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Alyssa Blachez

Alyssa Blachez

423 Plant Science
(607) 255-4471


  • Fall 2014–present, MS/PhD student, Plant Pathology, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science,  Cornell University
  • 2014, B.S., Biological Sciences: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Current Graduate Advisor:  Gary Bergstrom

Research Focus

The focus of my work is on managing malting barley diseases in support of New York’s Farm Brewery initiative. Fusarium graminearum is the causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB), the most economically important disease of wheat and barley in the region. The fungus infects the heads and seeds of these crops and is capable of producing toxins such as deoxynivalenol, also known as vomitoxin. When grain is malted, the seeds must remain alive. It is likely that many of the microorganisms the seeds contain remain alive, as well. Therefore, I am interested in characterizing the growth of F. graminearum and its mycotoxin production during the malting process in regional craft malt houses. Additionally, I am interested in screening existing malting barley varieties and breeding lines for resistance to common diseases, such as powdery mildew, spot blotch, and FHB. This will hopefully aid in the breeding and selection of barley varieties that are well-adapted for production in New York.

Professional Experience

2011–2014 Undergraduate Research Assistant. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). Worked on projects related to quantitative disease resistance in maize in Rebecca Nelson’s lab.

2013 Summer Intern. Centre de Recherche Public—Gabriel Lippmann (Belvaux, Luxembourg). Conducted research on fungicide resistance in Fusarium graminearum.

2015–2016 Teaching Assistant for Investigative Biology Laboratory (BIOG 1500). Cornell University (Ithaca, NY).

Elected and Appointed Offices

  • 2015–2016–Signs Chair, Expanding Your Horizons Workshop
  • 2016–Treasurer, Cornell Zymology Club
  • 2016—Chili Cook-off Planning Committee Chair, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Graduate Student Association

Professional Societies and Working Groups

American Phytopathological Society