Stories from Students

Wallace Carver interElizabeth Roche, Plant Pathology graduate

In the summer of 2013 I was a USDA Wallace Carver Intern working at the Foreign Disease - Weed Science Research Unit in Fort Detrick, Maryland.   I worked specifically with the use of foreign pathogens for biological control of weeds.

The goal of the weed biocontrol research is to find plant pathogens that are keeping the weeds under natural control in their native habitat.  Many of these pathogens are not found in the United States, and are under containment.  There are many studies are conducted on the pathogens to assure safe release.

The overall goal of the weed research is to support sustainable agriculture, by eliminating a reliance on chemicals for the control of weeds. One of the projects I was working on is a leaf counting project.  I surveyed 20 plants to see when leaves grow and fall off plants with Puccinia punctiformis.  This information is important to helping to understand the disease cycle of the fungus.  Understanding the disease cycle with this project will help develop a biological control to manage Canadian thistle.


Diana Shin, Molecular Genetics major, Plant Pathology minor

This summer, I was a research intern with Dr. Sally Miller, a Vegetable Pathologist at Ohio State, Wooster. At Wooster, I worked on an experiment with the objectives to identify seed treatments that were effective against Xanthomonas campestris pv.cucurbitae on pumpkin seed, as well as finding new treatments that would be effective for pelleted tomato seed. I really enjoyed working on this project because there is a current need from growers for this data because bacterial diseases have spiked in recent years as well as the use of pelleted seed. Overall, it was a great experience, and I was glad I was able to learn about the Extension aspect of Plant Pathology.


InternshipMegan Murphy, Biology major, Niagara University

When I first received my acceptance letter to partake in the Plant Pathology Internship Program, my overall reaction was complete and utter happiness. Shortly after that, came the nerves, questions, and eagerness to begin.

I arrived in the lab under supervision of Gautam Shirsekar and Pattavipha Songkumarn (Nun) within Dr. Guo-Liang Wang’s laboratory. From the moment I stepped foot into the lab to the very last day, both supervisors we’re true roles models to whom I desire to be one day. They guided me daily with written procedures to follow and tasks to complete, but both managed to let my independence take control and run experiments that were vital to their research.

I was able to become the first person in the lab to run a successful PCR with visible results on gel electrophoresis by using FTA paper with rice DNA.This would have never happened unless I wasn’t taught with such pristine knowledge from my supervisors, Gautam and Nun. I could spend hours explaining the great gain of knowledge, independence, and passion I gained from Dr. Wang’s lab. From running PCR, to RT QPC, tons of gels, handling delicate experiments, and the many more tasks, I have gained much more than I could offer back to the people who guided me along the way.

The Plant Pathology Internship Program has lead me into my senior year with a clear mind of what I want to strive towards after I graduate this coming spring and I could not have imagined or asked for a better group of people not only in the lab, but in the office, and out in the community!


Jeremy Malloy, Evolution and Ecology Major

What I have done so far this summer is mainly a continuation of bioinformatics education. I've worked with programs such as MEGA5 for sequence alignment and tree phylogeny construction, Velvet, Bowtie and SOAP for short read alignments and analysis done using a unix command line environment. I attended two Plant Pathology conventions, one at Wooster for the APS and another here at Ohio State involved with summer genetics workshop and Center for Applied Plant Sciences. Additionally, I have been working on a project for the Ohio Department of Agriculture to identify phytophthora isolates in their water supply using DNA extraction techniques, PCR protocols to isolate ITS regions of the phytophthora genome.