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My research interests range from understanding the molecular mechanisms of tree-pathogen interactions to ways to harness such knowledge to improve forest health management. I have conducted fundamental research to try and elucidate basic mechanisms of resistance, the phenomenon known as systemic induced resistance (SIR) in trees against pathogens and insects, and cross-induction effects between fungal pathogens and insects mediated by the host tree. A recent and very exciting derivation of this fundamental work has been the development of spectroscopic techniques to rapidly and non-destructively phenotype trees for resistance to invasive pathogens causing diseases of great significance, such as sudden oak death in California, white pine blister rust in the Pacific Northwest, and ash dieback in Europe. For this work, in 2019 I received an award for Outstanding Innovation from the Reduce Risk of Invasive Species Coalition.
In the last few years I have also developed an intense interest in advocating for the fundamental role of tree resistance research and deployment for the rational management of invasive tree pathogens and pests and, as an important derivation, for a radical change in how government handles management of invasive tree pathogens and pests. This activity has resulted in the formulation of coherent plans for the end-to-end management of such scourges, from how to handle potential sources of pests abroad to the best approaches to restore affected ecosystems.
Besides my role as a faculty in Plant Pathology, I am a member of the Center for Applied Plant Sciences, the Environmental Science Graduate Program, the Infectious Disease Institute, and the Sustainability Institute.
PLNTPTH 5110 Ecology and Management of Pathogens and Insects Affecting Tress in Forest and Urban Environments (3 cr)
Non-credit Online Certificate: Forest and urban tree pathology and disease management for practitioners and curious people
Download the flyer for the non-credit online certificate
- 2018-present Faculty member of the Sustainability Institute, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
- 2017-present Faculty member of the Infectious Diseases Institute, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
- 2016-present Concurrent (adjunct) professor, Department of Forest Health Protection, Nanjing Forestry University, China.
- 2014-present Faculty member of the Translational Plant Science Graduate Program, Center for Applied Plant Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
- 2013-present Faculty member of the Doctoral Program, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Florence, Italy
- 2012-present Adjunct Professor, Environmental Sciences PhD program, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
- 2010-present Ohio State University, Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology
- 2005-2010 Ohio State University, Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology
- 2000-present Faculty member of the Environmental Science Graduate Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
- 2000-2005 Ohio State University, Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology
- 1997-2000 University of California, Davis, Post-doc, Host/Pathogen/Insect Interactions
- 1994-1996 University of California, Berkeley, Post-doc, Host/Pathogen/Insect Interactions; Mycorrhizal Ecology
- 1991-1992 GSF - Forschungszentrum fr Umwelt und Gesundheit, Munich, Germany, Post-doc, Air Pollution and Disease Resistance in Scots pine
- 1991 University of Oxford, U.K., D.Phil., Resistance Mechanisms in Primary Roots of Scots Pine
- 1987 University of Padova, Italy, M.Sc., Forestry/Forest Pathology