Congratulations to Dr. Mary Palm, chosen to lead the USDA's new emergency, multi-agency response framework to combat one of the most serious citrus diseases in the world: huanglongbing (HLB or citrus greening).
Congratulations to Dr. Brett Arenz on his appointment as a Teaching Assistant Professor in Plant Pathology! Brett brings a wealth of knowledge and contagious excitement towards teaching. In addition to developing and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Plant Pathology, Brett will also assume the role of administrative director for the Plant Disease Clinic. In this capacity, he will work to more fully integrate PDC activities with the Department's teaching mission.
We would like to welcome Dr. Zafer Mert, a Turkish scientist who will be spending three months as one of the trainees for the Stakman-Borlaug Cereal Rust Center. He is hosted by Drs. Steffenson and Figueroa, and will be homed at the Figueroa laboratory. Dr. Mert graduated from the Department of Plant Protection, Agriculture Faculty, Ankara University in 1999 and completed his MSc degree in 2003 and a PhD degree in 2010.
Since 2000, Dr. Zafer Mert has been working for the Central Research Institute for Field Crops under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of Turkey. Currently, he is the coordinator of the Turkish National wheat rust diseases research program, which demands him to interact with more than 10 research institutions in his country. Additionally, he coordinates the screening of germplasm of IWWIP (International Winter Wheat Improvement Program) for resistance to yellow rust disease in Ankara. Dr. Mert is a very accomplished scientist; an expert in Barley Scald disease, Chickpea disease (Anthracnose), and Cereal Rust Diseases. As a visiting scientist in our department, he will be conducting genetic variation studies in populations of pathogenic fungi like Rhynchosporium secalis, Pyrenophora teres, Puccinia gaminis, and others.
The 2013 edition of the Aurora Sporealis alumni newsletter is now available online! Read it HERE.
**We recommend right clicking on the link, choosing "Save Link As", and opening in a .pdf reader for the best viewing experience.
The 2013 edition of the Aurora Sporealis was edited by Brian Steffenson, designed by Renoir Gaither and contributed to by many members of the department. Thanks to all involved!
We'd like to get your updated information for the next Aurora mailing as well as personal or professional updates to include in future issues. Please submit updates via the Register for Updates form on the Stay Connected page of our site.
Sara Bratsch, a Ph.D. student advised by Drs. Benham Lockhart and Neil Olszewski, has been awarded a 2014 graduate research fellowship by the MnDrive Initiative in Global Food Supply. Sara's research focuses on the characterization of a novel proteinaceous disease-causing agent of Asteraceae (Pyrethrums and Sunflowers). The fellowship includes a stipend as well as additional funds for research costs.
The Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota requests nominations for the E.C. Stakman Award. The award is granted to individuals of any country and nationality of outstanding achievements in plant pathology. The award may be given for documented achievements in the areas of research, teaching, outreach, international development, or for any combination of these areas. Preference is given to candidates actively engaged in these areas; only occasionally will lifetime achievement awards be considered.
More information about nomination requirements can be found here.
Drs. Scott Bates and Linda Kinkel have been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship through the MNDrive Initiative: Advancing Industry, Conserving our Environment. They will investigate the use of microbiological inocula as a means of protecting critical Minnesota potato crops from disease.
Linda Kinkel, Professor of Plant Pathology, along with about two dozen other American Academy of Microbiology fellows, recently published a report titled “How Microbes Can Help Feed the World”. The report is a result of a two-day colloquium held in 2012 which examined “how plant microbe interactions could be employed to boost agricultural productivity in an environmentally and economically responsible way”.
A new project in the department funded by the Minnesota Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (proceeds from the MN lottery fund) investigating the plethora of unusual fungi growing in the Soudan mine located near Ely, Minnesota. The iron ore mine, built in 1880, has 27 levels that extend miles down into the earth.
Event: PlPa Seminar 8200
Title: Breeding for plant health in Monsanto
Speaker: Vergel Concibido, Ph.D., Monsanto Company
Date: March 10, 2014
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Location: 365 Borlaug Hall
Fungal Plant 205 - 26 November 2013 | Description Sheets: 276-277 | Persoonia 31, 2013: 188-296.
Custingophora blanchettei "Etymology. Named for Prof. Robert A. Blanchette, recognising his important contributions to the study of wood inhabiting fungi."
Survivors on Elm Street | by Sara Specht | CFANS Solutions
"It does look like there is resistance out there," says Department of Plant Pathology professor Robert Blanchette. "We don't have too many trees to study, but there are a few and we'll find more with this project. These trees are selected for testing because they survive where most elms die. Not all of them survive inoculation but a few of them are looking very good."