The USDA ARS Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory (SMML), Beltsville, MD, is pleased to announce that Dr. Jo Anne Crouch has joined our research team.
Jo Anne received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2008, where she studied fungi responsible for turfgrass and switchgrass diseases, especially those caused by Colletotrichum. At Rutgers, Jo Anne developed and utilized several new molecular markers to study populations and species of Colletotrichum associated with grasses, including sequence based markers, transposon RFLPs and microsatellites. Her research showed that phylogenetic and genetic variation for the grass-associated Colletotrichum is partitioned according to ecosystem/plant host, documented the presence of several cryptic species, identified RIP mutation and the fingerprint of sexual recombination in populations of the presumed asexual fungus C. cereale, and highlighted the unreliability of ITS-based analyses for Colletotrichum species diagnosis.
More recently she completed post-doctoral research at the USDA ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, MN, working to develop molecular diagnostic tools for emergent rust pathogens of corn and wheat.
Jo Anne is the recipient of 30 competitive awards, scholarships and fellowships in recognition of her research contributions, including the MSA NAMA Memorial Graduate Fellowship, the Crop Science Society of America Mott Scholarship, the Musser International Turfgrass Foundation Award of Excellence, a Land Institute Natural Systems Agriculture Fellowship, and an EPA STAR Graduate Fellowship.
At the SMML, Jo Anne will continue her research of the fungi responsible for anthracnose and rust diseases of grasses. Her lab will focus on development and implementation of genome-scale approaches and culture-independent molecular diagnostic tools, with the goal of furthering species and population delimitation, and to increase our understanding of the evolution of biological diversity for these important plant pathogen groups.