Sara Villani

Sara Vilani
222 Barton Hall
(315) 787-2402

Education

  • August 2012-Present, PhD student, Plant Pathology, Cornell University
  • May 2005, B.S. Chemistry, State University of New York at Geneseo

Graduate advisor: K. Cox

Research Focus

I am both a research technician and graduate student in the Tree Fruit and Berry Pathology program under the supervision of Dr. Kerik Cox. A key component of my research is monitoring resistance to systemic fungicides in populations of the apple scab pathogen, Venturia inaequalis and developing molecular tools to detect and understand genetic mechanisms underlying DMI and QoI fungicide resistance. Apple scab has historically been one of the most economically devastating diseases of apple in the northeastern United States. In the absence of durable resistance in most of the commercially desirable apple cultivars, fungicide applications are the only means of providing acceptable levels of disease control in the fresh apple market industry. While systemic fungicides are considered advantageous because of their pre-infection and curative activity and their high degree of specificity to fungal pathogens, their highly specific mode of action unfortunately favors the development of resistant isolates and populations. I am interested in understanding the role of cytochrome b mitochondrial heteroplasmy in V. inaequalis in regards to QoI fungicide resistance, the role of drug efflux pumps in multiple or cross resistance to systemic fungicides, and investigating potential explanations for differences in apple cultivars with respect to the development of practical resistance to fungicides. Through this research I hope to transform discoveries of our research into applicable information for stakeholders. In doing so, growers will be better able to refine their apple scab management programs and preserve the efficacy of a limited number of systemic fungicides.

Professional Experience

  • 2007-Present: Research Technician III/IV, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology, Cornell University. Principal Investigator: Dr. Kerik Cox.
  • 2006-2007: Research Technician I, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University. Principal Investigator: Dr. Herb Aldwinckle
  • 1999-2006: Summer Research Technician/Technician I, Department of Entomology, Cornell University. Principal Investigator: Dr. Greg Loeb.
  • 2004-2005: Teaching assistant for Introductory Chemistry Laboratories: Chemistry I Laboratory (Chem 117) and Quantitative Analysis Lab (Chem 125), State University of New York at Geneseo.

Awards and Honors

  • 2009 Cornell University 10 Years of Service
  • 2005 American Chemical Society Outstanding Senior Award
  • 2004 American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry

Professional Societies and Working Groups

American Phytopathological Society

Publications

Refereed Research Publications

  • Frederick, Z.A., Villani, S.M., Los, L., Allen, J., and Cox, K.D. 2011 First report of white pine blister rust caused by Cronartium ribicola on immune black currant Ribes nigrum cv. Titania in Preston, Connecticut. Plant Dis. 95 (doi: 10.1094/PDIS-07-11-0609).
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., Raes, J.J., Freier, J., Faubert, H., Cooley, D., and Clements, J.  2011. First reports of brown fruit rot on sweet cherry (Prunus avium) and plum (Prunus domestica), and shoot blight on apricot (Prunus armeniaca), kwanzan cherry (Prunus Serrulata) and sweet cherry (Prunus avium) caused by Monilinia laxa in New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Plant Dis. 95 (doi: 10.1094/PDIS-07-11-0606).
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D.2011. Characterizing fenbuconazole and propiconazole sensitivity and the prevalence of ‘Mona’ in isolates of Monilinia fructicola from New York. Plant Dis. 95: 828-834.
     
  • Hily, J-M., Singer, S.D., Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2011. Characterization of the cytochrome b (cyt b) gene from Monilinia species causing brown rot of stone and pome fruit and its significance in the development of QoI resistance. Pest. Manag. Sci. 67: 385–396.
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D.2010. Confirmation of European brown rot caused by Monilinia laxa on tart cherry, Prunus cerasus, in western New York. Plant Dis. 94(6): 783.

Published research abstracts and presented papers

  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2013. CYP51A1 upstream anomalies and overexpression in myclobutanil and difenoconazole resistant Venturia inaequalis isolates. Phytopathology 103:###
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Ramaekers, L. 2012. Prevalence of dodine resistance in Venturia inaequalis populations in the northeastern United States following renewed use of Syllit for the management of apple scab. Phytopathology 102:S4.26.
     
  • Villani, S.M., Freier, J., and Cox, K.D. 2012. Characterizing the role of CYP51A1 overexpression in myclobutanil- and difenoconazole-resistant Venturia inaequalis. Phytopathology 102:S4.128.
     
  • Villani, S.M. and Cox, K.D. 2012. Detection and quantification of trifloxystrobin-resistant Venturia inaequalis using allele-specific real-time PCR. Phytopathology 102:S4.128.  
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2011. Qualitative and practical resistance to QoI fungicide resistance to QoI fungicides in Venturia inaequalis populations in the Northeastern US. Paper presented Dec. 1-2 at the 2011 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Villani, S.M., Ngugi, H.K., and Cox, K.D. 2011. Implications of off-season applications for selection of fungicide resistance in Venturia inaequalis.  Paper presented Dec. 1-2 at the 2011 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2011. Prevalence and management challenges of brown rot pathogens in the northeastern United States. Paper presented Dec. 1-2 at the 2011 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Ngugi, H.K., Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Köller, W. 2011. Evidence for multiple fungicide resistance in field populations of Venturia inaequalisPhytopathology 101:S128.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Jacon, G. 2010. Status of dodine resistance and possibilities for renewed use against Venturia inaequalis populations in the Northeastern U.S. Phytopathology 100:S27.
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2010. Difenoconazole: Apple scab sensitivity and field performance on apples. Paper presented Nov. 19-20 at the 2010 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Cox, K.D., and Villani, S.M. 2010. Implications and applications of the cytochrome b gene from Monilinia species causing brown rot of stone and pome fruit. Paper presented Nov. 19-20 at the 2010 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Hily, J-M., Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2009 Characterization of the cytochrome b CYTB gene from fruit infecting Monilinia species. Paper presented Nov. 19-20 at the 2009 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2009 First reports of Monilinia laxa in stone fruit orchards in western NY. Paper presented Nov. 19-20 at the 2009 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Cox, K.D., and Villani, S.M. 2009 Apple scab fungicide resistance in the Northeastern United States: Prevalence and Practical Resistance. Paper presented Nov. 19-20 at the 2009 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2009. Molecular characterization and fungicide sensitivity profiling of Monilinia laxa from a cherry orchard in western NY. Phytopathology 99:S135.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Köller, W. 2009. Practical implications of fungicide resistance in Northeastern US populations of the apple scab pathogen Venturia inaequalis. Phytopathology 99:S25.
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2008 Sensitivity of NY populations to the brown rot pathogen Monilinia fructicola to QoI and DMI fungicides. Paper presented Dec. 4-5 at the 2008 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Köller, W. 2008 Perspectives on site-specific fungicide use in Northeastern US populations of the apple scab pathogen Venturia inaequalis: fungicide sensitivity profiles and management prospects. Paper presented Dec. 4-5 at the 2008 Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester VA.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Köller, W. 2008. Molecular aspects of QoI and DMI fungicide resistance in NY populations of the apple scab pathogen Venturia inaequalis: initial discoveries. Paper presented Oct. 27-30 at the 7th International Conference on Integrated Fruit Production, Avignon, France.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Köller, W. 2008. Practical aspects of QoI and DMI fungicide resistance in Northeastern US populations of the apple scab pathogen  Venturia inaequalis: profiles and management. Paper presented Oct. 27-30 at the 7th International Conference on Integrated Fruit Production, Avignon, France.
     
  • Villani, S.M., and Cox, K.D. 2008. QoI sensitivity and the prevalence of DMI resistance in NY populations of the brown rot pathogen Monilinia fructicola. Phytopathology 98:S163.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Russo, N.L., Villani, S.M., Parker, D.M., and Köller, W. 2008. QoI qualitative resistance and CYP51A1 upstream anomalies in NY populations of the apple scab pathogen Venturia inaequalis. Phytopathology 98:S42.

Technical publications

  • Cox, K.D., Aldwinckle, H.S., Villani, S.M., and Bekoscke, K. 2013. Evaluation of bactericide programs for the management of fire blight on ‘Idared’ apples in NY, 2012. PDMR. (7) PF001.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2013. Evaluation of fungicide programs for control of apple scab on ‘Jerseymac’ apples in 2012. PDMR. (7) PF002.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2013. Evaluation of fungicides for control of apple scab and powdery mildew in an ‘Empire’-‘Jonagold’ orchard with a DMI and QoI-resistant apple scab population, 2012. PDMR. (7) PF003.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2012. Evaluation of fungicides for control of apple scab and powdery mildew in an ‘Empire Jonagold’ orchard with a DMI & QoI-resistant apple scab population, 2011. PDMR. (6) PF013.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2012. Evaluation of dodine programs for control of apple scab in a ‘McIntosh’ ’Cortland’ orchard, 2011.  PDMR. (6) PF012.
     
  • Cox, K.D., H.S. Aldwinckle, Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2012. Evaluation of Actigard as an alternational tool with streptomycin for management of fire blight on ‘Idared’ apples in NY, 2011.  PDMR. (6) PF014.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2011. Evaluation of fungicides for control of apple scab in a ‘McIntosh’ ‘Cortland’ orchard with a DMI-resistant apple scab population, 2010. PDMR. (5) PF032.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2011. Evaluation of fungicides for control of powdery mildew on ‘Jonagold’ and ‘Cortland’ in orchards with DMI-resistant apple scab populations, 2010. PDMR. (5) PF031.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2011. Evaluation of fungicides for control of apple scab in an ‘Empire’ ‘Jonagold’ orchard with a DMI-resistant apple scab population, 2010. PDMR. (5) PF033.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2011. Evaluation of fungicides for management of flyspeck and sooty blotch in a ‘Jonagold’ NY apple orchard, 2010.  PDMR. (5) PF030.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2011. Evaluation of dodine programs for control of apple scab in a ‘McIntosh’ ‘Cortland’ orchard, 2010. PDMR. (5) PF034. 
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2011. Evaluation of fungicides for control of brown fruit rot of apricot, 2010. PDMR. (5) STF015.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2010. Evaluation of fungicides for control of powdery mildew in a ‘McIntosh’ ‘Cortland’ orchard with a DMI-resistant apple scab population, 2009. PDMR. (4) PF020.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2010. Evaluation of fungicides for control of apple scab in a ‘McIntosh’ ‘Cortland’ orchard with a DMI-resistant apple scab population, 2009.  PDMR. (4) PF019.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2010. Evaluation of fungicides and application timing for control of powdery mildew in an ‘Empire’ ‘Jonagold’ orchard with a DMI-resistant apple scab population, 2009. PDMR. (4) PF018.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2010. Evaluation of fungicides and application timing for control of apple scab in an ‘Empire’ ‘Jonagold’ orchard with a DMI-resistant apple scab population, 2009. PDMR. (4) PF017.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2010. Evaluation of organic-approved pesticides and site-specific fungicides for management of flyspeck, sooty blotch, and black rot in a NY apple orchard, 2009.  PDMR. (4) PF016.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., and Raes, J.J. 2010. Evaluation of fungicides and bactericides for control of bacterial spot and brown rot of apricot, 2009. PDMR. (4) STF011.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., Ellis, M.A., Poon, C.K. and Craig-Kuhn, M.C. 2009. Evaluation of fungicides in an orchard with a DMI-resistant apple scab population, 2008. PDMR. (3) PF039.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., Ellis, M.A., Poon, C.K. and Craig-Kuhn, M.C. 2009. Evaluation of fungicides and application timing for control of powdery mildew and apple scab, 2008. PDMR. (3) PF038.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., Ellis, M.A., Poon, C.K. and Craig-Kuhn, M.C. 2009. Evaluation of biopesticides and site-specific fungicides for management of flyspeck and sooty blotch in a NY apple orchard, 2008. PDMR. (3) PF037.
     
  • Cox, K.D., Villani, S.M., Ellis, M.A., Poon, C.K. and Craig-Kuhn, M.C. 2009. Applications of phosphite fungicides for management of apple scab and powdery mildew, 2008. PDMR. (3) PF031.

Presentations, seminars, and outreach

  • 73rd Annual New England, New York and Canadian Fruit Pest Management Workshop. Burlington, VT, October 15, 2011. “Implications of off-season scab sprays on the selection of resistant V. inaequalis populations.”
     
  • 73rd Annual New England, New York and Canadian Fruit Pest Management Workshop. Burlington, VT, October 15, 2011. “Fire blight on my cherry tree?  Northeast prevalence and management challenges of the brown rot pathogen Monilinia laxa.” 
     
  • Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, 2009 Spring Seminar Series, “There are stone fruit in NY, and yes the brown rot is also fungicide resistant”