Our research unit seeks to provide innovative pest and disease management methods that reduce the use of synthetic chemical pesticides while still providing long-term control. Targets include insects, nematodes, diseases, and viruses attacking field and greenhouse crops and invasive weed species in semi-natural and natural areas of the Northeast. To accomplish our objectives, research is conducted in both basic and applied areas in order to interfere with pest/pathogen life cycles and/or host-pest/pathogen interactions; our approaches include genomics, genetic resistance, development of biopesticides and biological control agents, risk analysis and post-release monitoring, secondary metabolism, and genetic manipulation in host and control agent or pathogen populations. An extensive culture collection of fungal pathogens of insect and nematode pests is a unique resource that supports many of our research efforts. Key commodities are potato, small grains, greenhouse and nursery crops, and natural ecosystems, but results are applicable to many crops and agroecosystems in general.
Eight scientists are working in six main project areas.
Dr. John Vandenberg & Dr. Stephen Wraight
Development of target-selective, environmentally benign biocontrol agents from our fungal culture collection
Dr. Richard Humber
ARSEF Culture Collection, an extensive cryogenic collection of fungal pathogens affecting insect and nematode pests
Dr. Xiaohong Wang
Investigating the molecular basis of plant-nematode interactions
Dr. Lindsey Milbrath
Developing biological control programs against exotic invasive plants