Program Emphasis: Integrated Pest Management and Insect Ecology
Our research focus is on the ecology and management of plant parasitic nematode pests of citrus and the ecology of entomopathogenic nematodes and their potential role in citrus IPM. Specific projects relate to the phylogenetics of plant parasitic nematodes; population assessment of nematode and insect pests; crop loss assessment; soilborne foodweb dynamics; and IPM tactics.
My research program focuses on the biology and microbial ecology of insect vectors of plant diseases. Currently, I am investigating transmission of the Huanglongbing (HLB) pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Las) by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri,to further the development of successful ACP management programs. Aspects of this research include evaluating the effects of Las on ACP fitness and investigating the distribution.
My research focuses on development of integrated management strategies for insect pest control. Although citrus is the focal commodity for my current research program, I extensively collaborate with colleagues on research projects involving insect pests of temperate tree fruit, small fruit (both temperate and tropical), as well as in other agricultural commodities such as ornamental plants and vegetables.
Research focuses on microbial food safety and quality, emphasizing the microbiology of fruit juices, fresh fruits and vegetables and tree nuts. Extension Specialist for citrus processing issues - work with processors and packers to enhance quality, safety and value of processed citrus products.
Research focuses on food chemistry and quality, emphasizing the flavor (aroma and taste) of fruits, herbs and other agricultural commodities. Usage of citrus by-products for flavor modulation and health benefit is also an interest of mine. Extension responsibility includes working with growers and processors to improve quality, particularly flavor of citrus products.
My program works mainly with the development and the deployment of CTV infectious clones for basic science research and practical purposes (HLB/Asian citrus psyllid control).
Extension responsibilities focus on integrated management and control measures for citrus canker and citrus greening with additional responsibilities for fungal pathogens. Research projects include better understanding the biology of both bacterial and fungal pathogens to lead to enhanced control.
My research interests focus on the biology of pathogen-vector interfaces. Interactions between vector and pathogen vary from simple mechanical transmission to intricate interactions where the pathogens must develop and multiply within vectors.
My general area of interest is the biology of pathogen-host interactions. The lab's main research focus is the biology and molecular characteristics of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) infection, and identification of the molecular and cellular events which underlie the virus' ability to infect and spread within a plant.
Develop and implement sustainable strategies that optimize water management for citrus production, conservation of water, and water quality.
To identify soil spatial variability, its causes, and impacts on the environment, citrus growth, nutrition and yield.
Plant-bacteria interactions, genetic improvement of citrus via CRISPR/Cas genome editing, and citrus bacterial diseases (Huanglongbing and Canker).
I am currently working on evaluating different economic aspects related to the adoption of technology and management strategies to enhance growers’ productivity and profitability; particularly for the case of citrus greening (Huanglongbing, HLB).