Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science hosted third annual research mini-symposium

The Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science graduate student organization hosted the third annual research mini-symposium in Fralin Hall atrium and auditorium at Virginia Tech on Feb. 19, 2015. The research symposium provided a great opportunity for faculty and graduate students to interact with each other and familiarize themselves with the diversity of ongoing research in the department.

The event took place in two phases: the graduate student poster contest followed by the keynote presentation by the guest speaker. In the poster contest, a total of 15 students presented their M.S. or Ph.D. research. Each poster was judged by three different faculty members and the top three individuals were selected on the basis of research quality, poster appearance, and student’s ability to effectively interact with the judges. The winners of the poster contest were Sandeep Singh Rana, Kasia Dinkeloo, and Hailey Larose. Each winner received a travel award for attending a research conference in their respective areas of study.

Student Name

Major Advisor

Research Topic

Sandeep Rana Shawn D. Askew Does Annual Bluegrass Influence Golf Ball Deceleration and Trajectory on Putting Greens? Measuring Precision and Accuracy of Ball Roll Devices
Kasia Dinkeloo John McDowell and Guillaume Pilot Identifying Mechanisms of Nutrient Transport from Plants to Biotrophic Pathogens
Hailey Larose James H. Westwood Elucidating the Germination Mechanism of Parasitic Orobanchaceae through Comparative Transcriptomics

The poster contest was followed by keynote presentation entitled “Sustainability and Sustaining Agriculture” by Dennis Avery. Avery is currently the director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute. Prior to joining Hudson Institute, he served as the senior agricultural analyst for the U.S. Department of State. Avery has authored and co-authored several books and articles on issues like global warming, climate change, GMOs, pesticides, organic farming, industrial farming, etc. He travels the world as a speaker, has testified before Congress, and has appeared on most of the nation’s major television networks, including a program discussing the bacterial dangers of organic foods on ABC’s “20/20.”

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