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Sarah Ruark


Graduate Student

Plant Science Building, Room 423


  • May 2015–Present, Plant-Microbe Biology, PhD student, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science
  • 2008, M.S., Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University
  • 2006, B.S., Plant Biology, Summa cum laude, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Graduate Advisor: Stewart Gray

Research Focus

I am studying Potato virus Y (PVY) and its impact on solanaceous crops such as eggplant, pepper, potato, tobacco, and tomato in a mixed cropping system with focus on the methods of introduction and disease spread. I am also interested in the impact that a mixed cropping system has on the virus population, particularly with respect to host range and symptom expression. In another project, I am seeking to identify molecular markers in potato that are indicative of plants in which PVY infection does not result in an observable foliar response, as these plants can contribute significantly to the incidence of PVY in seed potato production

Professional Experience

2009 – 2015 Assistant Phytopathologist at Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds, Lodi, CA: My primary research duties were to develop, optimize, and conduct disease resistance screens for tomato, lettuce, melon, and watermelon breeding lines. I also was responsible for diagnosing diseases in these crops for breeding, farming, and marketing and sales programs.


S.J. Ruark and B.B. Shew. 2010. Evaluation of microbial, botanical, and organic treatments for control of peanut seedling diseases. Plant Disease 94:445-454.