Wayne Wilcox is a native of the San Joaquin Valley, CA. He was awarded the B.S. in pomology and M.S. and Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of California-Davis. Between 1982 and 1984, Dr. Wilcox worked as assistant extension plant pathologist for the University of Kentucky at the West Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton. In 1984, he accepted a research and extension faculty appointment with responsibilities for diseases of tree fruit and berry crops in the Department of Plant Pathology at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station of Cornell University in Geneva, New York.
Dr. Wilcox’s principal professional interests and contributions are in the areas of etiology, epidemiology, and control of fungal diseases of fruit crops. Wayne is highly regarded worldwide for his research and considered by his colleagues as one of the best practicing fruit pathologists. He is widely known and respected for his work on Phytophthora diseases of raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, peach, cherry, and apple. He has also made strong research contributions in the areas of gray mold of strawberry, brown rot of cherry, and apple scab. In 1995, his primary commodity responsibility was changed to focus on diseases of grapevines.
The major theme of Dr. Wilcox’s research has been contributing to knowledge of the biology of fruit crop pathogens and development of these research findings into disease management practices. Dr. Wilcox’s research contributions on the biology of Phytophthora have allowed him to broaden the scope of his work to include biological control of Phytophthora with Trichoderma and Gliocladium spp., development of a sensitive and repeatable assay for enumeration of population densities of Phytophthora cactorum in orchard soils, and demonstration of the utility of protein electrophoresis and isozyme analysis for assisting in the identification of Phytophthora spp. Many of these contributions have resulted from strong collaborative efforts with graduate students and national and international colleagues.
In 1989, Dr. Wilcox published a definitive paper on the epidemiology of brown rot blossom blight of sour cherry. This contribution documented the progression of inoculum development in the field and the impact of inoculum levels in determining temperature and wetness durations necessary for disease. More recent findings on the epidemiology of this disease include a description of the role of humidity during the incubation process.
In addition to Dr. Wilcox’s excellence in research, he has also contributed significantly in his role as extension pathologist. Examples include contributions to the APS Compendia on Diseases of Grapes, Brambles, and Apples and Pears; Disease Scouting and Management Manual for Bramble Production; and Key to the Identification and Diagnosis of Bramble Problems. These outreach initiatives are designed to assure a viable fruit industry and enhance an overall understanding of the discipline of phytopathology.