New for 2016! Conversations with Pathologists of Distinction
Based on the well-known and popular TED talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design), conversations with Pathologists of Distinction (PODs) offers meeting attendees in all stages of their career an opportunity to connect with APS fellows in an informal setting as they discuss their career journey. Join in as they share “their story”, insights and life experiences in the world of plant pathology.
Sunday, July 311:00 - 2:00 p.m.; Room 12, Convention Center
A Conversation with Pathologist of Distinction Barbara Valent: A Passion for a Fungus Barbara Valent, Distinguished Professor, Plant Pathology Department, Kansas State UniversityBarbara’s story: I’ve always been attracted to fungi. What a thrill to collect and eat wild mushrooms! My career path in plant pathology began when I first learned about microbe-plant interactions as an undergraduate. I was drawn to the power of genetics by a small book on ‘Genetics of Host-Parasite Interactions’ by Peter Day. A plant pathogen system where one could do rigorous genetic analysis on both pathogen and host seemed a worthy goal. Molecular genetic analyses of budding yeast had just begun, and I chose a post-doc to learn these techniques. There, I met my soul-mate in life and science, as well as the rice blast fungus. I absorbed the passion of my first blast teachers, Frances Latterell and Hajime Kato. Doing research in industry taught me to value both foundational and applied research, and moving to academia allows me to pass my passion along. And the blast fungus has never failed to amaze!
A Conversation with Pathologist of Distinction Bob Gilbertson: The Challenges and Rewards of Combining Applied and Basic Research in the Context of International Research Bob Gilbertson, Professor, University of California-DavisBob’s story: World food production faces numerous challenges, including those from plant diseases. These include new diseases, global spread of pathogens, and resistance-breaking strains. Less developed countries face more fundamental challenges such as proper disease diagnosis, knowledge of pathogen biology and effective management strategies. Partnering between scientists from developed and less developed countries provides a mutually beneficially means of solving disease problems. Approaches involve disease surveys and collections, technology transfer, training, and workshops. Examples will be provided from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Ghana and Mali. Lessons learned include the value of broad training in plant pathology, the need for patience and flexibility, and that opportunities exist for basic research and implementation and assessment of management strategies. These experiences enrich teaching and provide stimulating interactions with international colleagues and students. Finally, there is the gratitude of farmers who appreciate that scientists from the USA come halfway around the world to help them. Monday, August 11:00 - 2:00 p.m.; Room 12, Convention Center
A Conversation with Pathologist of Distinction Jacque Fletcher: A Plant Pathologist’s Meandering Career PathJacque Fletcher, Regents Professor, Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, National Institute for Microbial Forensics & Food and Agricultural Biosecurity, Oklahoma State UniversityJacque’s story: The career paths I followed, usually with purpose, sometimes a-stumble, sometimes backwards, provided the most rewarding activities imaginable, in which I was supported by colleagues, mentors, students, postdocs, technicians, co-authors, and family. At the University of Illinois, when the ‘viruses’ we thought were causing horseradish brittleroot disease in Illinois turned out to be spiroplasmas, we studied how these weird wall-less bacteria travel in winged entomological vehicles. At Oklahoma State University, when the phytoplasma we suspected was causing cucurbit yellow vine turned out to be the ubiquitous Serratia marcescens we studied what defined a plant pathogen. APS participation enriched my career through service, networking and experiences, leading to a significant career change. Representing APS in national responses to 9-11 and anthrax showed the need for plant pathology to address new national needs in agricultural biosecurity, and ultimately the National Institute for Microbial Forensics & Food and Agricultural Biosecurity emerged at OSU, still going strong. As my career continues to evolve, I find great satisfaction by participating in international scientific diplomacy.
A Conversation with Pathologist of Distinction Bill Fry: Messages from a Maverick, Model Microbe Bill Fry, Professor, Cornell UniversityBill’s story: The maverick model microbe is Phytophthora infestans. My association with this oomycete began when I, as an assistant professor with background in chemistry and biochemistry, began a faculty position in which my teaching responsibilities included developing a course on plant disease control (about which I was dramatically ignorant) and conducting appropriate research (again with dramatic ignorance). I needed to learn about disease control fast! I also needed a system in which I could address questions in epidemiology and disease control. Because senior faculty in the department already had experience with P. infestans and because they were willing to help an ignorant colleague, I initiated research on P. infestans. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher. The messages have been diverse, sometimes devious, and sometimes brutal. They have involved epidemiology, population genetics, humanity, and host-pathogen interactions. I’ll share some of these messages.
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