When a new downy mildew disease began to destroy impatiens, the number one bedding plant, in the New York landscape in fall 2011, we began to work with plant producers and landscapers to ensure that they were all aware of the problem and understood the key facts of its biology—and what this new problem would mean for their businesses. We scheduled informational meetings, prepared fact sheets and a podcast and posted them online, talked to garden writers, wrote articles and gave presentations on the subject at horticultural conferences at the local, state and national levels.
We are developing algal bioenergy as both an alternative to fossil fuels and a source of energy for powering systems that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus reducing the concentrations of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere and decreasing ocean acidification. We are also investigating protein by-products as potential nutritional supplement in animal feeds.
This project seeks to elucidate nutritional, genetic, and nutrient-gene interactions as predictors of tuberculosis susceptibility in early childhood and to establish genetic variants in people with HIV-1 infection that affect iron metabolism and the progression to advanced HIV infection and associated mortality.
Powdery mildews are a remarkably diverse group of fungi that attack many important crops. Their ability to produce vast numbers of infectious spores is the driving force of the disease. In a series of experiments, we identified key wavebands of light that shut down spore production. In effect, we have taken an environmental cue that the fungus uses in spore production and turned it against itself.
Our research uses the soil worm C. elegans as a model to study genes that affect aging. Many genes that affect aging in C. elegans also work in humans. Our research will have impact on human aging and age-related diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegeneration.
The overall goal of the research in my lab is to understand the basis of inheritance in plants by studying the mechanisms of meiosis, particularly pairing of homologous chromosomes and meiotic recombination. Both pairing and recombination are critical for correct segregation of chromosomes into gametes. We want to understand these processes at the molecular level. This basic research will provide a platform for investigations on how meiotic processes can be modified to improve plant breeding methods.
Alfalfa is a major economic crop in New York. It is often grown in rotation with corn where, on dairies, manure is applied to corn fields to meet nitrogen needs and build potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur levels. Questions arise related to the potassium and sulfur needs of alfalfa, given high fertilizer prices and reduced sulfur deposition.
A major infestation of arborvitae leafminer was diagnosed after examination of severe and debilitating defoliation in several stands totaling 50k cv. Nigra arborvitae trees. Pest sampling and monitoring protocols were developed based on live trapping and degree-day accumulations and were used to time several applications of contact and systemic insecticides. The infestation was halted resulting in a wholesale saving of $35/tree or $1.75 million for the grower.
Impact Summary: The Northeastern IPM Center, jointly administered by Cornell University and The Pennsylvania State University, works with New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the New England states. We foster the development and adoption of integrated pest management, managing pests in ways that generate economic, environmental, and human health benefits. We work in partnership with stakeholders from agricultural, urban, and rural settings to identify and address regional priorities for research, education, and outreach.
Grower adoption of Cornell research-based recommendations including narrow plant spacing and alternative mulches dramatically reduce losses from bacterial bulb decay and increase profitability, thus sustaining the small-scale onion industry.