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A Balancing Act: Development, Validation and Dissemination of Methods for Regulatory Plant Pathogens

​Join us for Part 2 of our series Technology Transfer: From The Lab To The Diagnostician’s Bench.​

Date: April 29 | 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (Central Time) ​​

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Why is this important?

​​The APHIS PPQ Science and Technology (S&T) Laboratory’s mission is to develop, adapt, validate, implement, deploy, and use advanced biochemical and molecular methods for the detection of high consequence plant pathogens, including APHIS Select Agents and regulated plant pathogens. S&T scientists validate plant pathogen diagnostic methods to assure their performance and fit for purpose in regulatory programs. The Laboratory deploys cutting-edge diagnostic methods and uses these and other methods to accurately and rapidly diagnose and differentiate high consequence and select agent plant pathogens that require federal confirmation.

 Join the conversation on:

  • Validated protocols: essential for accurate detection of regulatory plant pathogens and preventing unnecessary regulatory action.
  • Standards and metrics for assay validation: how variability in methods, purpose, and targeted organisms can complicate the validation process. ​
  • Method improvement: a necessary component for long-term quality assurance and providing confidence in diagnostic methods.

Speaker 1: John C. Bienapfl

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Dr. John Bienapfl is a Molecular Biologist at the USDA APHIS PPQ Science and Technology (S&T) Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. He has expertise in molecular diagnostics and identification of fungal and oomycete plant pathogens, including those of regulatory significance for the USA. He has led projects on the development and validation of methods for detection of high-consequence pathogens such as Phytophthora ramorum, P. quercina, and the Triticum pathotype of Magnaporthe oryzae (causal agent of Wheat Blast). Since joining the Beltsville Lab in 2012, he has produced several validated protocols and has participated in validation working groups and committees. He also leads annual training workshops for NPDN members on Phytophthora diagnostics and routinely fields questions on Phytophthora detection and identification. Prior to joining the Beltsville Lab, he conducted his postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland studying the movement of Phytophthora species in nursery trade. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and his undergraduate and M.S. degrees from Oregon State University.

Speaker 2: Yazmin Rivera

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Dr. Yazmín Rivera is a Molecular Biologist at the USDA APHIS PPQ Science and Technology Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. She has expertise in genomics, population genetics and molecular diagnostics of plant pathogens. Currently, she is leading pr​ojects using high throughput sequencing or next generation sequencing (HTS/NGS) as a diagnostic tool for virus detection for samples of regulatory importance; generation of better genomic resources through HTS/NGS to support plant pathogen diagnostic methods; as well as evaluating new diagnostic methods and technologies. Since 2016, she has generated and released several new genomes for plant pathogens, evaluated technologies such as LAMP and MINION, and participated on efforts to standardize protocols and guidelines. Before joining APHIS, Dr. Rivera worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at USDA ARS studying Boxwood blight fungi and Downy mildews on ornamental hosts. Dr. Rivera obtained her doctoral degree from SUNY- College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, and her MS and BS from UPR-Mayaguez Campus in her native Puerto Rico. ​

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