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Bernardo A. Latorre
Bernardo Antonio Latorre, currently a Full Professor of Phytopathology at the Faculty of Agronomy of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, was born in Santiago de Chile. After receiving his Ingeniero Agrónomo degree from the Universidad de Chile in 1969, he assumed a position as Auxiliary Professor at that institution, where he remained for 3 years until undertaking graduate studies in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California at Davis. He obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1973 and 1975, respectively, and then returned to the Universidad de Chile as a full faculty member. While in this position, he took a 2-year leave that enabled him to do postdoctoral research work in the lab of Dr. Alan L. Jones at Michigan State University. In 1980, he assumed a new position on the Faculty at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
His interest in Plant Pathology grew from his contact with Professor Sergio F. Nome at the Universidad de Chile and his decision to focus on tree fruit pathology was consolidated while working toward his Ph.D. degree in California. Over the course of his career, Dr. Latorre has investigated a wide range of diseases affecting pome fruits, stone fruits, tree nuts, berry crops, kiwifruit, and grapes. In addition to documenting numerous diseases in his country for the first time, he has conducted and published many additional in-depth studies on disease etiology, epidemiology, and control. Included in this category are postharvest diseases, especially on table grapes, canker diseases of stone fruit, apple trees, grapevines, and blueberries. Among other research studies, he determined the role of several species of
as causal agents of canker diseases affecting blueberries in Chile.
Dr. Latorre has also contributed to the determination of the etiology of Phytophthora root and crown rots of grapes, apples, stone fruits, raspberries, kiwifruit, citrus, and horticultural crops. Along with Dr. W.F. Wilcox, he identified six species of
affecting raspberry in Chile, including
, a very aggressive species of quarantine importance that was identified for the first time in Latin America. Additionally, Dr. Latorre has worked on Verticillium wilts of grape, avocado, and raspberry; mycotoxins of grapes and their resulting wines; and bacterial diseases, most importantly those caused by
on stone fruits but also
His studies on disease control have included efficacy and specific properties of various fungicides, and the development of fungicide resistance, especially in
on table grapes. He determined and characterized
strains resistant to dicarboxamide, anilinopyrimidine and carboximide fungicides in Chile, a finding which served as an early warning to farmers, suggesting that the exclusive use of these fungicides was potentially unsafe for long term control of Botrytis bunch rot. Recently, his work on the etiology of the blossom blast of Japanese plums has led to the discovered of
sp. nov., information that was recently published in Phytopathology. He has also worked on the development and evaluation of new Chilean-based forecasting systems for Botrytis bunch rot, European apple canker and pear blossom blast in addition to the evaluation of international models for grapevine powdery mildew and apple scab under local conditions; and biological control options.
As a result of his research, Dr. Latorre has published 127 scientific articles in peer review journals; he holds two patents and has presented his nearly 100 articles in scientific meetings in Chile, USA and other countries. In addition, Dr. Latorre has published nearly 60 articles in national and regional trade journals and other industry outlets focusing on his specialties; he has written 11 book chapters; and has published “ Enfermedades de las Plantas Cultivadas” (Diseases of Cultivated Plants), a textbook now in its 6th edition that has long been a standard in its field in Latin America.
Dr. Latorre’s responsibilities and contributions extend well beyond those in research and outreach to include classroom teaching and advising/mentoring roles for both undergraduate and graduate students. Over the course of his career, he has taught the undergraduate courses in introductory plant pathology and diseases of fruit crops, diagnostic-epidemiology- control and fungicide management for graduate students at his university. He has mentored over 100 undergraduate students and has directed the thesis projects of nearly 20 graduate students, many of whose results have been incorporated into his technical reports and research publications.
In recent years, Dr. Latorre’s university has instituted a doctorate course of study, and in addition to serving as the first Director of that program across the university, he has also directed the individual research projects of seven of his own students. Dr. Latorre further served in an administrative capacity as Chair of his own academic department for two terms in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Dr. Latorre’s served as technical editor of “Ciencia e Investigación Agraria” (Science and Agricultural Research), an indexed scientific journal of international scope, between 2001 and 2014 and he is a frequent reviewer of manuscripts for Plant Disease, Crop Protection, and other scientific journals of his specialty.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Latorre has participated in numerous national and international technical and advisory committees. He participated, as plant pathologist expert, in nearly ten missions organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in different Latin American and Caribbean countries in the 80's; he has been member of university accreditation committees in Chile and Argentina, he has served as scientific expert for the International Trade Organization (WTO) in 2008-2009 and he served a member in various committee at the “Comisión Nacional de investigación Científica y Tecnológica” (National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research). Additionally, Dr. Latorre has visited several universities and research institutes in numerous countries where he had the opportunity to interact with local plant pathologists.
In 1997, he received the “Carlos Porter” award from the “Colegio de Ingenieros Agronómos de Chile”(Chilean Association of Agriculture Engineers) for his scientific contributions to the agricultural sciences in Chile. He served as President of the Chilean Phytopathological Society from 1993-95.
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