News & Announcements

PB MS student Kelly Allen receives $15K SARE award

Kelly Allen, PB MS Student

Kelly S. Allen, a PB MS student working with Dr. Rob Wick, was recently awarded a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Graduate Student Grant for $15,000 for her proposal titled “Improving Basil Downy Mildew Control with Cultural and Biological Methods”. Sweet basil is one of the most commonly-grown herbs worldwide, and crops are highly susceptible to becoming diseased with basil downy mildew, caused by the pathogen Peronospora belbahrii. This pathogen results in devastating crop losses and economic losses totaling in the tens of millions of dollars in the US. Basil growers are also spending an estimated 10 million dollars each year to manage the disease. Basil downy mildew is not effectively controlled with organic fungicide spray programs, and conventional fungicides are limited and can risk increased pathogen resistance. This research aims to improve cultural control methods for greenhouse propagation of sweet basil, and will investigate the efficacy of a filamentous yeast as biological control agent.

Bhowmik Honored at International Weed Science Congress

Dr. Prasanta Bhowmik

Stockbridge School of Agriculture professor Prasanta Bhowmik was honored with a 2016 Outstanding International Achievement Award at the International Weed Science Society 7th International Weed Science Congress in June in Prague. Bhowmik offered a presentation on the invasive giant hogweed during the congress, which was attended by more than 800 participants from 57 countries. Read more.

BMB Faculty, Dong Wang and Li-Jun Ma, Recognized for Research at International Meeting 

Dr. Dong Wang

Faculty Dong Wang and Li-Jun Ma from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology were recognized for their research at the 17th International Congress of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions held July 17-21 in Portland, Ore. Wang received the inaugural MPMI Young Investigator Award and Ma presented a plenary talk at the meeting. Read more.

Sandra Romero-Gamboa receives scholarship to attend NSF Plant Transformation Workshop at URI

PB PhD graduate student Sandra Romero Gamboa

PB PhD graduate student Sandra Romero-Gamboa, from the Hazen Lab, will attend a Plant Transformation Workshop from July 25-29 at the University of Rhode Island Plant Biotechnology Laboratory on full scholarship.  The five-day advanced training workshop is focused on rice, maize and sorghum transformation.  Plant transformation and regeneration has enabled fundamental insights into plant biology and has revolutionized commercial agriculture but for most crops, it still remains a significant bottleneck. The scholarship will cover all workshop materials and supplies, as well as full room and board.    

Rob Wick travels to Nepal to train farmers to combat clubroot disease

Sidhuwa Nepal

Rob Wick, PB faculty member in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, was invited by USAID/Winrock to help farmers curb clubroot disease of brassica crops in Nepal. Rob was a “Trainer to train Trainers” at the Sidhuwa Multipurpose Cooperative in the district of Dhankuta located in the eastern hills of Nepal, from June 1- June 20, 2016. The farming cooperative, at around 7000 feet elevation, has about 1,200 households participating on approximately 4,000 acres of terraced hill gardens. Losses due to clubroot have been rising since the disease was first reported in 1993. Millions of dollars are lost each year to the disease. Cabbage and cauliflower are lucrative cash crops for Nepal, mostly grown for export to India. Clubroot is caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, a devastating plant pathogen of the cabbage family.  The disease is named for the large clubby galls, some as large as a tennis ball, that form on the roots and restrict the uptake of water and nutrients. A single gall can release billions of resting spores into the soil which can survive a decade or more; thus contaminated soils cannot support brassica crops without crop rotations of 6 to 10 years.