McSpadden Gardener Lab - Alumni

Graduate students

Xiaoqing Rong completed her PhD in Plant Pathology in 2013. Her research focused on genomic analyses of biocontrol microorganisms and the molecular basis for pathogen suppression. She has experience with genomic sequencing and annotation, genetic analysis in bacteria, and the development of strain and species-specific PCR assays.


Chunxue CaoChunxue Cao completed her MS in Plant Pathology in 2012.  Her research focused on tomato fruit production and morphology. She has field and laboratory experience with digital image analysis, grafting, microbial community analyses, and multivariate statistics.

She earned her undergraduate degree from China Agricultural University in Beijing in 2009.


Maria Veronica Cepeda graduated with her MS in Plant Pathology in 2012.  She was a Fullbright Scholar from Ecuador. Her research focused on the testing of experimental and commercial biofertilizer and biopesticide formulations.

Assessing the Effects of Experimental and Commercial Inoculants on Plant Growth and Disease Suppression -

> View Veronica's presentation


BenitezMaria-Soledad Benitez graduated with her PhD in Plant Pathology in 2008 under Dr. McSpadden-Gardener's supervision. She studied the relationships between suppressiveness and phlD producing Pseudomonas spp. in organic farming systems. She obtained her undergraduate degree of Biological Sciences at the Universidad Catlica in Quito, Ecuador. Her interests are in microbial ecology, specifically in relation to changes in microbial population structure as it relates to the functioning of agricultural and natural ecosystems.  She is now on the faculty of Army Polytechnic Institute in Quito, Ecuador.


Rosa RaudalesRosa Raudales graduated with her MS in Plant Pathology in 2008. She received her B. in Agriculture Science and Production from Zamorano College in 2003. Prior to enterint the MS program, Rosa worked on applied agriculture and farm production practices in Ginsheim, Germany and then at the Integrated Pest Management Program at The Ohio State University. Her current research interests  focus on soil ecology and their effects on plant production.  She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Florida.


Technicians and Undergraduate Assistants

Seth MaurerSeth Maurer is a current undergraduate student at the College of Wooster majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology where he will graduate in 2010. Seth will be completing his Senior Independent Study project with Brian for the 2009-2010 academic year.  He plans to attend Medical School upon graduation. His current project is to test potential biofungicides generated from bacterial strains


Bill Feldman worked as a technician for the summer of 2009, focusing primarily on setting up bioassay experiments in the growth chamber, and collecting data for biocontrol analysis.


Elizabeth FloomElizabeth Floom graduated from high school in 2008 and is currently attending Stark State College in North Canton where she pursues a degree in biotechnology.  She worked with Brian for the summer of 2009, participating in the ORIP internship.  Her research focused on determining the biocontrol potential of strains of Mitsuaria, Psuedomonas, and Burkholderia.


Mohit Ballaney conducted research in Brian's lab for the 2009 summer.  While there, he studied the genomics and biocontrol of phlD+  Pseudomonas fluorescens strains.  He will graduate from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2010.


Bethany CaldwellBethany Caldwell graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology in 2009.  She worked as the lab technician for the summer of 2009.  She will attend The Ohio State University Medical School in the fall of 2010.


Jeff amstutzJefferson Amstutz is a 2008 graduate of Wooster High School and attends Grove City College in Pennsylvania.  His aim is to study physics and pursue a career in Aerospace Engineering. His lab project was the evaluation of the biocontrol potential of different bacterial strain formulations. He also helped with other tasks, including work on this website.


Sonia Masih was an OARDC Research Intern when she was a senior at Wooster High School.  She is interested in pursuing a career in the science field. Her project was to test the efficacy of organic herbicides on the control of weed growth.



Phuong Emily Nguyen was a 2012 intern from the Summer Research Opportunity Program from California State University-Fullerton working with Dr. Park on the cover crops project.

Matt Worth was a College of Wooster student working with Ms. Rong on the biochemical analyses of bacterial secretion products involved in pathogen control (Summer 2012).