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Kao-Kniffin, DiTommaso awarded $272,078 by USDA

Kao-Kniffin, DiTommaso

Kao-Kniffin, DiTommaso

Jenny Kao-Kniffin, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section, and Antonio DiTommaso,  professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, received a $272,078 USDA grant to develop new ways to uncover novel compounds isolated from soil microorganisms that could be effective in weed management.

Using DNA analysis of soil to isolate bacteria that produce weed-suppressing compounds, the researchers hope to grow microbes and isolate the beneficial compounds they make. Kao-Kniffin and DiTommaso may then design experiments to understand how such compounds might be applied in agriculture to suppress weeds. The project is a response to growing concern about herbicide resistance in cropping systems.

The grant, announced June 2, were part of $14.5 million in funds handed out through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Foundation program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Four Cornell projects received $1.65 million from USDA [Cornell Chronicle 2016-06-09].

Reunion events

Lots of events of plant science interest at the 2016 reunion June 9-12, including:

Tanksley, Martin, Giovannoni, and McCouch

Tanksley, Martin, Giovannoni, and McCouch

In addition, Cornell Plantations will be hosting walks, tours and other events including a plant sale June 11.

Grape bud imaging

Al Kovaleski, PhD student in the Graduate Field of Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science, used X-ray phase contrast imaging to create this video of a grapevine bud.

Kovaleski is using the technology to visualize the inner portions of buds to observe how they are damaged by freezing temperatures, a critical issue with the increase in extreme weather events — like late spring frosts — brought on by climate change.

Imaging was performed at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source which is supported by the NSF & NIH/NIGMS via award DMR-1332208.

Geneva recognitions

Photos from Thomas Björkman from NYSAES horticulture recognitions June 3:

perrine
PhD student Archana Khadgi won the 2016 Perrine Award. The Perrine award recognizes excellence in pomological research by a graduate student. Archana is studying with Professor Courtney Weber (right), using genomic techniques to create phythophthora-resistant raspberries.

 

shaulis
The Nelson Shaulis scholar for 2016, Corrigan Herbert (right), is congratulated by her supervisor for the summer, CCE Viticulturist Hans Walter-Peterson. Corrigan is a student in the wine program at Finger Lakes Community College. The FLCC wine program operates from a new dedicated building at the Ag Tech Park adjacent to the Station.

 

ballersteinx640
Jim Ballerstein, Research Support Specialist, received a 30-year service award from Horticulture Chair Steve Reiners. Jim runs one of the premier vegetable variety trial programs in the country. The program brings in substantial funding, and takes Jim on trips to conferences and company visits at home and abroad.

 

scholars
The Horticulture Section’s Summer Scholars arrived at the Station this week. The Geneva Summer Scholar program brings in excellent undergraduates from around the country for six weeks of research experience and a field course in agriculture. Many go on to graduate programs at Cornell and elsewhere.  Left to right: Brianna Moore (William Smith College/Smart Lab), Lisa Kime (Penn State/Griffiths Lab), Anna Agloro (Saint Martin’s University/Smart Lab), Sofia Gonzalez-Martinez (University of Puerto Rico/Brown Lab), Alexi Nystrom (Newberry College/Xu Lab), Ari Heitler-Klevans (Oberlin College/Smart Lab), Catharina Ortiz-Thomazella (University of Wisconsin-River Falls/Taylor Lab), Carlie Leary (The New School/Smart Lab).

Freezes kill peaches, but apples could rally

In an article at Hot Potato Press, writer Carrie Koplinka-Loehr interviews Gregory Peck, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section, Mario Miranda Sazo, area fruit specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension, and local farmers to assess the condition of local fruit crops in light of the Valentine’s Day and early April freezes.

Read the article.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds to assess frost damaage.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds in his lab to assess damage.

Plant researchers get powerful new resource

Matthew Willmann, director of the new Plant Transformation Facility. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS)

Matthew Willmann, director of the new Plant Transformation Facility. (Photo: Matt Hayes, CALS)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-31]:

Matthew Willmann wants to partner with Cornell scientists to make plant research faster, cheaper and more productive.

And he has just the equipment to make those partnerships bloom.

Willmann, director of the new Plant Transformation Facility, is harnessing precision technology to create transgenic and gene-edited plants on campus for Cornell researchers. The facility, housed in Weill Hall, uses Agrobacterium, biolistics (also known as “gene guns,” two of which are available for use by other researchers) and protoplasts to make transgenic plants, and CRISPR/Cas9 technology for gene editing. Those tools will benefit Cornell scientists as they work to breed hardier and more productive crops with a focus on New York agriculture.

Willmann gave an open house May 25 to showcase the resources available to Cornell plant researchers.

Read the whole article.

Reunion events

Reunion is coming up fast (June 9-12). Mark your calendar for these events of plant science interest:

Tanksley, Martin, Giovannoni, and McCouch

Tanksley, Martin, Giovannoni, and McCouch

In addition, Cornell Plantations will be hosting walks, tours and other events including a plant sale June 11.

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