​​Don't miss these special sessions at Plant Health 2024!

Advancing Technology

​​Advancing Mycotoxin Management: Innovations and Global Strategies in a Changing Environment

In the current era marked by rapid technological advancements and environmental changes, the management of mycotoxins presents unique challenges and opportunities. This session, organized by the Mycotoxicology Committee, aims to explore the forefront of mycotoxin management strategies, emphasizing innovative technologies and global collaboration. We will delve into advanced detection methods, novel mitigation techniques, and the role of climate change in altering mycotoxin dynamics. ​

Applications of Nanotechnology, Biosensor, and Microfluidics in Plant Pathogen Detection

The session will focus on the principles and applications of nanotechnology for the detection of plant pathogens and diseases. ​Advancements in the development and applications of nanotechnology, biosensors, and microfluidics are rapidly in other fields and those of us in plant pathology need to understand better the underlying principles and then leverage them for plant pathogen and disease detection through collaboration with the experts in the fields.  These technologies when adopted world-wide could have significant impact on global management of plant diseases and food security. 

Engineering Solutions to Forest Pathogen Invasions

Forest pathogens and pests cause detrimental ecological and economic consequences worldwide. The effects of these epidemics and outbreaks are often so destructive due to our inability to detect, monitor, and respond rapidly to pests and pathogens. However, new technologies have been developed for early disease detection, resistance screening, and disease biosurveillance that will allow forest managers to combat the latency period between detection and response. By the end of this session, attendees will understand the current and developing technologies in biosurveillance using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), spectral-based technologies for disease detection and resistance screening, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for monitoring and predicting disease spread.​

Translating the Science of High Throughput Sequencing to Seeds

The goal of this symposium is to provide guidance for plant pathologists embarking on the use of high throughput sequencing (HTS) to detect seedborne pathogens and the associated seedborne microflora. The symposium will cover information from experts in relation to the applications of HTS for detection and identification of plant pathogens and for assessing the role of microbial communities at influencing the risk of seed transmission of these pathogens. The session will review the implications, pitfalls, and uses of HTS for detection of seedborne pathogens, and how to translate results into risk assessment and relevant management and regulatory decisions for seedborne and seed-transmitted pathogens.​

Disruptive Technology

Genome Edited Disease Resistant Crops: Moving Towards the Market​​

Innovations in agriculture are vital if we are to meet the demands for food and fiber of a growing world population and address the impacts of climate change on land use and crop productivity. As scientists and innovators, we need to bring these innovations to market in a more responsible and efficient way than ever before to meet sustainability goals in agriculture. This session will highlight key practical and technical developments in the field of genom​e edited disease resistant crops and the opportunities and challenges of getting such products successfully introduced into the market. 

Innovative Approaches in Plant Disease Epidemiology: Navigating Challenges in a Technologically Driven Era

The rapidly evolving field of plant disease epidemiology is at a crucial intersection where innovative technologies meet emerging global challenges. This session aims to showcase how cutting-edge technological advancements are revolutionizing our approach to understanding, monitoring, and managing plant diseases, particularly under the pressing realities of climate change and sustainability concerns. We begin by exploring the transformative role of machine learning in predicting disease outbreaks. Our focus then shifts to proximal and remote sensing technologies, potential game-changers in disease surveillance. Further, we examine the impacts of climate change on plant disease dynamics. Finally, we round out the session by discussing sustainable, technology-driven strategies for disease management. 

To AI or Not to AI: The Future of Educational Outreach and Extension in Modern Times

This session delves into the transformative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Extension Services with special focus on Plant Pathology. Through this session, we propose to provide a big picture overview of this innovative technology, opportunities it presents in Extension and Research for improved efficiency and effectiveness, applications in various cropping systems, how AI can be leveraged to address current limitations in Extension services, potential challenges in AI implementation and trade-offs, including ethical considerations, societal implications discussing balance between innovation and responsible implementation, and APS Councils’ perspectives and initiatives involving AI. This session will also provide opportunities for interactive discussion among the attendees on the topics; and equip participants with the knowledge and resources to contribute to the integration of AI in extension services, while inspiring a commitment to responsible and impactful AI application within the community.

Emerging Diseases

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Challenges and Ramifications of Using High Throughput Sequencing for Virus Discovery

With the widespread use of high throughput sequencing (HTS), there has been an acceleration in the discovery of viruses, sometimes unintentionally. This enormous amount of sequencing data has vastly expanded the known plant-associated virome. However, many outstanding questions remain as to the biological relevance of the discovered sequences and their relationship to plant disease. In this panel discussion we will explore the responsibilities and consequences of virus discovery using HTS, including evidence criteria for establishing virus presence and infection beyond just the sequence. We will also address the challenges in maintaining these standards when publishing first reports, and the regulatory consequences of preliminary virus detection via HTS and the subsequent reports.

Global Plant Pathology

Agrosecurity in a Global Economy: Careers to Protect Plant Health and Secure our Future

The security of plant systems, whether natural or managed, is challenged by a plethora of pathogens and pests.  In its broadest sense the term, ‘biosecurity’ encompasses the full range of such threats and our efforts to minimize, mitigate and recover from them.  Areas of significant biosecurity concern include threats caused by the inadvertent introduction of exotic pathogens and pests into a new locations and the threat of deliberate introduction of pathogens or pests by individuals, groups or states.  Minimizing the impacts of such threats requires robust efforts in prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Plant health professionals are essential to all these efforts.

There is Nothing Permanent Except Change: An Exploration of How the Endangered Species Act will Change Fungicide Registrations and Applications

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed by Congress in 1973 with a purpose to conserve endangered and threatened species and their ecosystems. As part of its role in implementing the ESA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures that the use of pesticides is not likely to jeopardize federally threatened or endangered species or destroy or adversely modify their critical habitats. As part of this process, the potential ecological risks from the use of pesticides must be assessed when new pesticides are being registered or when registrations of currently used pesticides are being reviewedThis session will explore the ESA and its impact on  registrations of new fungicides, registration reviews of existing fungicides, and in-field applications of fungicides. 

Impact of Climate Change

More Sustainable World Through the Lens of Regenerative Agriculture, Supported by Bayer

In the recent years, regenerative agriculture has taken a center stage. At Bayer, we believe that regenerative agriculture is broadening our sustainability approach aimed at “producing more and restoring more”. Our vision is that regenerative agriculture is future of farming, and it will play an increasingly important role in supporting food security and sustainable food production in the face of climate change. We define regenerative agriculture by a set of outcome-based production system to drive a solution-oriented approach to increase productivity with nature positive benefits. We have lined up a diverse line of leaders and topics to showcase innovations that are paving our vision of evidence-supported outcomes of regenerative practices. 

​Increasing Collaborations and Communication

Diversifying the Disease Control Toolbox: Integrating Biologicals and Conventional Chemistry to Improve Disease Management Programs​

​Conventional synthetic fungicides have been the cornerstone of successful disease control for decades. However, with changes in public perception and with it, the regulatory environment, safety of conventional chemistries is being reassessed. Many conventionals are facing restrictions and bans, and the overall focus is shifting to biological products, which are perceived as safer. Despite increased attention that industry and academia have given to biological products, inconsistent efficacy, higher price point, greater complexity to use, and other factors have prevented biologicals from becoming a staple in crop protection programs. The primary goal of this session is to provide the attendees with current knowledge regarding the challenges and benefits associated with mixtures of conventional and biological products, as well as programs incorporating both product types. Leading experts that are conducting research involving conventional-biological mixtures and programs will share their findings and discuss considerations for the future of disease control.​

Funding Opportunities: What’s New and What are Some Hidden Opportunities for You!

This session will bring together program staff from four different government related agencies USDA-NIFA, NSF, FFAR and USDA-APHIS that directly support crop-protection related efforts. It will provide a unique opportunity for you to hear about new strategies, programs, and sources of funding relevant to our discipline, and ask questions directly to those associated with leading programs. The opportunities to be discussed will span across a very wide range of topics associated with plant health, sustainability and protecting our agricultural enterprise. It is expected to touch upon current areas relevant to a broad array of plant pathology related professionals in research, extension and education.

Training the Next Generation

Hands-on Approaches for Teaching Plant Pathology to Undergraduates in Generation Z

For educators, connecting with the current generation of students can be a challenging endeavor. Teaching approaches that were once successful are now met with disengaged stares and a lack of connection with students who do not have a background in agriculture or more broadly the sciences. However, engaging this new wave of students is the first essential step needed to develop and train the next generation of plant pathologists. In this session, educators within the APS community will have an opportunity to share effective hands-on activities and experiments with one another. Attendees will learn about innovative teaching strategies, inquiry-based laboratory modules, and online tools, which can be directly incorporated into their courses. As a high impact, low visibility field, it is of utmost importance that we continue to attract students and future researchers to the discipline. ​