Meet our student speakers!

Nida Ghori

Fulbright Ph.D. Candidate, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.

Presentation title: Fine mapping of H34, a Hessian Fly resistance gene in Wheat

I am Nida Ghori, a Fulbright Ph.D. candidate in Agronomy, working with Guihua Bai and Allan K. Fritz in USDA Central Small Grain Genotyping Lab at Kansas State University, USA. After completing my M.S. degree, I started working as a lecturer at University of Agriculture Faisalabad and have remained involved in different wheat related projects of CIMMYT and USDA for three years. Most recently, I have been awarded with the world’s prestigious Fulbright scholarship to pursue my Ph.D. in the United States. Since 2010, I have been working on wheat and I am highly committed devoting my life improving wheat yield by fighting against insects and pathogens. My current research is focused on development of precise diagnostic markers for use in breeding programs and positional cloning of a Hessian fly resistance gene H34 in wheat. To speed up this process, I am using modern technologies including genotyping-by-sequencing, RNA-Seq and wheat pan-genomics platform to develop high throughput KASP markers, to speed up the positional mapping and finally gene editing to validate the candidate genes. My aim is to develop unique and novel approaches for engineering new crop varieties with a wide spectrum of resistance against insect pests contributing to the safety of global food production.

 

Marija Zivanovic

Ph.D. Candidate, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Presentation title: Fructose as a cause for late-reproductive stage development of Cercospora leaf blight of soybean

I am from Belgrade, Serbia; I did my undergrad at the University of Belgrade in Crop Protection; I did a 2-month internship at the University of Goettingen, Germany, in the Breeding Department; a 6-month internship at Iowa State University working on sooty blotch and flyspeck fungi in the Plant Pathology Department; a 6-month internship for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, working on endophytes of a rain forest plant Psychotria spp.; my Master’s was in Plant Pathology from University of Georgia, where I worked on Acidovorax citrulli with Dr. Ron Walcott; now I’m in the lab of Dr. Zhi-yuan Chen working on suppressing Cercospora leaf blight of soybean via dsRNA application, as well as through investigation of factors that contribute to the late onset of the disease in the reproductive development of soybean.

 

Esteban Elias Escobar Hernandez

M.S. student, CINVESTAV, Mexico

Presentation title: Differential expression of ribosomal proteins potentially points to a translational regulation during early stages of infection in Vanilla planifolia Jacks-Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vanillae pathosystem

I am a M.S. student working on plant disease response in Vanilla planifolia Jacks-Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vanillae pathosystem. I am from Mexico and earned my B.S. in Biology from Universidad Veracruzana. I am currently pursuing a M.S. in the Advanced Genomics Unit (LANGEBIO-CINVESTAV). I am passionate about research on plant stress response, plant development and evolution.

 

 

Taylor Klass

Ph.D. student, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Presentation title: Diversity of Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum infecting multiple hosts in Southeast Asia

I am originally from Worthington, Ohio and received my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Ohio State in 2018, with a double major in Animal Sciences and Agronomy. I am currently a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Department of Plant Pathology at The Ohio State University, co-advised by Dr. Jonathan Jacobs and Dr. Sally Miller. My research is focused on diagnostics, diversity, and management of bacterial plant pathogens that infect and impact vegetable crops. Specifically, I work with Southeast Asian isolates of Ralstonia solanacearum, which cause bacterial wilt disease, and Xanthomonas spp. from Ohio that cause bacterial spot on pepper and tomato. I am passionate about tropical plant pathology and global food security. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, hike, play soccer, travel, eat ice cream, and hang out with animals.

 

Amanda McRae

Ph.D. candidate, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Presentation title: Spray-induced gene silencing of powdery mildew genes reduces plant disease

I am originally from Arizona where I went to the University of Arizona for my undergraduate studies. Currently, I am a Microbiology Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. My work has focused on understanding powdery mildew-induced endoreduplication in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, which directly controls the extent of powdery mildew proliferation. To study powdery mildew gene function I co-developed a spray-induced gene silencing method and screening pipeline to silence powdery genes and assess their impact on fungal growth and reproduction. During my graduate studies I have been a part of the organizing committee for the Plant Genome Engineering Symposium at UC Berkeley, which is a part of the Corteva Agriscience Plant Sciences Symposia Series.