Research and Extension Interests Integrated pest management (IPM) practices aim to reduce agricultural inputs by preventing the introduction and spread of plant pathogens, by early pathogen detection, and by implementing sound cultural and biological practices. It is my mission to provide the horticultural community with the tools and knowledge that they need to implement IPM programs that are effective, economical, and have a minimal impact on our environment.
My research interests focus on two components of an effective IPM program: early diagnosis of disease and the implementation of biological control strategies to manage diseases and weeds. As part of my research program, DNA-based diagnostic tools will be developed and used to conduct pathogen surveys. These surveys will assess the potential for disease outbreaks across Minnesota so that the appropriate management plans can be initiated. The other aspect of my research program is the study of biological control organisms including their mechanisms of action, secondary metabolite production, and the impact of cultural practices on the fate of biocontrol organisms and naturally occurring microbial communities. The results of my research will directly contribute to the knowledge and tools available to the horticultural pathology extension education program.
As an extension specialist, I will work collaboratively with extension educators, government agencies and industry personnel to implement an education program that provides timely and accurate updates on diseases of importance to Minnesota’s horticultural industry including fruit and vegetable growers, the turf and grounds foundation, master gardeners, and the Minnesota nursery and landscape association.