WSU-Mount Vernon NW Research Center

Vegetable Seed Pathology Team

VSP Team Members

Vegetable Seed Pathology team members in June 2012

Vegetable Seed Pathology team members in June 2012 (left to right): John Kuhn (WSU undergraduate intern), Lindsey du Toit (Program Director), Avi Alcala (PhD student), Anita Da Costa (undergraduate intern from University of the Free State, South Africa), Mike Derie (Scientific Assistant), Barbara Holmes (Agric. Research Technologist), and Emily Gatch (PhD student). Missing from the photo: Eric Christianson (MS student), Dipak Sharma-Poudyal (Postdoctorate), and Martha Sudermann (undergraduate intern from St. Olaf’s College, MN).

 

VSP Program Director | VSP Technical Staff | Graduate Students | Postdoctorates
Graduate Interns | Undergraduate Interns

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Program Director

Dr. Lindsey du Toit

Lindsey du Toit grew up in KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa, where she completed her undergraduate education at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg (UNP) in 1991 with a major in plant pathology. While at the UNP, Drs. Mike Wallis, Fritz Rijkenberg, and Mark Laing had a wonderful influence on Lindsey’s decision to pursue her education in plant pathology. Lindsey then completed her MS (1995) and PhD (1998) degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), majoring in plant pathology. Her PhD dissertation was on field and epidemiological aspects of common smut of sweet corn caused by Ustilago maydis, under the direction of Dr. Jerald Pataky. During her time in Illinois, Lindsey interned at the Plant Clinic of the UIUC for five growing seasons, supervised by Nancy Pataky. Lindsey’s first position after graduate school was as the diagnostician for the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Lab at the Puyallup Research & Extension Center of Washington State University (WSU), from 1998 to 2000. Lindsey was then hired as an Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist E2 in vegetable seed pathology for WSU in August 2000, based at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. Lindsey was promoted to Associate Professor & Extension Specialist E3 in 2006, and to Professor & Extension Specialist E4 in 2013. The focus of Lindsey’s vegetable seed pathology research and extension program is on the etiology, biology and management of diseases that affect vegetable seed crops grown in the Pacific Northwest USA. Small-seeded vegetable seed crops such as spinach, brassicas, carrot, onion, radish, and table beet are the focus of Lindsey’s program. In 2012, Lindsey started teaching a summer graduate course, Field Plant Pathology (Pl P 525), in the WSU Department of Plant Pathology. Lindsey received the Early Career Award of the Pacific Division of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) in 2006, the WSU Kenneth J. Morrison Extension Award in 2009 for outstanding contributions to the improvement of Washington State’s crop production, the WSU CAHNRS Interdisciplinary Team Award in 2012 for co-leading the Pacific Northwest Vegetable Extension Group (PNW VEG), and the APS Syngenta Award in 2013 for outstanding contribution to research and extension in plant pathology.

 

VSP Technical Staff

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Mike Derie
Scientific Assistant

Mike Derie, a native of Idaho, received his M.S. degree in plant science from the University of Idaho in 1989. He worked for 11 years at the WSU-Puyallup Research and Extension Center as a research technician in the vegetable seed pathology program under Dr. Gabrielson, where he focused on detection and control of black rot in crucifer seed. Mike joined the vegetable pathology program at Mount Vernon in 1997, with responsibility for carrying out laboratory-based research, making disease diagnoses, and helping prepare manuscripts. In March 2001, Mike joined the vegetable seed pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. Mike is responsible for carrying out lab, field, and greenhouse trials on diseases of vegetable seed crops in Washington. Mike also isolates, and helps identify and maintain many vegetable pathogens. In 2006, Mike celebrated his 20th year with WSU! In 2007, Mike was promoted to Scientific Assistant in the vegetable seed pathology program. In 2009, Mike Derie received the Administrative Professional Staff Excellence Award for the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, & Natural Resource Sciences!

Barb Holmes

Barb Holmes Planting Spinach Seed

Barbara Holmes
Agricultural Research Technologist I

Barbara Holmes was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but has lived in Mount Vernon, WA since 1974, where she raised her family and worked in many of the local nurseries and greenhouses. Barbara started working for the Vegetable Seed Pathology program as a temporary employee. In August 2008, Barbara was hired on as a permanent employee in the VSP program as Agricultural Research Technician I. Barbara assists with a wide diversity of field, greenhouse, and lab trials on diseases of vegetable and vegetable seed crops.

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Graduate Students

Sean Mullahy, Eric Christianson, Ana Vida Alcala, Emily Gatch, Maxwell Handiseni, Leigh Ann Harrison, Jaime Cummings, Pablo Hernandez-Perez

Photo of Sean Mullahy

 










 

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Sean Mullahy
2014–2016. M.S. thesis: Management of white mold in sunflower seed crops in the semi-arid Columbia Basin of central Washington

Sean Mullahy was raised in Illinois. He started his college career studying documentary film in the city of Chicago, and ended up completing a B.S. degree in Horticultural Science in the corn fields at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in May 2013. During his first summer at the UIUC, Sean was research assistant and liaison for a pollination study at community gardens in urban Chicago-land. It was during this time that he became interested in scientific research, especially projects with community involvement. Following this, Sean took his first course in plant pathology at the UIUC, which sparked an interest in diagnostics and led him to pursue a part-time position at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic while finishing his B.S. degree. In the Plant Clinic, he worked with the Director, Dr. Suzanne Bissonnette, and the diagnostician, Stephanie Porter. Sean spent his time at the clinic developing diagnostic and educational skills. He also served as a Teaching Assistant for the Introductory Plant Pathology course at the UIUC, developed a tomato fact sheet set (published in spring 2014), and worked on an undergraduate thesis project with mycologist, Dr. Andrew Miller, at the Illinois Natural History Survey, on endophyte systematics in horticultural tree leaves. It was Sean’s enjoyment of working at the clinic and his research experience with Dr. Miller that inspired him to pursue a graduate education in plant pathology. Sean joined Lindsey du Toit’s vegetable seed pathology program in January 2014 as an M.S. student. His thesis project is on investigating the management of white mold in sunflower seed crops in the semi-arid Columbia Basin of central Washington.

 

Photo of Eric Christianson

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Photo of Eric

 

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Eric Christianson
2012–2014: Screening carrot germplasm for resistance to Xanthomonas hortorum pv. carotae.

Eric Christianson is from Burlington, WA where he grew up on an ornamental tree farm.  His interest in vegetable seed production, pathology, and breeding came from his family’s long-time involvement in the vegetable seed industry.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Field Crop Management at Washington State University in May 2012.  In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Eric worked on onion research trials for Rich Pollard and Brandon Kania at Bejo Seeds, Inc. in the Columbia Basin of central Washington and Oregon.  It was during this time with Bejo that Eric developed a strong interest in plant genetics, breeding, and pathology.  From spring 2011 to spring 2012 at WSU, Eric worked in Dr. Laura Lavine’s entomology lab on insecticide cross resistance in the western flower thrips.  His work in Dr. Lavine’s lab led to his interest in continuing his education beyond a Bachelor’s degree.  During the summer of 2012, after graduating from WSU, Eric had the unique experience of traveling to Rwanda.  Along with four other WSU students and leaders, Dr. Kim Kidwell and Colleen Taugher, he helped bring agricultural innovations like food dehydration, mushroom production, composting, and eco-latrines to the small rural town of Gashora. Seeing crop production in a developing country further stimulated Eric’s fascination with plant breeding, pathology, and production. In August 2012, Eric started his MS project with Dr. Lindsey du Toit at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC, co-advised by Dr. Steve Jones, plant breeder in the Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences. Eric’s research project is on screening the carrot (Daucus carota) germplasm for resistance to Xanthomonas hortorum pv. carotae, causal agent of bacterial blight.

Publications from MS program:

Christianson, C.E., Jones, S.J., and du Toit, L.J. 2013. Screening for resistance to Xanthomonas hortorum pv. carotae in Daucus carota. Poster presented at the 36th International Carrot Conference, 15–16 August 2013, Madison, WI.

 

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Photo of Ana Vida and others

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Ana Vida Alcala
2009–2013 PhD dissertation: Management of seedling blights in organic vegetable production in the Pacific Northwest

Ana Vida was born and raised in a small town in the Philippines. Being in an agricultural country, she decided to pursue a BS degree in agriculture followed by an MS in Plant Pathology from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños. Avi worked particularly on the control of a postharvest disease caused by Colletotricum gloeosporioides on mango (Mangifera indica) for her Master’s thesis. Afterwards, Avi pursued a career in research working on biological control of soilborne diseases of vegetables in the tropics, and management of postharvest diseases of paddy rice at the Philippine Rice Research Institute. Avi’s desire to further equip herself in her chosen field of study led her to go back to university for a PhD degree. Ana Vida started her PhD program in the WSU Dept. of Plant Pathology in January 2009, with her research project based out of the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC where she worked with Dr. Lindsey du Toit on evaluation of seed and drench treatments for organic vegetable production in the Pacific Northwest. Avi successfully defended her dissertation in the Vegetable Seed Pathology program on 22 May 2013, and started a position in June 2013 as a Research Scientist with Valent USA working on seed treatments at the Valent Mississippi Research Center in Leland, MS.

Publications from PhD program:

Alcala, A.C. 2013. Management of damping-off caused by Pythium spp. in organic vegetable production in the Pacific Northwest. PhD Dissertation, Washington State University Department of Plant Pathology, Pullman, WA.

Alcala et al. 2013. Evaluation of seed treatments and priming for controlling damping-off in organic pea crops in the semiarid Columbia Basin and maritime Skagit Valley of Washington, 2012. Plant Disease Management Reports 7:ST001.

Alcala et al. 2013. Evaluation of priming and Nordox seed treatment for controlling damping-off in organic pea crops in central Washington, 2012. Plant Disease Management Reports 7:ST002.

Alcala, A.C., Derie, M.L., Holmes, B., Gatch, E.W., Porter, L.D., Coffman, G., and du Toit, L.J. 2012. Evaluation of organic seed and drench treatments for controlling damping-off in pea and sweet corn in Mount Vernon, WA, 2011. Plant Disease Management Reports 6:ST011.

Alcala, A.C., Derie, M.L., Holmes, B., Gatch, E.W., Porter, L.D., Coffman, G., and du Toit, L.J. 2012. Evaluation of organic seed and drench treatments for controlling damping-off in organic pea crops in the semi-arid Columbia Basin of Oregon and Washington, 2011. Plant Disease Management Reports 6:ST012.

A. C. Alcala, T. C. Paulitz, L. D. Porter, and L. J. du Toit. 2011. Profile of Pythium spp. in certified organic fields for vegetable production in central Washington. Phytopathology 101:S4 (abstract of poster presented at the 2011 APS meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii). http://www.apsnet.org/meetings/Documents/2011_Meeting_Abstracts/a11ma21.htm

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Gatch, E.W., Alcala, A.C., Reed, K., and Holmes, B.J. 2011. Effect of agricultural limestone amendment on Fusarium wilt in a radish seed crop, 2010. Plant Disease Management Reports 5:ST001.

Aclala, A., and du Toit, L.J. 2009. Management of damping-off in organic vegetable crops in the Pacific Northwest. Sustaining the Pacific Northwest 7(4):5-7

 

 

 

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Emily Gatch (front) and Barb Holmes (back)

 

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Emily Gatch
2008–2013 PhD dissertation: Management of Fusarium wilt and Verticillium wilt in spinach seed crops in the maritime Pacific Northwest USA

Emily Gatch grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa, and had an early introduction to the world of seed through summer jobs detassling corn and working for a prairie seed company. Emily obtained a B.S. in biology from Harvard University, followed by an M.S. in plant pathology at Iowa State University in the lab of Dr. Gary Munkvold. Emily’s thesis project examined the interaction of Bt corn hybrids and stalk rot, caused by a complex of fungal pathogens that includes several species of Fusarium. After finishing her degree in 2001, Emily worked for three years as a research associate at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center, reporting to both the horticulturalist and plant pathologist in the vegetable crops division. This exposure to crops such as tomatoes, snap beans, summer squash and pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and southern peas was a revelation for Emily, who became a specialty-crops devotee and pursued this interest to the far reaches of New Mexico, where she accepted a position as greenhouse and pathology coordinator at the research farm of Seeds of Change, an organic vegetable, herb, and flower seed company. In her efforts to assess and manage seedborne disease challenges for the company, Emily became aware of the research program of Dr. Lindsey du Toit, and joined Lindsey’s her lab at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC as a Ph.D student in August 2008, investigating management strategies for control of Fusarium wilt in spinach seed crops. Emily successfully defended her dissertation on 17 July 2013. In 2014, Emily started teaching a course in agroecology at Edmonds Community College in Seattle, WA.

Publications from PhD program:

Gatch, E.W. 2013. Management of Fusarium wilt in spinach seed crops in the maritime Pacific Northwest USA. PhD Dissertation, Washington State University Department of Plant Pathology, Pullman, WA. 305 pp.

Okubara, P. A., Harrison, L. A., Gatch, E. W., Vandemark, G., Schroeder, K. L., and du Toit, L. J. 2013. Development and evaluation of a TaqMan real-time PCR assay for Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae. Plant Disease 97:927-937.

Gatch, E.W., and du Toit, L.J. 2012. Effects of micronutrients on Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae and limestone-mediated suppression of spinach Fusarium wilt. Phytopathology 102:S4.43. Poster presentation, 2012 APS Annual Meeting, 4–8 Aug. 2012, Providence, RI.

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Gatch, E.W., Alcala, A.C., Reed, K., and Holmes, B.J. 2011. Effect of agricultural limestone amendment on Fusarium wilt in a radish seed crop, 2010. Plant Disease Management Reports 5:ST001.

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Gatch, E.W., Brissey, L.M., and Holmes, B. 2011. Effect of agricultural limestone amendments on Fusarium and Verticillium wilts in a spinach seed crop, 2008. Plant Disease Management Reports 5:V117.

Gatch, E.W., Derie, M.L., Brissey, L.M., Holmes, B.J., and du Toit, L.J. 2011. Effect of agricultural limestone amendments and nitrogen source on Fusarium wilt in a spinach seed crop, 2009. Plant Disease Management Reports 5:V118.

Gatch, E.W., and du Toit, L.J. 2011. Managing Fusarium wilt in spinach seed crops using limestone and a soil bioassay. Abstract of presentation at the 2010 APS Pacific Division/CPS annual meeting, Vancouver, BC. Phytopathology 101:S248. 2010 APS Pacific Division/CPS annual meeting, Vancouver, BC. http://www.apsnet.org/members/divisions/pac/meetings/Pages/2010MeetingAbstracts.aspx.

Dung, J.K., du Toit, L.J., Gatch, E.W., and Johnson, D.A. 2011. Cross-pathogenicity of Verticillium dahliae isolates from skullcap and peppermint. Abstract of presentation at the 2010 APS Pacific Division/Canadian Phytopathological Society annual meeting, Vancouver, BC. Phytopathology 101:S247. 2010 APS Pacific Division/Canadian Phytopathological (CPS) annual meeting, Vancouver, BC. http://www.apsnet.org/members/divisions/pac/meetings/Pages/2010MeetingAbstracts.aspx.

du Toit, L.J., and Gatch, E.W. 2009. Increasing the capacity for spinach seed production in the United States by promoting soil suppression of Fusarium wilt. The Western Front, October 2009: Page 7 (Western Integrated Pest Management Center).

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Brissey, L.M., Holmes, B., and Gatch, E. 2009. Evaluation of seed treatments for management of seedborne Verticillium in spinach, 2008. Plant Disease Management Reports 3:ST020.


du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Brissey, L.M., Holmes, B., Twomey, M., and Gatch, E. 2009. Evaluation of seed treatments for soilborne damping-off pathogens and seedborne fungi of onion, 2008. Plant Disease Management Reports 3:ST021.

 

Video on Gatch’s PhD program:
“Keeping the Fields Green: Researching Diseases of Spinach Seed Plants”
In this video produced by Washington State University, Emily Gatch and Kirby Johnson (President of the Puget Sound Seed Growers’ Association) describe the importance to the spinach seed industry in Washington State of Emily Gatch’s PhD research project on management of Fusarium wilt in spinach seed crops: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYQHVk5QIPI

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Maxwell Handiseni

2010-2011 PhD dissertation: Management of Rhizoctonia in onion and pea crops in the Columbia Basin of Washington

Maxwell Handiseni was born in Murewa, Zimbabwe and grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe. He received his primary and high school education in Harare before starting a BS degree in Agriculture and Natural Resources at Africa University in eastern Zimbabwe in 1996. After graduating with a BS degree in 2000, Maxwell returned to Harare where he was awarded a Rockefeller Studentship to study for a Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in crop protection. His research focus was on identifying alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation in Capsicum annuum cropping systems. After graduating with his MPhil degree in 2003, Maxwell was hired as a Plant Pathology Research Associate at the Tobacco Research Station in Harare for a year. In 2004, Maxwell joined the Midlands State University in the Zimbabwe Department of Horticulture as a lecturer. In August 2007, Maxwell enrolled as an MS student in Plant Sciences at the University of Idaho in the Canola, Rapeseed and Mustard Breeding program of Dr. Jack Brown. Maxwell’s MS research project focused on evaluation of Brassica seed meals as biofumigants to manage weeds, Rhizoctonia solani AG-8 and Pythium ultimum. He completed his MS degree in December 2009 (link to Maxwell’s MS thesis). Maxwell continued to work for Dr. Brown until mid-April 2010, when he joined the WSU Vegetable Seed Pathology program of Dr. Lindsey du Toit to work that season on a research project on Rhizoctonia in onion bulb crops in the Columbia Basin of Washington State. This project was a collaborative effort with Dr. Tim Paulitz in the USDA-ARS Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit in Pullman, WA (http://plantpath.wsu.edu/people/faculty/paulitz.htm). In 2010, Lindsey received funding from the WA State Dept. of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant that enabled Maxwell to enroll in a PhD program in the WSU Dept. of Plant Pathology, to continue with the onion Rhizoctonia project for his disseration. Maxwell was also looking at the effects of this pathogen on pea crops in central Washington. Lindsey and Tim co-advised Maxwell. Maxwell continued to work for Dr. Brown until April 2010, when he joined the WSU Vegetable Seed Pathology program of Dr. Lindsey du Toit to work  on a research project on Rhizoctonia in onion bulb crops in the Columbia Basin of Washington State, in collaboration with Dr. Tim Paulitz, USDA-ARS Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit in Pullman, WA (http://plantpath.wsu.edu/people/faculty/paulitz.htm). In 2010, Lindsey received funding from the WA State Dept. of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant that enabled Maxwell to enroll in a PhD program with the onion Rhizoctonia project for his dissertation. Maxwell left WSU in June 2011.

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Leigh Ann Harrison
2007 PhD dissertation: Management of Fusarium wilt in spinach seed production

Leigh Ann was born in Odessa, TX, and lived in TX for 10 years, in France for 2 years, and in South Carolina for 12 years. In May 2004, Leigh Ann received a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, where she earned four varsity letters as a member of the Lady Tiger soccer team. As an undergraduate in 2002, Leigh Ann was a member of the Cornell University Food Science Scholar Program under the supervision of Dr. Dennis Miller, in which she worked on a project assessing bioavailability of iron powders intended for bread fortification. Leigh Ann's undergraduate senior research project at Clemson, with Drs. Steve Jeffers and Melissa Riley, dealt with analyzing and developing fatty acid methyl ester profiles for Phytophthora cactorum. From July 2004 to October 2006, Leigh Ann did an MS degree in the WSU Department of Plant Pathology under the supervision of Dr. Tim Murray. Leigh Ann's MS project was on the epidemiology of Wheat streak mosaic virus in perennial wheat, and screening for potential resistance to the virus in perennial wheat lines. Leigh Ann started a PhD degree in the same department in spring 2007 with Dr. Lindsey du Toit's program. Leigh Ann's PhD dissertation research was on management of Fusarium wilt in spinach seed production. In September 2007, Leigh Ann transferred to a PhD program at Virginia Tech. After Leigh Ann completed her PhD, she was hired in the Monsanto soybean pathology program at St. Louis, MO.

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vsp team

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Jaime Cummings
2005 - 2007 MS thesis: Evaluation of organic seed treatments for control of seedling blight/damping-off pathogens of spinach.

Jaime was born in Binghamton, NY, and lived in NY for 20 years. Jaime attended Broome Community College to earn an A.S. degree in December 2002, with a focus on biology/chemistry. Jaime then attended the State University of West Georgia, where she completed courses towards her A.S., and focused on Spanish language studies. Jaime attended school in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico for the summer of 2000-2001 - Jaime has completed 6 years of Spanish in high school, and 12 credits of Spanish at university level! She then earned a BS degree in wildlife biology/environmental forest biology in May 2004 from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. In 2004, Jaime ventured to the Amazon rainforest of Brasil to work on a tropical wildlife research project, followed by a position as research assistant on a small mammal research project at Virginia Tech, WV. Jaime worked as an outdoor environmental educator/naturalist, teaching biology and ecology courses to adults and children in 2004-2005. This was followed by a position in VA as a research assistant on a ground-nesting waterfowl research project for the College of William and Mary in 2005. Jaime completed her MS degree in the WSU Department of Plant Pathology from July 2005 to December 2007, working in Lindsey du Toit's vegetable seed pathology program for her thesis project. Jaime worked for Dr. Carol Miles in the vegetable horticulture program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC in the spring and summer of 2008. In fall 2008, Jaime accepted a position as a soybean pathologist at the St. Louis, MO headquarters for Monsanto.

Publications from MS program:
Cummings, J.A., Miles, C.A., and du Toit, L.J. 2009. Greenhouse evaluation of seed and drench treatments for organic management of damping-off and seedling blight pathogens of spinach. Plant Disease 93:1281-1292.

Cummings, J.A., du Toit, L.J., and Miles, C.A. 2008. Evaluation of seed and drench treatments for organic management of soilborne diseases of spinach in western WA. Plant Disease Management Reports 2:V134.

Cummings, J.A., du Toit, L.J., and Miles, C.A. 2008. Evaluation of seed and drench treatments for organic management of soilborne diseases of spinach in Sequim, WA. Plant Disease Management Reports 2:V133.

Cummings, J.A. 2007. Evaluation of seed and drench treatments for management of damping-off and seedling blight pathogens of spinach for organic production. MS thesis, Washington State University, Department of Plant Pathology.

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Brissey, L.M., & Cummings, J.A. 2007. Evaluation of limestone amendments for control of Fusarium wilt in a spinach seed crop, 2006. Plant Disease Management Reports 1:V091.

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Pablo Hernandez-Perez

2002 - 2005 MS thesis: Management of seedborne Stemphylium botryosum and Cladosporium variabile causing leaf spot of spinach seed crops in western Washington.

Pablo H. Palmández (previously Pablo Hernández Pérez) was born in Nayarit, Mexico. In 1990, he graduated from Universidad Autónoma Chapingo (Mexico), where he studied the equivalent of a B.S. in agronomy with an emphasis in agricultural parasitology. His undergraduate thesis was titled: Exploración competitiva entre la maleza y el cultivo del rabanito (Raphanus sativus minor L.) en Chapingo, Mexico (Study of competition between weeds and radishes (Raphanus sativus minor L.) in Chapingo, Mexico). Pablo studied English as a second language in Los Angeles, CA and in Yakima, Washington. In 1994, Pablo received a contract from the Plant Health Headquarters of the National Health, Food Safety and Quality Service of Mexico. He was sent to Washington State in 1995 by the Plant Health Headquarters to oversee adherence to the Work Plan for Apple Exportation from the United State to Mexico. In 1998, Pablo was contracted to work with the Washington State Horticultural Association as Scouting Coordinator for the Washington Pear IPM Project. Pablo received an M.S. degree in plant pathology from Washington State University in 2005 under the supervision of Dr. Lindsey du Toit. His M.S. thesis was entitled: Management of seedborne Stemphylium botryosum and Cladosporium variabile causing leaf spot of spinach seed crops in Western Washington. Pablo is a certified Spanish/English interpreter in Washington. He participated in the Spanish translation of the Orchard Monitoring Manual for Pests, Natural Enemies, and Diseases of Apple, Pear and Cherry, an illustrated guide for Washington State, compiled by Naná Simone. Pablo worked in insect genetics at the USDA ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory in Wapato, WA, and then accepted a position with the USDA APHIS at the Port of Seattle, WA in 2007.

Publications from MS program:
Hernandez-Perez, P., and du Toit, L.J. 2006. Seedborne Cladosporium variabile and Stemphylium botryosum in spinach. Plant Disease 90:137-145.

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., and Hernandez-Perez, P. 2005. Verticillium wilt in spinach seed production. Plant Disease 89:4-11.

du Toit, L.J., and Hernandez-Perez, P. 2005. Efficacy of hot water and chlorine for eradication of Cladosporium variabile, Stemphylium botryosum, and Verticillium dahliae from spinach seed. Plant Disease 89:1305-1312.

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., and Hernandez-Perez, P. 2005. Evaluation of fungicides for control of leaf spot in spinach seed crops, 2004. Fungicide &Nematicide Tests 60:V044.

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., and Hernandez-Perez, P. 2005. Evaluation of yield loss caused by leaf spot fungi in spinach seed crops, 2004. Fungicide &Nematicide Tests 60:V047.

du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., and Hernandez-Perez, P. 2004. Evaluation of fungicides for control of leaf spot in spinach seed crops, 2003. Fungicide &Nematicide Tests 59:V115.

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Dipak Sharma-Poudyal
Postdoctorate since May 2012. Project: Management of stunting in onion bulb crops in the Pacific Northwest caused by Rhizoctonia.

Dipak Sharma-Poudyal grew up in Chitwan, Nepal.  He received his BS degree in Agricultural Science in 1998 and an MS degree in Plant Pathology in 2001 from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.  His MS research was on rice root knot nematode, and his thesis was entitled “The Rice Root Knot Nematode: Its Impact on Rice-Wheat System of Nepal”.  Dipak then worked as a lecturer in the Department of Plant Pathology, Rampur Campus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal from 2001 to 2007.  During this period he carried out research on wheat and rice diseases.  Dipak joined the lab of Dr. Xianming Chen at Washington State University in Pullman, WA in August 2007 as a PhD student. He completed his PhD research in spring 2012 on the “Prediction of disease damage, determination of pathogen survival regions, and characterization of international collections of wheat stripe rust.”  In May 2012, Dipak started as a postdoctoral research associate at Washington State University with Drs. Lindsey du Toit and Tim Paulitz.  His postdoctorate project is on the epidemiology and management of Rhizoctonia in onion and pea cropping systems in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon States.

Publications from postdoctorate:

Poudyal, D.S., Paulitz, T., Porter, L., Eggers, J., Hamm, P., and du Toit, L.J. 2013. Effect of timing of glyphosate application to a winter cover crop on stunting of spring-sown onions caused by Rhizoctonia spp. in the Columbia Basin of Washington, 2012. Plant Disease Management Reports 7:V046.

Poudyal, D.S., Paulitz, T., Porter, L., Eggers, J., Hamm, P., and du Toit, L.J. 2013. Efficacy of fungicides to manage onion stunting caused by Rhizoctonia spp. in the Columbia Basin of Oregon and Washington, 2011–2012. Plant Disease Management Reports 7:V047.

Poudyal, D.S., Paulitz, T., Porter, L., Eggers, J., Hamm, P., and du Toit, L.J. 2013. Yield responses of three onion cultivars to stunting caused by Rhizoctonia spp. in the Columbia Basin of Oregon and Washington, 2012. Plant Disease Management Reports 7:V048.

du Toit, L.J., Poudyal, D.S., Paulitz, T., Porter, L., Eggers, J., and Hamm, P. 2012. Onion stunting caused by Rhizoctonia: Management and economic importance in the Columbia Basin of Oregon and Washington. National Allium Research Conference, 12-14 Dec. 2012, Las Cruces, NM.

du Toit, L.J., Poudyal, D., Paulitz, T., Porter, L., Hamm, P., and Eggers, J. Rhizoctonia seedling blight of onion crops in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon. Handout at WSU Onion Field Day, 30 August 2012, L&L Farms, Connell, WA.

 

 

 

 

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Martin Chilvers
2002-2003 Postdoctorate project: Development of a real-time PCR seed assay for Botrytis spp. associated with neck rot of onion.

Martin Chilvers grew up in Tasmania, Australia, where he received a B.S. degree in agriculture, with honors in plant pathology (1998), from the University of Tasmania. In 2003, Martin received a Ph.D. degree in plant pathology from the University of Tasmania under Drs. Frank Hay and Calum Wilson. His PhD dissertation was entitled "Epidemiology of Botrytis spp. associated with neck rot of onion in northern Tasmania, Australia." In December 2003, Martin took a research associate position at Washington State University co-supervised by Drs. Lindsey du Toit and Tobin Peever in Pullman, WA. The project was focused on development of a real-time quantitative PCR assay for detection of neck rot Botrytis spp. associated with onion seed. Martin worked as a research associate for Dr. Tobin Peever from 2005-2007 at WSU, investigating various aspects of Ascochyta (Didymella) host specificity, epidemiology and genetics on chickpea. In 2007-08, Martin worked with Dr. Weidong Chen at the USDA ARS on the WSU Pullman campus, on Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in chickpea. In 2008, Marty moved to Michigan State University where he works as a Field Crops Pathologist/Assistant Professor.

Publications from postdoctorate:
Chilvers, M.I., du Toit L.J., Akamatsu, H., and Peever, T.L. 2007. A real-time, quantitative PCR seed assay for Botrytis spp. that cause neck rot of onion. Plant Disease 91:599-608.

Chilvers, M.I., and du Toit L.J. 2006. Detection and identification of Botrytis species associated with neck rot, scape blight, and umbel blight of onion. Plant Health Progress: doi:10.1094/PHP-2006-1127-01-DG.

Chilvers, M.I., du Toit, L.J., and Peever, T.L. 2005. RFLP differentiation of neck rot Botrytis spp. present in onion seed crops in Washington State, and development of a real-time PCR assay for detection of these fungi in onion seed. 23rd Fungal Genetics Conference, 15-20 March 2005, Pacific Grove, CA.

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Graduate Interns

Megan Twomey taking data in a spinach seed crop field trial in the summer of 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megan Twomey, Washington State University
(summer 2008 intern)

Megan Twomey completed an internship with the WSU Vegetable Seed Pathology program in summer 2008, while working on her MS degree in biology from Western Washington University (WWU) with a focus on molecular biology. Megan's MS thesis work involved isolating and characterizing a cDNA encoding a proline-rich protein involved in pollen tube growth and self-incompatibility. Megan was interested in working in the VSP program to gain experience in an applied research program. As a result of her work with the VSP program, Megan developed an interest in plant pathology. After her MS degree at WWU, Megan worked at Hopsteiner, SS Steiner Inc. in Yakima, WA from 2009 to 2011 where she was involved in research on screening hop populations for disease resistance for crop improvement, as well as development of new medicinal products from hops using a systems biology approach. In 2011, Megan took a position as Faculty Research Assistant with Dr. David Gent, Plant Pathologist with the USDA ARS in Corvallis, OR and Associate Professor with the Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University.


Publications from this internship:
du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Brissey, L.M., Holmes, B., Twomey, M., and Gatch, E. 2009. Evaluation of seed treatments for soilborne damping-off pathogens and seedborne fungi of onion, 2008. Plant Disease Management Reports 3:ST021.

 

 

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Undergraduate Interns

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Ed Thomas, Washington State University
(summer 2013 intern)

Ed Thomas grew up in Las Vegas, NV in the Mojave Desert. Living in the Mojave Desert was difficult for his love of plants. For a number of years, Ed worked in landscaping and received multiple certifications in arboriculture and irrigation, but had a strong desire to learn more about plants. He transferred from the College of Southern Nevada to Washington State University in 2012, where he enrolled in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) in the Integrated Plant Sciences program. After the first time damping-off killed some of Ed’s seedlings, he developed a desire to learn more about plant pathogens. During a crop sciences class in fall 2012, Ed heard Dr. Lindsey du Toit give a guest lecture on seed production and plant pathology. Dr. du Toit’s knowledge of and enthusiasm for plant pathology inspired Ed to inquire about an internship in plant pathology. This led to Ed working part-time with Dr. Dipak Sharma Poudyal as an undergraduate student during spring semester of 2013. Ed assisted with research on onion and pea stunting caused by Rhizoctonia species. He gained experience with Rhizoctonia isolate maintenance, inoculum production, and plant inoculations. Thanks to a summer 2013 internship funded in part by WSU CAHNRS, Ed continued working on this project in fall–winter 2013–14, which presented an excellent opportunity to acquire further knowledge and skill in applied plant pathology.

Publications from Ed’s internship:
Thomas, E. Final Internship Report, August 2013. Research on Rhizoctonia infection in onion and pea crops in the Pacific Northwest USA.


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John Kuhn, Washington State University
(summer 2012 intern)

John Kuhn grew up in Rosalia, WA working on local farms and participating in his high school FFA (Future Farmers of America) organization. For an FFA project, he learned about plant breeding and basic plant science. This sparked a new interest, and John enrolled at Washington State University to study Biotechnology in the Department of Crops and Soil Sciences. John has worked in the Winter Wheat Genetics Lab of Dr. Arron Carter for several years, helping with marker-assisted selection and tissue culturing. John was taking an Agricultural Food Systems class (AFS 101) in fall 2011, in which a guest lecture from Dr. Lindsey du Toit introduced him to the world of plant pathology. John applied for a WSU Translational Internship with Dr. du Toit in her Vegetable Seed Pathology program through the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. This internship enabled John to take on a research project for his internship, in collaboration with other public and private scientists.

Bob Hoffman interviews John Kuhn.

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Martha Sudermann, St. Olaf College, Minnesota
(summer 2012 intern)

Martha Sudermann grew up in Northfield, MN, where she now attends St. Olaf College. Prior to college, Martha took a ‘gap year’ as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Sweden in 2010-2011. She attended a Swedish high school, assisted a group of small scouts each week, and travelled up to the far reaches of northern Sweden and around Europe. Her third host family in Sweden lived on a small farm, where Martha enjoyed exploring the rolling farmland and meadows. During her free moments, Martha helped around the farm, assisting her host sister lift hay bales on a trailer and feed cattle, and she had a tractor-driving lesson from her host father. During high school, Martha worked at a small fruit farm, mainly picking strawberries, raspberries, weeding, and watering small apple trees. Martha is interested in biology, math, and anthropology. The WSU internship provides an intersection between Martha’s interests in biology and food production, and the chance to gain experience at a university research center to complement her classroom education.

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Anita Da Costa, University of the Free State, South Africa
(summer 2012 intern)

Anita da Costa was born and raised in a small town in Gauteng Province, South Africa, on her father’s carrot farm, Greenway Farm. She was exposed to many aspects of agriculture by living on a farm, including plant diseases. Anita decided to pursue a B.Sc. degree in agriculture, and enrolled in the Department of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State, South Africa, in a three-year degree with a major in plant health. In addition, Anita worked part-time for the Department of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State as a lab assistant, where she learned about plant pathology. Anita was inspired to study plant pathology after meeting Dr. Lindsey du Toit at the 35th International Carrot Conference, held in South Africa on 30 November – 2 December 2011, where Lindsey was a guest speaker. Anita enquired about completing an internship in Lindsey’s Vegetable Seed Pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC, to learn about applied plant pathology. She completed a 4 week internship in Lindsey’s program in June–July 2012. Anita completed her B.Sc. degree in 2013, and enrolled in a B.S. Honours course in plant pathology at the University of the Free State in 2014.

 




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Katie Reed, Washington State University
(2009–10 intern)

Katie Reed began working in the Vegetable Seed Pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC in the summer of 2009. Katie grew up in Burlington Edison where she has been an active member in the community. Katie worked as an intern for Skagit Wholesale Nursery and helped out in the fall at Merrits Apple Orchard. Her interest in plants first sprouted as she became involved in FFA through the Horticulture Team at Burlington Edison High School, where in her final year their team won the state award. During her senior year of high school, Katie did a one-day Job Shadow in Dr. Lindsey du Toit’s Vegetable Seed Pathology program, where she was introduced to the field of plant pathology. Katie then followed her interest for plants to Washington State University where she obtained a B.S. in Crop Science. During her freshman year at WSU, Katie worked alongside Dr. Pat Okubara, USDA ARS, extracting DNA from soil samples, and Dr. Lori Carris, WSU mycologist, identifying fungi she had isolated from spinach plants. Katie’s opportunity to work in these labs as well as Dr. du Toit’s lab in summer 2009 was part of a WSU Translational Internship she received from WSU Associate Dean, Dr. Kim Kidwell, to expose undergraduate students to research labs (http://academic.cahnrs.wsu.edu/archive/2010/06-transitional-internships.html). Katie has always had an interest in a wide variety of fields in agriculture, and was pleased to continue her education and training in agriculture in the Vegetable Seed Pathology program in 2010 to gain more knowledge of agriculture. In 2010, Katie received a scholarship from the Skagit Men’s Garden Club. Katie graduated from WSU in December 2012 with a BS degree in Integrated Plant Sciences, with an emphasis in Field Crop Management Systems. In 2013, Katie enrolled in an MS program at the University of Idaho Plant Sciences program, working with Prof. Jack Brown on canola production in northern Idaho.

Publications from this internship: du Toit, L.J., Derie, M.L., Gatch, E.W., Alcala, A.C., Reed, K., and Holmes, B.J. 2011. Effect of agricultural limestone amendment on Fusarium wilt in a radish seed crop, 2010. Plant Disease Management Reports 5:ST001.

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Cynthia Hansen, Western Washington University
(summer 2007 intern)

Cynthia Hansen grew up in Bozeman, Montana and Fort Collins, Colorado. Having left the hot, dry summers of the Rocky Mountain west for the more temperate climate of Bellingham, Cynthia graduated 'magna cum laude' from Western Washington University in June 2008, with a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology/ Biochemistry. Cynthia completed an internship with the WSU Vegetable Seed Pathology program in the summer of 2007, and expressed interest in continuing her studies with a graduate degree in plant sciences. Cynthia's 2007 internship report can be viewed here. Cynthia completed a year as an Americorps Research & Monitoring Assistant with the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Mount Vernon, WA in 2008-09. In 2010, Cynthia enrolled in a graduate program in the Dept. of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University.

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Alyse Douglas, Western Washington University
(summer 2007 intern)

Alyse was born in 1986 and raised in North Bend, Washington, where she attended Mount Si High School. Alyse also lived in California and Hawaii. Alyse graduated in 2007 at Western Washington University (WWU) where she earned a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology, with a minor in Chemistry. Alyse spent two years doing organic chemistry research with Dr. Kriz at WWU, and completed a year as a Fellow Scientist for the GK-12 Catalysts for Reform project, where she helped create and implement an enquiry-based 6th grade science curriculum at Nooksack Valley Middle School. Alyse completed an internship at WWU in conjunction with the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC, under the co-supervision of Dr. Marion Brodhagon (WWU molecular biologist), Dr. Lindsey du Toit (WSU vegetable seed pathologist), and Mike Derie (WSU agricultural research technologist). The internship project was on developing a quantitative molecular detection assay for Xanthomonas campestris pv. carotae, causal agent of bacterial blight of carrot, that differentiates DNA from viable (live) vs. nonviable (dead) cells of the pathogen. The internship was funded by the California Fresh Carrot Advisory Board. Alyse went into a graduate education in infectious disease.

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Jules Riske, Evergreen State College (spring 2007 intern)

Jules Riske grew up in rural northern California, and then moved to Rockport, Washington in eastern Skagit Co. At home with rough mountains and river canyons, she never thought about farming until she discovered the luscious, fertile Skagit River Valley. Having grown up in her father’s multi-acre garden and orchard, farming was as comfortable as an old pair of Carhartts. Jules studied at the Evergreen State College, and graduated with a degree in Ecological Agriculture in 2007. She interned and then worked for Anne Schwartz, owner of Blue Heron Farm and Nursery in Rockport, WA. Jules serves on the board of the Tilth Producers of Washington and served as secretary for the Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market board. Jules completed an 8-week internship in the Vegetable Seed Pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC during April and May 2007, assisting with field, greenhouse, and lab research on vegetable seed crop diseases. Jules then worked for Osborne International Seed Co. in Mount Vernon, WA and, in her spare time, helped out at Hedlin Farms in La Conner, WA. In December 2013, Jules was hired as Organic Inspector with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Coen de Jong, Van Hall Institute in Leeuwaarden,
the Netherlands (fall 2006 intern)

Nicolaas Coen de Jong was born in Zuidbroek, the Netherlands, where his parents raise spinach stock seed in a greenhouse. Coen graduated from high school in 2005, and started college that year at the Van Hall Larenstein Institute, an agricultural college in the city of Leeuwaarden, the Netherlands. At the end of his first year of college, Coen completed a 10 week internship at Pop Vriend Seeds B.V. in Andijk, the Netherlands, where he worked primarily on parental lines in spinach seed production. Coen likes to work in his spare time, and has spent 5 years working part-time at Aardse Orchids B.V., a company that produces orchids in greenhouses. Coen completed a 9 week internship in the Vegetable Seed Pathology program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC in the fall of 2006, assisting with field, greenhouse, and lab research on vegetable seed crop diseases.

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Blair Baber, Western Washington University
(summer 2005 intern)

Blair Baber graduated from Western Washington University in December of 2006. At Western, he earned a B.S. degree in cellular biology with a minor in chemistry. As part of Blair's degree, he completed an internship in the WSU vegetable seed pathology (VSP) program from June to November 2005. His main contribution in the VSP program was providing lab assistance for the onion Iris Yellow Spot Virus and carrot seed bacterial blight studies. Currently, Blair is working for US Biotek Laboratories in North Seattle as a lab technician. US BioTek uses ELISA (Enzyme-Linked-Immunosorbent-Assay) methods to identify and quantify IgG and IgE antibodies in human responses to foods, inhalants, herbs and spices.

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Michael Picha, WSU (summer 2001 intern)

Michael Picha grew-up in Burlington, WA, and graduated from Washington State University in 2004 with a B.S. degree in Crop Science (specialty in turf management). Michael completed an internship in the WSU vegetable seed pathology program in the summer of 2001, during which time he took responsibility for a fungicide trial for control of Stemphylium and Cladosporium leaf spots in spinach seed crops. After graduation from WSU, Michael worked as Assistant Superintendent at the Glacier Club Golf Course in Durango, Colorado. Michael held various golf course construction jobs before serving as a volunteer in Ecuador where he participated in an ecological project to clean up an old dump site. He then returned to western Washington to work in the vineyard at Mt. Baker Winery in Everson, WA.  In 2009, Michael was hired by Vikima USA as a vegetable seed production assistant for northwestern Washington.

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