College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

March in the News

Meetings and Travel:

Lindsey du Toit was invited to give a presentation titled, “IYSV of onions: What is it? Where is it?” at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Muck Vegetable Growers’ Association in Bradford, Ontario, Canada, on March 22-23.

Mushroom Feast:

The Palouse Mycological Association (PMA) held its mushroom feast at the New Garden Restaurant on March 20. This dinner has become a popular annual event for students, faculty, and members of the community; we had a record turnout of 24 this year. We were joined by Dr. Judy Brown, Professor of Plant Pathology at University of Arizona and alumnus of the Department of Plant Pathology (see news item below).

Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet:

Celebrating Excellence honors the outstanding achievements of WSU faculty and staff. The newest recipients of the Eminent Faculty Award, the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Awards, the Marian E. Smith Faculty Achievement Award, the President’s Employee Excellence Awards and the presenter of the Distinguished Faculty Address were honored at this banquet. In addition, this year’s Regents Professors, newly tenured and promoted faculty, and new patent awardees were spotlighted during this special evening. Four Plant Pathology faculty members were recognized: Lindsey du Toit and Chang Lin Xiao, tenure and promotion to Associate Scientist/Extension Specialist E-3; Gary Grove, promotion to Professor/Scientist/Extension Specialist E-4; and Jack Rogers, recipient of the 2006 WSU Eminent Faculty Award (transcript of Rogers’ remarks).

Grant Awards:

Donna Henderson and Ekaterini Riga, Western SARE grant, $10,000. Project title: IPM and biological control of Meloidogyne chitwoodi and the Colorado potato beetle. Ms. Henderson is a Ph.D. student under the direction of Dr. Riga.

Research on Display:

Zenta Nishio and Tim Murray are participating in this year’s Academic Showcase with a poster highlighting their current research on snow mold disease in winter wheat. Mr. Nishio is a Visiting Scientist from the Department of Upland Agriculture, National Agricultural Research Center for the Hokkaido Region, Shinsei, Memuro, Hokkaido, Japan. This is his second visit to Dr. Murray’s lab. Click here to see the Nishio/Murray abstract entitled, “Evaluating Resistance to Speckled Snow Mold Disease in Winter Wheat by Pathogen Growth and Carbohydrate Content.”

Sierra Hartney and Lee Hadwiger are also participating with a poster displaying their research on non-host resistance. Ms. Hartney is an M.S. student under the direction of Dr. Hadiwger. Click here to see their abstract entitled, “The involvement of inhibitors and effectors of vital host cell and gene functions in non-host resistance.”

John Goetz, Jack Rogers, Lori Carris, Paul Hessburg, Ned Klopfenstein, and Mee-Sook Kim presented their research on fungal endophytes. Mr. Goetz is an M.S. student whose major professor is Dr. Rogers. Click here to see their abstract entitled, “Fungal endophytes isolated from roots of douglas-fir and ponderosa pine from prescribed burn sites.”

Nearly 240 posters and displays will be presented at this year’s Academic Showcase. To see a complete listing of posters, go to and click on 2006 Abstracts to displays, abstract content, and authors.


Muhammad Ashraf, Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, joined Xianming Chen’s laboratory in the USDA-ARS and the Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, in August, 2005, as a Fulbright Visiting Scientist. During his stay, he conducted stripe rust resistance tests on wheat germplasm introduced into Pakistan during the past 40 years and F8 recombinant inbred lines which were developed from indigenous sources. He also worked on fingerprinting of Pakistan wheat stocks with stripe rust resistance, and mapping of resistant genes to stripe rust using RGAP and other molecular techniques. He presented a seminar, “Genetic Characterization of Wheat Resistance to Stripe Rust in Pakistan.” He will be participating in the on-going Global Initiative on Wheat Stripe Rust upon his return to Pakistan in March, 2006.

Invited Lecturers:

James W. Moyer, Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC visited the department on March 27th.  Moyer, a native of Washington State, got his B.S. degree from WSU, and MS and PhD degrees from Penn State.  He met with students and faculty and held discussions. He gave a seminar on the molecular genetics of host adaptation of Tomato spotted wilt virus.

Dr. Judy Brown (M.S., Plant Pathology, 1981), who received the 2005 CAHNRS Women’s History Award for Professional and Academic Leadership, was a guest speaker for the spring semester seminar series. The title of her seminar was, “Divergent C1-bacteria partially impede and/or rescue gene flow in the whitefly vector Bemisia tabaci: host preference- and geographical-isolation may be less important than expected for this cryptic species.” An informal reception was held prior to seminar (see photos).

Dr. Robert Gilbertson, Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, was the 2006 Graduate Student Invited Distinguished Lecturer. He presented a seminar on March 6 entitled, “Development and application of a geminiviral green fluorescent reporter system to study the pathogen-host interaction.” The students hosted a reception at the home of Dr. Pat Okubara following seminar.

Dr. Chang-Lin Xiao to Receive Lee M. Hutchins Award

The American Phytopathological Society recently announced the award for 2006. This is an award to the author or authors of published research on basic or applied aspects of diseases of perennial fruit plants (tree fruits, tree nuts, and small fruits and grapes, including tropical fruits, but excluding vegetables). Dr. Xiao was nominated for his contributions to our understanding of postharvest diseases of apples and pears and in particular the identification of three newly discovered postharvest pathogens of pome fruits. The award consists of a certificate and the annual income of the Lee M. Hutchins Fund bequeathed to the society by Dr. Hutchins.

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