WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

May in the News

May in the News

Faculty Member Supports Koppel Farm

Dr. Tim Paulitz was recently featured in an article in the Daily Evergreen on his work with the Koppel Farm. The Pullman Community Gardens is a non-profit group that offers garden plots at Koppel Farms for members of the community. There are approximately 100 plots, mostly 20 X 20 feet, that can be rented for $35.00/year. This garden is all organic, with no pesticides.  The Community Garden is also a partner with the Palouse Food Project.  This coalition of community groups works on problems of hunger and food insecurity in Whitman County.  Students from the WSU Community Learning Center and other courses volunteer to maintain two gardens at Koppel Farm, with the produce going to the Community Action Center Food Bank in Pullman.  Dr. Paulitz serves on the board of both the Community Garden and the Palouse Food Project. See related article in Daily Evergreen.

Faculty Go Back to High School:

Mount Vernon High School held its annual Sci-Tech event on May 18. Dr. Lindsey du Toit and technician Mike Derie set up a plant pathology display with various bacterial and fungal plant pathogens growing in petri dishes: powdery mildew-infected carrot plants; rotten onions infected with Burkholderia cepacia and B. gladioli, with a PCR gel and dark box for students to see DNA from these onion bacterial pathogens; tomato plants infected with crown gall; cabbage plants infected with black rot; and a dissecting microscope for students to view nematodes feeding on Fusarium in a petri dish. Tom Walters, WSU small fruit horticulturist, and Tim Miller, WSU weed scientist, also had displays set up related to their work. Other displays were set up by various colleges, universities, businesses, and science-related organizations to promote science and technology among elementary, middle, and high school students in the county. “It was a fun opportunity to introduce students of all ages to various aspects of plant pathogens and plant diseases,” said Dr. du Toit. see photo 1, photo 2

Travel Update:

Dr. Naidu Rayapati was an invited speaker at a collaborative vegetable research workshop held during May 1-2, 2006, at the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center-The World Vegetable Center, located in Taiwan. The title of his presentation was “Global Partnerships to Tackle Tospovirus Diseases in Vegetables: Challenges and Opportunities.”

Congratulations Graduates!:

Completing degrees during spring semester 2006, are Jessica Gigot, M.S. with Dr. Debra Inglis; Sierra Hartney, M.S. with Dr. Lee Hadwiger; and Bryce Richardson, PhD with Dr. Lori Carris.

New Mycology Journal Pacific Northwest Fungi begins Publication:

The new journal Pacific Northwest Fungi began publication on May 1, 2006.  Pacific Northwest Fungi (http://pnwfungi.org/) is designed specifically for the World Wide Web and benefits from the speed, broad distribution, and low costs inherent in internet publishing.  The journal publishes peer-reviewed papers on all aspects of fungal natural history, ranging from ecology and biogeography to taxonomy, morphology and phylogeny.  Pacific Northwest Fungi is a key component of the effort known as the Pacific Northwest Fungi Project, a multi-state collaboration intended to produce a complete inventory of the region’s fungi.  Information from the journal will be used to update the Pacific Northwest Fungi Database (http://pnwfungi.wsu.edu), a significant online resource for information on the region’s fungi.  The Database is maintained by the Plant Pathology Department at WSU.  Alumni from our department have played important roles in developing the journal – Brenda Callan (Ph.D. 1988) and Frank Dugan (Ph.D. 1992) are members of the Editorial Board, and Dean Glawe (Ph.D. 1982) is the Editor-in-Chief.  For more information, contact Dean Glawe (glawe@wsu.edu).

Travel Grants Received:

Graduate students Marion Andrew and John Goetz are recipients of travel grants from the WSU Graduate School. From the 53 grant requests received, 28 were awarded. Both John and Marion submitted proposals to present their research at the APS/CPS/MSA joint meeting to be held this summer in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

John Goetz was also selected to receive the Don E. Mathre and APS Council Student Travel Award to support his travel to the same meeting.

Research Highlight :

Meet Dr. Gary Chastagner, Scientist and Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology located at the WSU Puyallup Western Washington Research and Extension Center, a plant pathologist whose research focuses on diseases of ornamental bulb crops and Christmas trees, and read about his current research program. (click here)

News from the Teaching Lab:

Advanced Fungal Biology (PlP 526) is a four-credit course offered by Drs. Jack Rogers and Lori Carris during alternate spring semesters.  The course is organized into one interactive lecture/discussion period and two laboratory sessions each week.  The discussion sessions are based on key papers relating to topics selected by the students, who are in charge of leading the discussions.  Examples of the topics selected this semester include calorie restriction mediated life span extension in fungi; species concepts; endophytes; mimicry in plant parasitic fungi; lithotrophic fungi; the frog-killing chytrid; horizontal gene transfer;  and zoospore taxis.  The laboratory focuses on student projects; students selected a project during the first week of class, prepared a project proposal outline, collected data in lab during the semester and presented a written and oral report at the end of the semester.  The student projects for Spring 2006 were: Coprophilous Fungal Diversity in Herbivore Dung (Jaime Cummings); Penicillia Isolated from Roots of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) (John Goetz III); Pullman Lichen Diversity:  Past and Present (Marion Andrew); and Isolation of Entomopathogenic Fungi from Organic, Conventional, Till and No-till Soil using the Galleria mellonella Bait Method (Donna Henderson). [Follows links to view PDF files of the student projects.]

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