Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Emerging Plant Disesases: Tackling Global Challenges

Date Published: 
July 2, 2013

This series of events, held in April 2013, addressed emerging plant pathology issus of relevance to the international development community.

1) Emerging Plant Diseases in the Context of Ecosystem Services
Speaker: Jean Ristaino
Host: U.S. Department of State
Type: Seminar
Date: April 23, 2013

2) The coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix): Some biological and epidemiological aspects
Speaker: Jacques Avalino
Host: U.S. Agency for International Development
Type: Seminar/Webinar
Date: April 11, 2013

3) From rice pathology research to food security gains: An interview with Jan Leach
Speakers: Jan Leach and Jean Ristaino
Host: Agrilinks
Type: Video Note Interview
Date: April 2013

 4) Seminar on Rice Pathology (to be posted)
Speaker: Jan Leach
Host: U.S. Agency for International Development
Type: Seminar/Webinar; Voice-over-PowerPoint
Date: April 2012

Speaker Bios

Jacques Avalino is a plant pathologist, with a PhD degree of the University of Orsay, Paris, France. He has been working for CIRAD (Centre de coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement), France, since 1986. He is now posted at CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza), Costa Rica, through the coffee network PROMECAFE. He spent almost 27 years conducting research primarily on coffee and cacao pests and diseases in four Mesoamerican countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. He has worked on the coffee rust problem, studying the effects of the environment (including landscape) and of crop management, particularly shade, on this disease.

Jan E. Leach is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and an Adjunct Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (Philippines). She is an authority on the molecular biology of plant– pathogen interactions. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of durable disease resistance, particularly in rice-pathogen interactions. Other projects currently underway in her laboratory are related to bioenergy (genetics of biomass production), improving health benefits of crop plants, and the development of novel tools for detection and monitoring of microbes associated with plants. She is a Fellow and a past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She currently chairs the APS Public Policy Board. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), served as Chair of the AAAS Section O (Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources) in 2007, and is currently a member of the Section O Steering Committee. Leach is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Prior to her appointment at CSU, Dr. Leach was named a University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University in 1998. She served as President of the International Society of Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions. Leach has served on or chaired advisory committees for a number of national and international projects, programs and institutions, including the U.S. Rice Genome Sequencing Project, the Research Core for Interdisciplinary Science (RCIS) at Okayama University (Japan), Rural Development Agency (Korea), and a National Research Council (NRC) study. Leach earned her B.S. and M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a postdoctoral fellow at East Malling Research Station in Kent, England.

Jean Ristaino is a William Neal Reynolds Professor of Plant Pathology at NC State University and is serving as a senior science advisor in the Bureau of Food Security, Office of Agriculture Research and Policy (BFS/ARP) at USAID. She helped launch the Borlaug Higher Education Agriculture Research Development Program in Feed the Future countries. She works with the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) on human and institutional capacity development and implementation of BIFADS’s review of the Cooperative Research Support Program (CRSP). She has led USAID efforts to develop a strategy for coffee rust research in Central America. She is on the interagency panel on plant genomics and helped to write the strategic plan. She has developed a research coordination network of US scientists who will serve as mentors to train African women to combat emerging plant diseases that impact their food security.


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