2011 Alumni

Marin Talbot BrewerMarin Talbot Brewer

Marin Talbot Brewer completed the requirements for a Ph.D. degree in the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University in 2011. She conducted her Ph.D. research in Michael Milgroom's program, with a focus on the population genetics and phylogeography of the grape powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator. Using multilocus sequencing, Marin demonstrated that E. necator populations in the eastern US are highly diverse and are a likely source for introductions of E. necator into Europe, Australia and the west coast of the US. She also identified mating-type genes in E. necator and several other powdery mildew species, including Blumeria graminis, Podosphaera spp., and Microsphaera syringae. Marin received awards from the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, American Wine Society Educational Foundation, the Mycological Society of America, and an APS Travel award. Marin is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia, Athens, specializing in fungal biology.

Jonathan E. OliverJonathan E. Oliver

Jonathan E. Oliver completed the requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology from Cornell University in 2011. His research in Marc Fuchs' Program focused on the Genetic Variability of Grapevine Fanleaf Virus and the Design and Testing of Constructs for Resistance. Jonathan demonstrated that Recombination and purifying selection are important evolutionary mechanisms in the genetic diversification of the virus, and, using an agroinfiltration transient expression assay and stable transformants, identified varied concatenate constructs designed in conserved genomic regions that confer resistance to virus infection. Before coming to Cornell, Jonathan earned A bachelor's degree in the floriculture biotechnology lab of David Clark at the university of Florida. Jonathan received the Barbara Mcclintock and Robert Gilmer awards, APS Travel awards, and Cornell Graduate Student Conference Awards. He is currently a Postdoctoral associate with de la Fuente at Auburn University.

Santiago Mideros​Santiago Mideros

Santiago Mideros completed the requirements for a Ph.D. degree in plant pathology from Cornell University in 2011. His research was supervised by Rebecca Nelson and was on resistance to aflatoxin accumulation in maize. Before coming to Cornell, he earned his master's degree in the soybean pathology lab with Anne Dorrance at the Ohio State University. Originally from Ecuador, Santiago has worked for a fresh flower production company in Ecuador as a farm manager in charge of integrated pest and disease management and as a research assistant at the International Potato Center (CIP). Santiago is currently a postdoctoral scientist at the international maize and wheat improvement center (CIMMYT) in Mexico.

A. Paola ZuluagaA. Paola Zuluaga

A. Paola Zuluaga completed the requirements for the Ph.D. in July 2011, working on host and pathogen gene expression during the transition from biotrophy to necrotrophy in a compatible interaction (tomato and Phytophthora infestans ) in Bill Fry's lab. She found significant evidence for alternative splicing in tomato because she detected the expression of 90,000 genes in tomato (about four-fold more than predicted from analysis of the genome). She detected 9000 genes in P. infestans. She also found evidence for new R genes in the host and new effectors in the pathogen. Her committee members were Joss Rose and Greg Martin. Paola's undergraduate degree is from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, her home town. Prior to earning her Masters at Cornell, she taught Spanish to children in Georgia. Paola is currently investigating postdoctoral opportunities in Spain.

Michelle Moyer Michelle Moyer

Michelle Moyer completed the requirements for a Ph.D. in the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology in 2011. She conducted research on the epidemiology of grape powdery mildew, Erysiphe necator, under the direction of Robert Seem and David Gadoury. She developed a risk model to help growers know whether the conditions in the current growing season would cause mild or severe powdery mildew development. In associated biological studies she determined that overwintering inoculum follows the same pattern of development throughout temperate grape growing regions, inoculum can be released before susceptible grape tissue appears, and that cold nights in the spring can slow epidemic development due to a plant stress response to the cold. Michelle received numerous award and scholarships from the American Society of Viticulture & Enology, the American Wine Society, and the American Phytopathological Society. She also received several honors at Cornell, including the Barbara McClintock Graduate Student Award. Dr. Moyer is currently an Assistant Professor and Extension Viticulturist in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Washington State University.