Research Molecular Biologist
B.S. Biology, The College of William and Mary in Virginia 1991
My expertise lies in population genetics, molecular ecology, and the use of DNA technologies to detect, monitor, and characterize pathogens in crops. My research is focused on the fungal plant pathogen Aspergillus flavus and its close relatives. These fungi contaminate feed and food crops grown in warm areas with aflatoxins, potent carcinogens that can lead to immune suppression, growth suppression, and cancer at low exposure or organ failure and death at high exposure. Currently, the most effective intervention to reduce aflatoxin exposure is pre-harvest biocontrol through application of non-aflatoxigenic A. flavus isolates. My work focuses on better understanding the biology and ecology of this fungus to select better isolates that are the most effective for biocontrol and on developing new biocontrol products using population genetics to identify non-aflatoxigenic isolates that are native to particular crops and geographical areas.
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