Join the lab!

Interested in conducting applied ecological research on fungal plant pathogens? In addressing large scale issues related to water conservation and land use management? In learning about plant pathology extension in agriculture? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Graduate student positions

I am currently recruiting for a graduate student at the PhD level for Fall 2021 admission. As a common theme in all graduate projects in my lab, we study fungal pathogen ecology in order to develop integrated management methods which reduce disease losses.

Fusarium falciforme: a poorly understood pathogen of annual crops with no known management solutions

The focus on this project would be on the emerging pathogen, Fusarium falciforme, which was first identified as a severe vine decline pathogen of tomato in 2017, but has more recently been found to cause disease in diverse crops including pepper, cowpea, pumpkin, melon and possibly hemp in California. There are no known management strategies for F. falciforme although recent studies suggest that some tomato cultivars may be highly tolerant to the pathogen. We are looking for someone interested in conducting field, greenhouse and laboratory-based studies to understand F. falciforme ecology and develop integrated management tools. In this project, you can expect to collaborate with industry through our UC Davis-Tomato Seed Industry Consortium, as well and growers and farm advisors. In addition, all members of my lab are involved in the disease diagnosis services we provide to growers across the state.

Projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Evaluation of wild tomato lines for potential resistance traits
  • Understanding the basis for tomato tolerance, for development of tolerance screening methods
  • Evaluating cultivar tolerance of other susceptible hosts including pumpkin, muskmelon and pepper
  • Understanding the role of pathogen toxins in virulence and symptom expression
  • Understanding the role of root wounding in pathogen infection biology and the relative role of insects and physical wounding in disease epidemiology
  • Elucidating the symptomatic and asymptomatic host range of F. falciforme in crops and weeds
  • Evaluating rotation cash and cover crops for pathogen-enhancing and suppressing effects

To discuss specific research opportunities in the lab, contact me at

Please include some details on your background and specific research areas you might be interested in.

As the applicant pool is often highly competitive, I strongly recommend that prospective students contact me between July and September, prior to submitting their application. I’m looking for someone with least two years previous research experience; at least one year of professional experience beyond the baccalaureate is strongly preferred.

I highly advise you to also contact members of my lab, to calibrate whether my mentoring style will be a fit.

I am always open to assist prospective students in preparing applications for fellowship or scholarship programs (eg., NSF GRFP, EPA-STAR), if you are interested in seeking your own funding.

Click here for details on how to apply to the Plant Pathology graduate program at UC Davis.

Research Internships

We are always looking for motivated undergraduate research assistants and interns. It is typical for undergraduates to start in our lab in technical capacity for one or more quarters (working either for credit or paid) in order to learn the ropes, and then transition to an internship project in a subsequent quarter.  Please email me if you are interested in working in the lab:

Diagnostics internships

If you are currently an undergraduate or graduate student at UC Davis and interested in disease diagnostics,  I offer diagnostics internships to train students in the process of differential diagnosis for plant diseases. Internships are available in spring, summer and fall quarter. Contact me for more information; in your email, indicate that you are interested in a diagnostics internship: