College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

September in the News

Faculty Visits China

Dr. Lori M. Carris recently visited China at the invitation of Dr. Xiang Ping Zhao and Mr. Guoming Huang , Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of the Animal, Plant & Foodstuffs Inspection Centre, Tianjin Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.  Tianjin, in northeastern China, is the sixth largest city in China with a population of 12 million, and includes the major port of Tanggu through which grain and grass seed shipments enter the country.  Quarantine officials and scientists at the Tianjin Bureau have worked with Dr. Carris on identification of smut fungi in wheat and grass seed shipments for the past six years, and their collaborative work has resulted in the description of two new species of smut fungi.  A permanent display in the quarantine bureau describes the significance of this collaboration.  On the recent trip, Dr. Carris conducted a workshop on identification of smut fungi in turf and forage grass seed. Thirty-seven scientists from different quarantine bureaus around China attended the workshop, held on Sept. 20 .  Among those attending the workshop was Dr. Zheng Zhang, a scientist who is well known for her key role in developing diagnostic methods for identifying the quarantine status wheat pathogens Tilletia contraversa and T. indica and re-opening the Chinese market for wheat from the Pacific Northwestern U.S.

Faculty Recognized by National Christmas Tree Association

Dr. Gary Chastagner, Professor of Plant Pathology in our department and located at the WSU Puyallup R and E Center, was awarded the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA)’s Outstanding Service Award at this year’s NCTA Conference in Winston-Salem, NC.

Dr. Chastagner is a world-renowned expert on diseases of Christmas trees and ornamental bulb crops.  His research and extension activities are in the areas of epidemiology and management of Phytophthora ramorum in nurseries, Christmas trees and forests; the etiology, epidemiology and management of ornamental bulb crop and Christmas tree diseases; and factors that affect the postharvest quality of Christmas trees.

A feature on Dr. Chastagner’s award was published in the October 5 edition of WSU Today.

WSU Today Features

Jeremiah Dung, Ph.D. student with Dr. Dennis Johnson, was featured in the September 14 edition of WSU Today for his research on a soil-borne fungus called Verticillium dahliae.

Dr. Naidu Rayapati was featured in the September 24 edition for his ingenious use of FTA Classic Card technology for plant disease diagnosis. This research was also featured in the October 6 edition of On Solid Ground.

Faculty Recognized with Meritorius Service Award

Dr. Gary Grove, Professor in our department, and located at IAREC, Prosser, WA was awarded the Meritorious Service Award by Dr. Dan Bernardo, Dean, College of  Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

This award was given to Dr. Grove in recognition of his service to and leadership of the Director of the AgWeatherNet (AWN) from 2006 to 2010.  In his four years as the director of AWN, Grove converted the hardware to commerically available equipment and expanded the network from 60 to 133 weather stations throughout Washington State.  The stations provide real-time weather and forecast data and various pest models and disease forecasts.  The AWN website receives 400,000 visits per month and uses “push” technologies to deliver weather and pest alerts to smartphones.

Dr. Grove, a native of Ohio, received his B.S. and M.S. in Botany from Ohio University and in 1984 his PhD in Plant Pathology from The Ohio State University.  He held appointments with Rohm and Haas in Fresno, CA and the University California, Davis before joining the faculty at Washington State University in 1986. He was promoted to Professor in 2006. He has statewide responsibilities for grapes, hops, and stone fruits and has a split appointment of extension, research, and teaching.

Besides his exemplary service in his administrative role as the AWN director, Dr. Grove is a leader in the area of biology and epidemiology of powdery mildews and other diseases of fruit crops.  He has received over $3.5 million in competitive and noncompetitive funding. He has published 53 peer reviewed papers, 41 extension bulletins, 33 web pages, 8 educational videos, 7 disease or pesticide data bases, 9 book chapters, 110 technical publications, 13 popular press articles, and given more than 330 invited presentations. His extension and research activities have lead to 73% decrease in fungicide use in Washington vineyards and significant reductions in cherries.

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