Research Plant Pathologist
The focus of my program is on fungal diseases of sugar beet and crops grown in rotation with sugar beet with an emphasis on soil-borne pathogens. The aim is to improve understanding of the pathogens affecting sugar beet and other field crops such as dry bean, the interactions of these pathogens with host plants, and management alternatives to minimize disease impacts in crop production. Our current main projects are on: 1) Rhizoctonia crown and root rot; 2) seedling diseases; and 3) diseases caused by Fusarium species, including wilt or yellows, root rot, storage rot, and seed stalk blight. The research unit maintains Cercospora leaf spot and Rhizoctonia seedling disease nurseries to screen for disease resistance. Ongoing projects include investigation of diversity in Fusarium species and Rhizoctonia solani pathogenic on sugar beet, development of improved diagnostic methods for sugar beet pathogens, and developing or improving screening methods for plant disease responses and resistance.