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Plum Pox Potyvirus Contributors

Dr. Laurene Levy

USDA-APHIS, National Plant Germplasm Quarantine Center
BARC-East, Bldg 580
Beltsville, MD 20705
ph. 301-504-7157
fx. 301-504-8539

Laurene Levy received her undergraduate degree in biology in 1982 from Loma Linda University in California. She received her Masters degree in 1984 from the University of California, Riverside in Plant Science. In 1990, she received her Ph.D. from University of California, Riverside in Plant Pathology under the guidance of Dr. David Gumpf. Dr. Levy accepted a research associate position with USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD in the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory (NGRL) in 1990 to develop molecular detection techniques for the plum pox potyvirus which resulted in the development of a PPV-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test used for fingerprinting PPV in infected tissue. Dr. Levy was, and still is involved, with, the development of PPV-resistant transgenic plum in association with Drs. Scorza, Damsteegt, and Callahan, USDA-ARS.

In 1994, Dr. Levy accepted a position with USDA-APHIS, PPQ in the Beltsville Methods Development Laboratory located within the National Plant Germplasm Quarantine Center (NPGQC). Dr. Levy applies and conducts research associated with the detection and identification, delimitation, and eradication of pathogens foreign to the US. In the past Dr. Levy has aided the National Karnal Bunt Program by molecular confirmation tests during the Karnal bunt (Tilletia indica) National survey, and the development of a PCR-RFLP test to differentiate Karnal bunt from a look-a-like fungus (Tilletia walkeri). Dr. Levy has been involved with the efforts by APHIS in the Florida Citrus Canker Program by co-ordinating a grant panel to provide over $750,000.00 in research funds to scientists in the state of Florida in 1999. Dr. Levy's focus in APHIS, and over the last 10 years, has been the detection of plum pox virus by serological and molecular methods, understanding the molecular and biological strain diversity of plum pox, and contributing to the collaborative effort by USDA and APHIS in the development of resistant plum through the use of transgenic technology

Vernon D. Damsteegt
USDA-ARS, Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit
1301 Ditto Avenue
Fort Detrick, MD 21702
ph. 301-619-7307
fax 301-619-2880

Vern Damsteegt received his undergraduate degree in biology from Central College (Iowa) and a PhD from Washington State University, Pullman, WA in 1962, with a major in Plant Pathology and minor in Genetics. Following graduation, he spent one year on a post-doctoral fellowship with the U.S. Army Bio-Labs at Fort Detrick studying the effects of mutagenic agents on the genome of Puccinia striiformis. For 8 additional years he studied epidemiological characteristics of several plant viruses attacking sugarcane, corn, wheat, soybeans, and tobacco for the U.S. Army Biolabs. In 1971, he joined the Agricultural Research Service to study the potential of exotic plant viruses attacking maize, soybeans, wheat, and several other agronomic crops to enter and become established in the continental U.S, and methods of detection and control. During the past 10 years he has concentrated on graft-transmissible agents which have been reported on Prunus species but have not been reported in the U.S. His research includes identification and characterization of the Prunus disease agents, development of diagnostic laboratory tests and indicator species for the Prunus viruses, arthropod transmission of Prunus and Citrus disease-causing agents, and contributions to a collaborative effort in development of plum pox resistant plums with colleagues in APHIS, ARS, and INRA.

The exotic nature of his subject of research (foreign disease agents) requires that all biological studies relating to them be conducted in quarantine containment facilities (BL3-P biosafety level) with rigid adherence to protocols insuring that pathogens do not escape. Importation and research on all pathogens and propagative materials are subject to approval (quarantine permit) issued by APHIS and the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Ralph Scorza, Ph.D.
UDSA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station
45 Wiltshire Rd.
Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430
ph. 304 725-3451 ext. 322
fax 304 728-2340

Ralph Scorza received his undergraduate degree in agronomy at the University of Florida. After a tour in the Peace Corps in the Amazon region of Brazil, working with tropical fruit production, he returned to the University of Florida and received his Masters degree in the Department of Fruit Crops. He received his PhD. from Purdue University in Plant Genetics and Breeding under the guidance of Dr. Jules Janick. Following an assignment in Bolivia, where he worked for the University of Florida, Dr. Scorza was hired by the USDA as a stone fruit breeder at the USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville. Dr. Scorza has been at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station since 1980. He has released Sentry and Bounty peaches, now widely grown in the northeastern U.S., Earliscarlet nectarine, and, most recently, Bluebyrd plum. Dr. Scorza has developed new columnar growth habit peaches for high-density production systems and these are currently under test in a number of states.

In the mid 1980’s Dr. Scorza initiated a tree fruit biotechnology program at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station to supplement conventional breeding for variety development. The program has developed gene transfer systems for plum, grape, and pear. Aware of the potential consequences of an introduction of plum pox virus into the U.S., Dr. Scorza initiated a program to develop plum pox virus resistant transgenic plums. Gene transfer has also been utilized by the Appalachian Fruit Research Station breeding program to develop transgenic dwarf pears, and transgenic disease resistant pears and grapes. Genomic mapping to speed variety development has also been an area of research in the breeding program. 

Maria Kölber, Director
Virological Laboratory
Plant Health and Soil Conservation Station
Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture
Budaorsi ut 141-145
P.O. Box 127
H-1118 Budapest, Hungary
Ph 36-1-246-2957
Fx 36-1-246-2942

Engineer of Horticulture, 1973 (=BSc)
University of Horticulture, Budapest, Hungary
Special Engineer of Plant Protection (Plant Pathology= MSc) 1977
University of Horticulture, Budapest, Hungary
University Doctor (PhD) in Horticulture, 1985
University of Horticulture, Budapest, Hungary

Since 1979, Dr. Kolber has been working on different aspects of viruses on fruit trees and grapevines. Since 1992 she has functioned as the head of the Virological laboratory at the Plant Health and Soil Conservation Station of the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development. The main focus of her lab is the development of sensitive detection methods for quarantine and economically important viruses and phytoplasmas, and to improve the certification schemes for production of virus-free grape and other propagative materials. She leads and participates in several National and International research projects in the above stated research areas, as well as coordinating the Virological laboratories within the Hungarian plant protection network. She is a long-standing member of several of the following groups: ISHS Working Group on Fruit Tree Viruses, Sharka Working Group, COST 88, COST 823, EPPO Panel on Fruit Tree Crop Certification, and the ICVG.