2 edition of the USDA-ARS News

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