Lab members

Dr. Cassandra L. Swett

Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist-Vegetable and Field Crop Pathology
Department of Plant Pathology
University of California, Davis
Phone: 530-752-3377

Publications via Research Gate


Dr. Johanna Del Castillo Munera

Assistant Project Scientist

Ph.D., Plant Pathology, Michigan State University
M.S. Biological Sciences, Univ. de los Andes
B.S. Microbiology, Univ. de los Andes

Dr. Kelley Paugh

Postdoctoral Research Scientist, NIFA postdoctoral Fellow


Ph.D., Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis
B.S., Biological Sciences, Fungal Biology and Ecology minor, University of California, Davis

Areas of interest: Soilborne plant disease, cultural practices for disease management, fungal biology and ecology, extension plant pathology.
Primary research focus: Investigating cryptic infections by Fusarium oxysporum, survival biology of soilborne fungal pathogens, and the effect of deficit irrigation on fungal and oomycete disease risk in greenhouse and field crop production.

Dr. Megan McCaghey

Postdoctoral Research Scientist, NIFA postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Plant Pathology (Plant Breeding minor), University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S., International Agricultural Development (Plant Pathology concentration), University of California- Davis
B.A., Environmental Studies (Social-Cultural emphasis and Biology minor), Hendrix College

Areas of interest: Broadly, I am interested in translational, lab-to-field research questions and extension pertaining to host-fungal pathogen interactions; fungal ecology and epidemiology; integrated disease management strategies; and developing crop disease resistance through breeding and biotechnological approaches.
Primary research focus: Developing information systems and integrated strategies to manage Southern blight, caused by the fungal pathogen Sclerotium rolfsii, with applications to conventional and organic vegetable production.

Justine Beaulieu

PhD Student, Western SARE Graduate Fellow


M.S., Plant Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park
B.S., Environmental Science and Policy (Environment and Agriculture), University of Maryland, College Park

Areas of interest: Soil borne fungal and oomycete ecology, fungal-root interactions, water management and drought stress as relates to plant disease, plant disease predisposition, vegetable crop pathology, diagnostics, extension

Primary research focus: Elucidating the relationship between drought stress and soil borne pathogens in processing tomatoes.


Myles Collinson

PhD Student

B.S., Cornell University

Areas of interest: TBD



Alyssa Brackrog

Master’s Student
B.S., Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry, University of California, Davis
Areas of interest: Field and greenhouse crop cultivation, plant pathology diagnostics, plant-fungal interactions, disease management, sustainable agriculture, scientific outreach and extension.
Primary research focus: Identifying new genetic material with potential for genetic resistance and evaluating cultivar-based management strategies for Fusarium falciforme on tomatoes.


Aimee Hopkins

Junior Research Specialist

B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from University of California, Davis

Areas of Interest: Ecological relationships between fungi and plants, finding sustainable and safe disease management practices.


Emma Centeno

Field and Greenhouse Manager
Education: B.S.,Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, UC Davis

Areas of Interest: Permaculture-based systems, sustainable food production systems, carbon sequestration, agroecology, and water management


Brian Caine

Junior Specialist
Areas of Interest: TBD

Megan Gastelum

Laboratory Technician

Mariana Suguieda

Laboratory Technician

Daisy Huang

Laboratory Technician
Research interns

Merissa Washalaski. Plant Pathology Internship. Screening potatoes for resistance to tuber rot caused by Sclerotium/Athelia rolfsii. Co-mentors: Drs. Swett and McCaghey

Jesica Calderon. GDB Internship. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on ornamentals-first report. Mentor: Dr. Del Castillo

Ana Calderon. GDB Internship. Effect of compost amendments on pathogen-suppressive microbes. Co-mentors: Drs. Swett and Paugh

Current undergraduate student technicians

Forrest Wilcox

Ana Calderon

Fernando Rodriguez

Kacey Zimmerman

Kelly Flores

Rachel Hallmark

Anne-Marie Yang

Hannah Josifek

Laurel Schmidt

Sarah Suriano

Past Members

Merissa Washalaski, Anni Divney, Alma Orellana, Megan Kozel, Harrison Powell, Jesica Calderon, Elver Lopez Raymundo, Cooper Calvin, Gregory Sugawara, Mrinalini Narayan, Alicja Bednarska, Melanie Belk, Karla Espinoza, Erin Helpio, Heather Johnson, Andi Bourquin, Emily Hain, Rino Oguchi, Alexa Soto, Sydnie Koontz, Nyny Vu

Past Visitors

Sophia Callahan (University of Melbourne)