Find a Colleague

To assist in finding new colleagues in your field of study, we invite you to post your contact information and a short profile about your work.

Amara Dunn

New York State Integrated Pest Management Program

Areas of Expertise: bacterial diseases, fungus, insects, weeds

Crops and Commodities: Christmas trees, fruit, greenhouse, livestock, ornamentals, small fruit, small grain, tree fruit, turf, vegetables

IPM Tools: biological control, education, habitat modification

Bio: Amara received her MS and PhD in plant pathology at Cornell University, with a focus on vegetable diseases. After completing a post-doctoral position in plant pathology at Cornell and teaching in the Biology Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, she began her current position as Biocontrol Specialist with the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program in June 2017. Her responsibilities are primarily extension (with a little applied research), and her goal is to help New Yorkers use biocontrol as part of an IPM strategy, both in commercial agriculture, and in all of the places where people live, work, learn, and play.

Phone: (315) 787-2206

Collaboration Interest: My current interests include conservation biocontrol through planting habitat that supports natural enemies, and integrating use of microbial biocontrol agents (biopesticides) into IPM. I am not limited to specific commodities or types of pests (although clearly I don’t have time to work on all of them at once!). I am also very interested in using active learning strategies in extension education.

Jeff Garnas

University of New Hampshire

Areas of Expertise: fungi, forest insects and pathogens

IPM Tools: biological control, host resistance, modeling

Bio: I am a population and community ecologist and have focused on invasive insects and pathogens in forest systems. I am interested in understanding the evolutionary ecology of invasion, including genetic consequences of population bottlenecks and admixture on adaptive evolution in invaded ecosystems. I currently work with a number of systems including the emerald ash borer, the southern pine beetle, and beech bark disease, among others.


Long Island Invasive Species Management Area

Luke Gervase

Long Island Invasive Species Management Area

Pest Expertise: European swallow-wort, insects, invasive terrestrial plants, small fruit insects, weeds & diseases, swallow-wort, ticks, various

Crops and Commodities: ornamentals, roses

IPM Tools: biological control, cultural control, decision support aids, diagnostic tool, education, eradication, exclusion/avoidance, forecasting, habitat modification, host resistance, mechanical control, mobile app, monitoring, pesticides

Bio: We are a voluntary partnership of many organizations from the geographic area that includes Staten Island (Richmond County), Long Island (Kings [Brooklyn], Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties), and eleven additional coastal plain islands. We are one of eight PRISMs (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) that cover all of New York State. We believe we can help conserve LIISMA’s biodiversity, wildlife habitat, recreation resources, scenic quality, and crop production, while protecting human health and safety, by facilitating cooperation and coordination among land owners and managers to reduce the threat of human-introduced invasive species. We also believe we can reduce the costs of invasive species management by preventing and eradicating new invasive species infestations before they become established.

Collaboration Interest:

  • Build partnerships and facilitate coordination among stakeholders.
  • Prevent new invasive species introductions.
  • Gather new information about invasive species through field work and research.
  • Train agency staff and volunteers in identification, prevention, mapping, monitoring, and management protocols.
  • Rapidly detect and respond to new invaders.
  • Help manage established invasive species to protect and restore target resources.
  • Monitor changes and evaluate results of management efforts.
  • Elevate the profile of the invasive species issue through education and outreach with an emphasis on prevention measures and Best Management Practices.
  • Establish new funding, policy, and management support at the State, County and Town levels.

Phone: (631) 560-9945

Pierre Girod

Rutgers University

Pest Expertise: brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)

Crops and Commodities: apples, beans, corn, fruit, nectarines, ornamentals, peaches, pears, peppers, soybeans, stone fruit, tomatoes, tree fruit, vegetables

IPM Tools: biological control, monitoring

Bio: The main topic of my research as a postdoc researcher is to investigate the distribution of Trissolcus japonicus (Hym.: Scelionidae) and to evaluate its potential as a biological control agent against Halyomorpha halys (Het.: Pentatomidae) in the eastern USA. Field collection, monitoring, host target assessments in the laboratory and various habitats, and population genetic diversity analyses. PhD at the University of Neuchâtel & CABI, Switzerland. Classical biological control of Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Diptera: Drosophilidae) with Ganaspis cf. brasiliensis (Hym.: Figitidae).


Deborah Grantham

Deborah Grantham

Northeastern IPM Center, Cornell University

Expertise: education, communication, partnership building

IPM Tools: collaboration with state IPM programs in Northeast, other partners in the Northeast

Bio: My education and training is in geology and geophysics. I have spent most of my career working in water resources and other environmental resources management, particularly non-formal education. Some of that experience is with invasive species. Currently, I am Director of the Northeastern IPM Center, based at Cornell University.

Collaboration Interest: The Northeastern IPM Center assists and participates in education, training, technical assistance, communications campaigns, and partnership building throughout the Northeast and across the country. The Center also offers competitive funding for IPM researchers, managers, educators, and practitioners/growers in the Northeast.

Phone: (607) 255-8879

Kathleen Leahy

Kathleen Leahy

Polaris Orchard Management

Pest Expertise: aphids, apple leaf curling midge, apple maggot, apple scab, bacterial diseases, brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), European brown rot, fire blight, fly speck, obliquebanded leafroller, oriental fruit moth, parasites, plum curculio, potato leafhopper, powdery mildew, predatory mites, scale, small fruit insects, weeds & diseases, sooty blotch, spider mites, spotted wing drosophila, tarnished plant bug, winter moth

Crops and Commodities: apples, blueberries, cherries, fruit, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, small fruit, stone fruit, tree fruit

IPM Tools: biological control, cultural control, decision support aids, modeling, monitoring, pesticides

Bio: IPM tree fruit consultant working directly with 20+ growers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and eastern New York since 1993. Worked as a field technician for UMass Apple IPM Program for 10 years before that. MS in Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences from UMass.

Collaboration Interest: Open to a wide variety of collaborations — would like to see more cooperation between consultants and Extension/research workers. Advanced IPM; invasives; multi-pronged management approaches... all that stuff.

Phone: (413) 374-7669

Barbara Liedl

Barbara Liedl

West Virginia State University

Pest Expertise: aphids, early blight, late blight, septoria leaf spot, spider mites

Crops and Commodities: flowers, greenhouse, ornamentals, peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, vegetables

IPM Tools: biological control, cultural control, education, host resistance, IPM priorities & guidelines, monitoring

Phone: (304) 204-4037

Caroline Marschner

Caroline Marschner

Cornell University

Pest Expertise: insects, invasive species, invasive terrestrial plants, various, weeds

IPM Tools: biological control, cultural control, decision support aids, diagnostic tool, education, forecasting, modeling, monitoring

Bio: I work on all taxa of invasive species. At present, my work focuses on forest pests and agricultural weeds. I am the program manager for the NYS Hemlock Initiative, and for the NY Agricultural ID Network and Multistate Weed Emergence projects.

Collaboration Interest: I am interested in invasive species programs, especially as relating to agricultural weeds, forest pests, or climate change.


Michael Millican

New York City Department of Healthy and Mental Hygiene, Healthy Homes Program

Pest Expertise: ants, Asian tiger mosquito, bed bugs, cockroaches, colony collapse disorder, rodents

IPM Tools: biological control, cultural control, decision support aids, diagnostic tools, education, eradication, exclusion/avoidance, habitat modification, IPM priorities & guidelines, mechanical control, modeling, monitoring, pesticides, pest prevention by design

Bio: Urban IPM Specialist working on IPM interventions in the homes of children with Asthma. Previously developed municipal and county wide IPM programs in California. Currently providing training to architects, developers and construction managers on pest prevention during all stages of the building life cycle, from design and construction, to operations and maintenance and retrofit. Focused on combining building upgrades related to energy and water efficiency with health upgrades focused on pest prevention and IPM best practices.

Collaboration Interest: I am interested in working on projects focused on pest prevention by design, IPM interventions in the homes of children with asthma, and pest management in cultural institutions and municipalities.

Phone: (646) 632-6607

Jaimin Patel

Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution

Pest Expertise: apple scab, early blight, fire blight, late blight, downy mildew, fungi, insects, lepidoptera, powdery mildew, septoria leaf spot, small fruit insects, weeds & diseases, weeds, white rust

Crops and Commodities: alfalfa, apples, beans, blueberries, brassicas, butternut squash, corn, cucurbits, eggplant, flowers, forage, fruit, grapes, grapevine, greenhouse, lima beans, onions, ornamentals, potatoes, raspberries, roses, small fruit, small grain, soybeans, spinach, strawberries, sunflowers, tomatoes, turf, vegetables

IPM Tools: education, eradication, exclusion/avoidance, host resistance, IPM priorities & guidelines, pesticides, UV and visible light-based control

Bio: Jaimin Patel is a plant pathology research scientist at the Lighting Research Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Patel is the author of more than 45 scientific articles and serves as the senior editor of Plant Health Progress, a peer-reviewed journal of applied plant health. During his career, he has studied diseases caused by several fungi and oomycetes, and developed a variety of disease management strategies for vegetable crops, small-grains, oil-seed crops, and ornamental crops. Currently, his research is focused on light-based pest management for a wide range of crops.

Collaboration Interest: The Northeastern IPM Center assists and participates in education, training, technical assistance, communications campaigns, and partnership building throughout the Northeast and across the country. The Center also offers competitive funding for IPM researchers, managers, educators, and practitioners/growers in the Northeast.


Mahfuz Rahman

Mahfuz Rahman

West Virginia University

Pest Expertise: apple scab, black root rot, early blight, late blight, fire blight, fungi, mummy berry disease, peach scab

Crops and Commodities: blueberries, cucurbits, eggplant, grapevine, peaches, pears, raspberries, small fruit, strawberries

IPM Tools: biological control, cultural control, decision support aids, diagnostic tool, education, exclusion/avoidance, forecasting, host resistance, IPM priorities & guidelines


PhD Plant Pathology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

MS Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA

Professional Experience:

Extension Associate Professor (5/2017–present), West Virginia University

Program focus: Integrated disease management of fruits and vegetables with emphasis on strawberries, tomatoes, and cucurbits. Specific responsibilities are:

  • Disease diagnosis at WVU Plant Diagnostic Clinic and sending recommendations to growers
  • Development of IPM based plant disease management tools for sustainable crop production
  • Research and teaching on “Integrated Pest Management of Vegetables and Small Fruits”
  • Development and implementation of decision support system for growers and investigation on fungicide efficacy in growers field and research farms

Extension Assistant Professor (6/2011–5/2017), West Virginia University

  • My major research focus is sustainable management of diseases in small fruits and vegetables. I strongly believe plant disease management should be a package of judiciously arranged options encompassing host resistance, use of disease free seeds and transplants, planting in appropriate site and providing balanced nutrients to maintain good plant vigor, careful intercultural operations to minimize environmental stress, and use of plant protection materials if needed. Exploitation of host resistance has been on the top of the list of my research and will continue to be so for sustainability of crop production and feed ever increasing population. Host resistance and varietal potential of resistance to diseases need to be exploited and incorporate it in the package of disease management tools. I also work on developing and utilizing sensitive diagnostic tools for disease management recommendations.

Collaboration Interest: Regional efforts on applied research for developing sustainable disease management options in fruits and vegetables. I am specifically interested in fungicide resistance, disease forecasting, and soilborne disease management in strawberries. Screening and development of beneficial microbes based products for plant health, productivity, and quality.

Phone: (304) 293-8838

Mark VanGessel

University of Delaware

Pest Expertise: weeds, herbicide resistant weeds, small fruit insects, weeds & diseases

Crops and Commodities: beans, beans (snap), brassicas, butternut squash, corn, corn (field), corn (sweet), cover crops, cucurbits, eggplant, forage, lima beans, peppers, small fruit, small grain, soybeans, spinach, tomatoes, vegetables

IPM Tools: cultural control, education, mechanical control, pesticides


Changlu Wang

Changlu Wang

Rutgers University

Pest Expertise: ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, insects, rodents, ticks

IPM Tools: monitoring

Bio: Dr. Changlu Wang is an Associate Extension Specialist in the Department of Entomology, Rutgers University. He received his B.S. from Beijing Forestry University (1985), MS from Chinese Academy of Forestry (1988), and PhD from West Virginia University (1998). His research interests are developing new and improved techniques and materials for urban pest management, insecticide resistance, and insect behavior. He published 6 books/book chapters, 64 peer-reviewed papers, and 23 non-peer reviewed articles, and coauthored 4 patents.

Collaboration Interest: Pest control research in apartment buildings; Developing new tools and methods for better management of urban pests (ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, termites, and others); Study the biology and ecology of urban pests; Monitor and survey of urban pest infestations.