Appendix A
Committee Biographies

Jan E. Leach (Chair), University Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, is recognized for her expertise in molecular plant-microbe interactions. Dr. Leach studies the molecular and physiologic mechanisms for induction and manifestation of resistance in plants, using rice and the bacterial blight pathogen Xanthomas oryzae pv. oryzae as a model host-pathogen interaction system for her research. She is a member of the American Phytopathological Society, the American Society of Plant Physiologists, and former President of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. This past year Dr. Leach was selected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also is a current member of the Advisory Board for the US Rice Genome Sequencing Project. Dr. Leach has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the population biology, genetic diversity, and movement of Xanthomas oryzae pv. oryzae, in addition to several other related research topics. She earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in microbiology from the University of Nebraska, and received a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Pedro Barbosa, Professor of Entomology, University of Maryland College Park, is an expert in theoretical and applied ecology of the natural enemies of insects and trophic level interactions. Dr. Barbosa’s research has helped to demonstrate the multifaceted and essential role of plants in insect herbivore ecology, and it has helped to bring an entomological perspective into the discipline of ecology. Much of his work has focused on the question of whether insects are significant regulators of plant population abundance and distribution. He has published an



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California Agricultural Research Priorities Pierce’s Disease Appendix A Committee Biographies Jan E. Leach (Chair), University Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, is recognized for her expertise in molecular plant-microbe interactions. Dr. Leach studies the molecular and physiologic mechanisms for induction and manifestation of resistance in plants, using rice and the bacterial blight pathogen Xanthomas oryzae pv. oryzae as a model host-pathogen interaction system for her research. She is a member of the American Phytopathological Society, the American Society of Plant Physiologists, and former President of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. This past year Dr. Leach was selected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also is a current member of the Advisory Board for the US Rice Genome Sequencing Project. Dr. Leach has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the population biology, genetic diversity, and movement of Xanthomas oryzae pv. oryzae, in addition to several other related research topics. She earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in microbiology from the University of Nebraska, and received a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Pedro Barbosa, Professor of Entomology, University of Maryland College Park, is an expert in theoretical and applied ecology of the natural enemies of insects and trophic level interactions. Dr. Barbosa’s research has helped to demonstrate the multifaceted and essential role of plants in insect herbivore ecology, and it has helped to bring an entomological perspective into the discipline of ecology. Much of his work has focused on the question of whether insects are significant regulators of plant population abundance and distribution. He has published an

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California Agricultural Research Priorities Pierce’s Disease extensive array of peer-reviewed articles, books, and book chapters on tri-trophic level interactions, in addition to numerous Cooperative Extension Service documents. Dr. Barbosa earned a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Department of Entomology. Michael J. Davis, Professor, University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center, has made significant contributions to our understanding of diseases that affect tropical/subtropical fruit and crops. He has performed a substantial amount of research on plant diseases caused by fastidious prokaryotes. Dr. Davis was the first individual to isolate in pure culture a number of significant fastidious, xylem-inhabiting bacterial plant pathogens, including Xylella fastidiosa. He also was one of the first scientists to clone DNA for diagnostic probes for plant pathogenic phytoplasmas. Dr. Davis’s current research is focused largely on the development of transgenic papaya and sugarcane for disease control. He earned a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Berkeley. David G. Hoel, Distinguished University Professor, Medical University of South Carolina, and Clinical Professor, Department of Radiology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, is recognized for his contributions to epidemiology and environmental medicine. Dr. Hoel also brings special expertise in biostatistics/biometrics, and in general mathematical applications to biology and medicine. He has authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and editorials concerning biometrics, toxicology, and environmental medicine. Dr. Hoel is a past director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Toxicology Program, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. In 1988 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, and in 1997 he received the National Institutes of Health Director’s Award. Dr. Hoel received a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. L. Joe Moffitt, Professor, and Outreach Coordinator, Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is an expert in the applications of economics to biology-based crop protection for production agriculture. A significant amount of his 20 years of research has been on the economics of crop protection, with special emphasis on new technology and biosecurity. Dr. Moffitt also is interested in the applications of biology-based quantitative methods to economics and econometrics. His research and extension/outreach publications address topics such as the economics of pest control, integrated pest management, and international priorities in agricultural extension. Dr. Moffitt earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Alison G. Power, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University, is recognized for her expertise in agroecology. Dr. Power’s research focuses on insect-borne plant pathogens, interactions between agricultural and natural

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California Agricultural Research Priorities Pierce’s Disease ecosystems, biodiversity in managed ecosystems, and tropical ecology. She has worked extensively on the ecology and epidemiology of disease systems such as leafhopper-borne pathogens of maize in Central America, the leafhopper-borne rice tungro virus in Thailand, and the aphid-borne barley yellow dwarf virus in grain crops and wild grass hosts in the U.S. Currently, her research focuses on the role of agricultural practices on the spread of plant diseases in natural ecosystems and in production agricultural systems. Dr. Power currently is Dean of the Graduate School at Cornell University. She also served on the National Research Council Committee on Agricultural Sustainability and the Environment in the Humid Tropics. Dr. Power received a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington, Seattle. Terry L. Root, Senior Fellow, Center for Environmental Science and Policy, Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, is recognized for her work on large-scale ecologic questions. Among her research interests are geographic variation in the population biology and community ecology of species across landscapes, the influence of environmental factors and physiologic demands in shaping the distribution and abundance patterns of species, and the mitigation of detrimental anthropogenic disturbances, by enhancing communications between scientists, policymakers, and the general public. Dr. Root has studied both small- and large-scale ecologic factors such as climate change in shaping the range and distribution of animals. She served on the National Research Council Committee to Evaluate Indicators for Monitoring Aquatic and Terrestrial Environments. Dr. Root earned a Ph.D. in biology from Princeton University. Jack Schultz, Professor, Department of Entomology, The Pennsylvania State University, is an expert in chemical ecology, natural products chemistry, and tri-trophic interactions. Working at The Pennsylvania State University and the Pesticide Research Laboratory of the Department of Entomology, Dr. Schultz studies chemically mediated interactions among plants, insects, microbes, and vertebrate predators, as well as the importance of dynamic plant responses to environmental stimuli. His research encompasses systems including agronomic crops, desert shrubs, and temperate shrubs and trees. In addition to numerous peer-reviewed publications concerning chemical, population, and molecular ecology, Dr. Schultz has made many contributions to GenBank, the major repository of genetic sequences in the U.S. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. William E. Splinter, Professor Emeritus, biological systems engineering, University of Nebraska, is recognized for his expertise in biological engineering. Dr. Splinter invented and developed safer aerial spray systems and improved harvesting systems that have contributed to the strengthening of agriculture. His research interests include computer modeling of the growth rate and development of plants as affected by environmental variables such as light intensity and soil water potential. Dr. Splinter oversaw a project that developed

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California Agricultural Research Priorities Pierce’s Disease instrumentation to measure plant growth rate within a three-minute period of time. He also is interested in the use of ionized field charging of agricultural pesticidal dusts and sprays to reduce the dosage required to control plant diseases and insect pests. Dr. Splinter has taught courses in agriculture and bioresources, biological engineering (plant and animal processes), and ergonomics/human factors. He has authored over 100 technical papers and holds five patents. Currently, Dr. Splinter is serving as Interim Director of the Nebraska State Museum. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984. Brian J. Staskawicz, Professor, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, is an expert in the molecular mechanisms underlying plant resistance to disease pathogens. Dr. Staskawicz is recognized for his use of molecular biologic techniques to clone the genes responsible for plant-pathogen interactions. His laboratory presently is using various model systems—including the interaction of Arabidopsis thaliana, tomato, and pepper—with several phytopathogenic bacteria in the genera Pseudomonas and Xanthomonas. Dr. Staskawicz currently is employing multiples genetic approaches to identify plant genes that control disease resistance to phytopathogenic bacteria. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. Marie-Ann Van Sluys, Associate Professor, Department of Botany, University of São Paulo, Brazil, is recognized for her expertise in the genomic analysis of plant-associated bacteria. Dr. Van Sluys is the co-director of the research team that presented the full genomic sequence of a Pierce’s disease strain of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. She also was among a group of scientists that recently provided a genomic comparison of two Xanthomonas pathogens with different host specificities. Dr. Van Sluys has authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed and extension publications addressing topics such as transposable elements and gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana, genomic organization, and plasmid constructs. She is a member of several scientific professional societies, including the Brazilian Society of Geneticists, the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology, and the American Society of Plant Physiologists. Dr. Van Sluys earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Paris. T. Ulf Westblom, Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Texas A&M System Health Sciences Center, and Chief of Medicine, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, is known for his expertise in microbial pathogenesis and bacterial growth characteristics. Dr. Westblom has conducted field research in the attempt to identify genetic traits that confer resistance to Pierce’s Disease, while focusing on the microbiology and epidemiology of Xylella fastidiosa. In his laboratory, Dr. Westblom has been investigating the growth characteristics of Xyllela fastiodiosa and potential ways to eradicate it. His research on the improvement of isolation techniques for Helicobacter pylori

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California Agricultural Research Priorities Pierce’s Disease have allowed him to incorporate his work into studying the control of Xylella fastidiosa. Dr. Westblom also is a winemaker and small winery owner in Texas, where he is actively cultivating Pierce’s Disease-resistant grape varieties. He holds a M.D. from the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden).