Sara Villani, candidate for the Plant Pathologist position at the HVRL, presenting on February 12th at 3:30 PM.

Villani,Sara_2 Sara Villani, a candidate for the Senior Extension Associate / Plant Pathologist position at the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory will be meeting with growers on February 12 at 3:30 PM. She will be presenting on “Practical resistance to DMI fungicides in Venturia inaequalis and additional disease management challenges at the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory”. She welcomes your comments and questions regarding her research and future work with the Hudson Valley Fruit Industry following her presentation. The presentation will end there after to be followed by a formal interview with search committee members.

The presentation will also be presented live via Polycom conferencing to Cornell University locations in Geneva, Ithaca and Riverhead, NY.

The incoming plant pathologist will be replacing Dr. Dave Rosenberger, recently retired in February 2014. During his retirement and the transition of the Hudson Valley Laboratory to increasing partnership with the fruit growing industry, Dave has continued to serve the region’s tree fruit growers with disease management advise and recommendations through his timely blog site.

Sara is presently completing her PhD requirements at Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology. Sara’s research and extension experience has focused largely on fungal and bacterial diseases of apples and stone fruit with an emphasis on understanding the mechanisms that lead to the development of field or practical resistance to fungicides in tree fruit pathogens. Sara’s web site for more information on her work.

Her professional training and Ph.D. research at Cornell University has centered on elucidating molecular mechanisms of single-site fungicide resistance in the apple scab pathogen, Venturia inaequalis and investigating the environmental, biological, and production factors that contribute to the development of field or practical resistance to fungicides.

Her research have been largely driven by a strong desire to help growers, extension personnel, and crop consultants, faced with multiple fungicide resistance and few remaining options, to manage apple diseases in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. She has also been involved in small fruit or berry pathology with emphasis on fungal, stramenopile, and bacterial disease diagnostics of Ribes and blueberry. Her experience with these diverse fruit production systems has provided insight into general fruit production concerns to frame research and professional objectives to meet grower interests and demands. The collaborative relationships formed with extension faculty and with extension agents throughout the northeastern United States have provided the opportunity for Sara to communicate her research and extension efforts to fruit industry stakeholders at fruit schools, on-site field presentations, and regional fruit tours.

Sara has worked under Dr. Kerik Cox in numerous tree fruit and berry extension projects and other professional activities that include reviewing for Plant Disease, preparing manuscripts, preparing grant proposals, coordinating and presenting fungicide efficacy trials to industry representatives. Under Dr. Cox’s supervision Sara has mentored nine different undergraduate research scholars, assisted with the mentoring of three graduate students, and supervised over twenty summer employees.

In 2014, the New York State Apple Research and Development Program funded Sara’s proposal to examine the extent of chemical damage to apple fruit and foliage following the application of tank mixtures of newly-released fungicide products and spray adjuvants. This effort was developed in direct response to stakeholder concerns over widespread chemical injury in apples the previous season.

We welcome Sara as a very strong candidate for the plant pathology position and invite the Hudson Valley Growers to join us in her presentation on Thursday, February 12 at 3:30PM in the Hudson Valley Laboratory conference room.