Current Lab Members and Research Area

Renato Carvalho, Ph.D student

Development of a hybrid nanomaterial against bacterial spot of tomato caused by copper-tolerant Xanthomonas perforans strains and understanding the mode of action of the nanomaterial on the bacterial cell using spectroscopic and microscopic approaches is one of Renato's research areas. Renato is also conducting research on the identification of novel protectants for management of whitefly transmitted viruses on tomato and watermelon in Florida. A third area of research program is characterization of novel bacterial strains using whole genome sequencing approach.

Manoj Choudhary, Ph.D student

Sustainable management of bacterial spot of tomato using antibacterial magnesium nanomaterials is a key area of Manoj's research. Research also involves understanding the potential of integration of biocontrol agents with nanomaterials to enhance effectiveness in disease management. Another objective of Manoj's studies is to Identify the host limiting factors present in Xanthomonas perforans strains associated with their pathogenicity on tomato and pepper. Machine learning for disease image classification in tomato is another project.

Dr. Fanny B. Iriarte, Plant Disease Diagnostician

Manager of the Diagnostic Cinic and works on a daily basis in identifying the cause of plant diseases (fungi, bacteria and viruses) in infected plant samples in crop production in North Florida, and communicates with farmers, extension agents, crop consultants and master gardens to share diagnsotic information. Dr. Iriarte also provides research support on projects including bacterial leaf spot of watermelon, bacterial spot of pepper, whitefly transmitted viruses on cucurbits, and trains graduate students, visiting students and interns on basic and advanced diagnostic techniques.

Susannah Da Silva, Lab Manager

Manager of the Lab, Greenhouse and Field research on bacterial, fungal and viral plant pathogens of economic relevance to Florida. Susannah conducts research on many projects including management of bacterial speck of tomato caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae using systemic acquired resistance inducers, novel protectants against whitefly transmitted viruses on tomato and watermelon, management of powdery mildew on watermelon using disease forecasting model, and conventional and organic fungicides for management of Alternaria leaf spot on carrot.

Students graduated

Amanda Strayer-Scherer, Ph.D Plant Pathology, Fall 2017; currently Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist of Plant Pathology, Auburn University, AL

Mason J. Newark, Ph.D Plant Pathology, Summer 2017; currently Product Development Specialist, AMVAC Corporation

Eric A. Newberry, Ph.D Plant Pathology, Spring 2017; currently Molecular Biologist, Science and Technology, USDA-APHIS, Beltsville, MD

Sanju Kunwar, Ph.D Plant Pathology, Fall 2018; currently Post-Doctoral Fellow, Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI

Amanda Strayer, M.S. Plant Pathology, Summer 2014

Sanju Kunwar, M.S. Plant Pathology, Fall 2014

Yonas Kefialew, Ph.D Plant Pathology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, Summer 2014; currently Plant Pathologist at the Gambella Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia

Ying-Yu Liao, M.S. Plant Pathology, Fall 2016; Ph.D student in our lab

Qiurong Fan, M.S. Plant Pathology, Spring 2019; currently Diagnostics Intern, Corteva AgriScience, USA

Ying-Yu Liao, Ph.D. Plant Pathology, Spring 2020; currently Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University

Dr. Amanda Strayer-Scherer

Dr. Eric A. Newberry

Dr. Sanju Kunwar

Post-doctoral Research Fellows

Dr. Binoy Babu, 2013-17, currently Lecturer, Molecular Biology, S.D College, Kerala, India

Dr. Melanie Kalischuk, 2017-2019, currently Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada

Lab scientists

Laura Ritchie, 2010-17, currently Biological Scientist III at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Hank Dankers 2010-13, Plant Disease Diagnostician (Retired)

Laura Ritchie

Interns/visiting students/scientists mentored and programs

Dr. Banito Agnassim, 2019, Associate Professor, University of Lome, Togo (West African Research Association Fellowship)

William Newberry, 2018, Tallahassee Community College (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Dylan Godden, 2018, Tallahassee Community College (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Dr. Dawit Abate, 2017-18, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia (Fullbright Distinguished Scholar Fellowship)

Kamil Duman, 2017, Ministry of Agriculture, Turkey (European Union Fellowship)

Dr. Shomaila Iqbal, 2017, PMAS-Arid Agricultural University, Pakistan (International Research Support Inititaive Program, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan)

Dr. Ruqeyah Ahmad, 2016-17, University of Punjab, Pakistan (International Research Support Inititaive Program, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan)

Dylan Godden, USA, 2016, Chiles High School, Tallahassee, Florida (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Qiurong Fan, 2016, University of Florida (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Nghi Nguyen, 2016, University of Maine (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Tulin Saligul, 2016, Ministry of Agriculture, Turkey (Government of Turkey, Ministry of Agriculture Fellowship)

Eduardo Evaristo Da Silva, 2015-16, The Federal University of Mata Grosso and EMBRAPA, Brazil (Self-funded)

Dr. Eric Newberry, 2013, University of Florida (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Sanju Kunwar, 2012, University of Florida (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Surendra Osti, 2011, Louisiana State University (External grant funded to Dr. Mathews Paret)

Paret Lab - Research Profile


Austin N. Fife, Ph.D student

Rose rosette disease caused by Rose rosette virus vectored by the eriophyid mite Phyllocoptes fructiphilus is the topmost disease of relevance to the rose industry in the U.S. Austin's research focusses on elucidating the biology of the eriophyid mites, understanding the potential of an integrated use of a systemic acquired resistance inducer for improving plant defense system against the virus and predatory mites for reducing the mite populations.

We are plant pathologists. You may be more familiar on a day-to-day basis with medical scientists who studies human diseases or veterinary scientists who studies animal diseases; the difference in our case is that we study plant diseases! and we study bacteria, fungi and viruses that causes diseases on plants.

Graduate students, Post-Doctoral fellows and Research scientists in our lab conduct studies on identification and characterization of plant pathogens of vegetables and ornamental crops; understanding the biology of pathogens and the etiology (cause) of plant diseases; and management of plant diseases of economic relevance in the United States. Internationally, we conduct research and agricultural development activities in West Africa (Benin, Togo, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire), Ethiopia, China, Philippines and India.

Dr. Mathews L. Paret

Associate Professor of Plant Pathology

University of Florida

E:mail: paret@ufl.edu

Dr. Mason J. Newark

Qiurong Fan

Apekshya Parajuli, M.S student

Management of bacterial spot of pepper caused by copper-tolerant Xanthomonas euvesicatoria using copper and magnesium nanomaterials is one of the key areas of Apekshya's research. A second key objective is genomic characterization of an international collection of Xanthomonas euvesicatoria strains and characterization of its resistance to copper and antibiotics.

Dr. Ying-Yu Liao

Dr. Binoy Babu

Dr. Melanie Kalischuk

Kiersten Bushong, Ph.D student

Management of bacterial leaf spot of cucurbits caused by Pseudomonas syringae strains with nanomaterials is a key focus of Kiersten’s research. This research includes studies on bacterial seed infection and treatments for reducing P. syringae population and biofilm inhibition. Strain characterization of P. syringae on cucurbits, evolution and epidemiology of Xanthomonas perforans on tomato; and machine learning for diseased image classification in cucurbits are other projects.

Dr. Abdul Jailani, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Development of field deployable molecular diagnostic techniques for major cucurbit viruses in Florida including Cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV), Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV), and Squash vein yellowing virus utilizing Recombinase Polymerase Amplification is Dr. Jailani's major research area. Additonal projects include monitoring and characterizing novel viruses affecting vegetable and ornamental crop production.