Research

A major research goal in my lab is to understand the epidemiology and population biology of Oomycete plant pathogens in the genus Phytophthora. We study the population genetics and migrations of both historic and present day strains of the pathogen, the causal agent of potato and tomato late blight. My lab was part of a multi-investigator group that sequenced the genome of the pathogen. We are now using the genome sequence to develop novel strategies for managing disease in the field. We have developed both conventional and real time PCR methods of identification of the pathogen. We have also named the most recent genotypes of the pathogen in the United States and are developing phenotype data including baseline fungicide sensitivity data for these recently emerged strains. We have also developed rapid diagnostics technologies for identification of Phytophthora species, and a matric-based Lucid key for the identification of common species in the genus (available from APS Press). We conduct International Phytophthora diagnostic workshops in developing countries funded by the USAID Hort CRSP and have started the Latin American Phytophthora Diagnostic Network. In addition, we have a project underway on sigatoka disease of banana caused by Mycospharella fijiensis.