Alumni Spotlight: Dimitre Mollov
Advisor: Ben Lockhart
Current Position: USDA Plant Pathologist
Tell us about your current research or work involvements and their impacts.
I am involved in the identification and characterization of newly emerging plant viruses of quarantine significance. My team and I develop diagnostic protocols for use in federal and state regulatory and research programs with the objective of preventing the introduction and spread of plant viral diseases in U.S. agriculture.
What's your passion? What do you love about your work and your field?
I am challenged on a daily basis with processing and analyzing information that leads to the detection or identification of “new” plant viruses. It is very rewarding to be able to put all the pieces of a plant disease “puzzle” together.
Why did you get involved with Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota? Tell us about your path to Plant Pathology.
I came to the University of Minnesota as a MAST student. Initially I studied in the Department of Horticultural Sciences where I worked on breeding potatoes for virus resistance. Professor Bradeen and Professor Lockhart were two of my committee advisors, and I transitioned to an appointment with the Potato Pathology and Genomics Lab in the Department of Plant Pathology. Later I took a position at the Plant Disease Clinic, where I was fortunate enough to work with Professor Lockhart. That experience motivated me to focus on plant virology during my graduate studies.
What's great about the Department of Plant Pathology?
In the Department of Plant Pathology I had many opportunities to further my education and build a great professional network.
How did your education at the U of M help prepare you for what you are doing today?
It is hard to imagine a better Ph.D. advisor than Professor Lockhart. He was able to provide me with unique research curriculum that kept me challenged and was in parallel with my full-time employment duties as the Director of the Plant Disease Clinic. Dr. Lockhart’s virally infectious enthusiasm for the constant quest to discover new things and question the status quo, coupled with an exceptionally high work ethic, prepared me well to think outside of the box and helped me transition to my current job seamlessly.
What advice do you have for current students (and future alumni)?
Take every opportunity to work on different projects outside of the scope of your graduate work. Take time to volunteer in the Plant Disease Clinic and challenge yourself with unknown plant disease situations. You will appreciate it later in your career.