Kellie Damann is from Canandaigua, NY and graduated from Canandaigua Academy in 2009. She pursued an associate degree at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) in Business Administration. Where upon graduating she took some time off to pursue other things she loved, one of those being gardening. She started a medium sized garden with her father on their family farm in Canandaigua and became very intrigued in the whole experience; the fresh veggies, insect friends and pest, along with the different diseases that came about and killed some of the plants. It was then that she wanted to go back to school to learn more about plants and ecology. She went back to FLCC and earned an associate degree in Horticulture. Through her time at FLCC she was able to find a summer job working for Dr. Christine Smart’s program in Plant Pathology at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES). For three summers she worked with bacterial pathogens effecting vegetable crops; her main research being on the susceptibility of cabbage varieties to Black rot caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris.
Through her experience at NYSAES, she wanted to continue her education and attended Cornell University majoring in Plant Science with a concentration in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology. During her time at Cornell she worked in Dr. Gary Bergstrom’s program with different fungal pathogens effecting cereal crops in NY. As well as, Dr. Greg Martin’s program at Boyce Thompson Institute studying plant immune responses to Pseudomonas syringae, here she gained an array of molecular laboratory techniques. After graduating from Cornell, she started working for Dr. Brian Nault’s program in Entomology at Cornell Agritech. She spent two years as a technician helping with field and greenhouse experiments to understand the ecology and biology of insects that can damage and/or spread disease to vegetable crops in NY.
Kellie is currently working as a technician in the EVADE lab where she can continue to expand her knowledge in plant pathology. She is looking forward to learning more about the fugal pathogens that affect vegetable growers and hopes she can help to find methods to combat some of their biotic struggles. She will be spending a lot of time working with new methods to help organic cucurbit growers maintain healthy, fruitful crops, along with other vegetable crops including beets and beans.