New GSA Officers Elected for the 2017-2018 Term

On August 29th, 2017, new officers were elected for the LSU Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association. We welcome our new president, Cesar Escalante and we wish him luck in organizing and making decisions to make our GSA succeed this upcoming academic year. We also congratulate our new officers (list below).

President: Cesar Escalante

Vice President: Jancee Rice

Treasurer: Yenjit Raruang

Secretary: Marija Zivanovic


Trip Committee

Chair: Daniel Cooke

Members: Yenjit, Jancee, Marija


Social Committee

Chair: Ateet Maharjan

Members: Favio, Manjula, Nike, Dongfang, Jhonson


Website Committee

Chair: Teddy Garcia

Members: Dan, Zac


Journal Club/ Training

Chair: Olanike Omolehin

Members: Tiago, Rebecca, Marija


Fundraising Committee

Chair: Rosalie Calderon

Members: Zac, Rachel, Jancee


At the same time, we thank our former president Rachel Herchlag, for her excellent work during the 2016-2017 term, as well as all officers who helped and all the students who engaged themselves in our GSA activities last year.

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PPCP International Luncheon, 2016

It is fast becoming the tradition of the PPCP GSA to host an international luncheon every year to raise scholarship funds for students’ professional development. This tradition came alive again with over 10 different dishes, and at least 4 continents meeting to share ideas, and culture. It was simply difficult to decide what tastes best in a bowl of deliciously prepared meals from over 6 different countries.

According to the international luncheon committee, we might have hit our financial target to send at least 2 students to the next professional meeting of their choice. Below are pictures from the event which took place on the 21st of October, 2016.


2016 Fall Satsuma picking at Dr. Overstreet’s

Annually, Dr. Charles Overstreet lets all Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology students harvest Satsuma from his garden after being treated to delicious American dishes. Over the weekend, we again enjoyed Dr. Charles Overstreet and his amiable family’s benevolence.

It was heart warming to feel there could be a home away from home most especially for our internationals. Saturday, 12th November, 2016 was beyond Satsuma picking, we had Sugarcane and some lemons too, and it was a time away from the labs/classes to again feel the magic of sincere hugs from one’s colleagues.

I guess pictures can speak louder…

Satsuma picking at Dr. Overstreet, Fall, 2016.

2016 Summer Technique Sharing Series Started Off

For the third year in a row, the Journal Club and Training Committee of the Graduate Student Association (LSU PPCP GSA) is hosting the “Summer Technique Sharing Series.” This is a great initiative in which students teach to each other techniques that are performed in different labs. Our goal is to broaden our knowledge and gain insight and understanding of research conducted by our colleagues!

People come to the presenter’s lab, greenhouse or field to learn new techniques from them. Presenters send students a protocol before sharing, or they explain what they’re doing during the demonstration or presentation. This teaching activity is a nice addition to the presenter’s resume or CV, and again, we all gain new experiences to enrich our knowledge! This year we have started off with great attendance and interest from our fellow grad students; their participation in this sharing series improves the experience for everyone!!!!

Our first presentation was conducted by Teddy Garcia on June 30th, who did such a great job presenting, “Basics of Real Time PCR for C. flagellaris.” We extend our gratitude to Teddy for his time and effort.

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The second presentation/demonstration took place today, July 7th in Isaack Kikway and Alejandra Jimenez’s laboratory, to whom we also thank for their time and effort. We learned about “Detection and Enumeration of Total Coliforms and E. coli in Water and Food Products using Colilert-18 Defined Substrate Quanti-Tray System.” This was very interesting, especially considering the current coliform contamination concerns of fresh produce in regards of Food Safety.

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As the summer goes on, we continue to work and participate almost on weekly basis in these “2016 Summer Technique Sharing Sessions Series.” We will be posting news from every coming event.!

Victory was ours at Southern Division APS meeting.

Five students traveled to Balm, Florida for the 2016 Southern Division American Phytopathological Society Meeting.  Eduardo Chagas won the student paper competition.  His talk was entitled, “Two symptoms of Cercospora leaf blight of soybean: an indication of two diseases caused by the same pathogen.”  The remaining students also gave great talks, received good feedback and sparked discussions with other scientists.  Ally Lunos gave her first scientific talk at a professional meeting, “Strobilurin resistance of Rhizoctonia solani on rice in southwestern Louisiana appears to exclude trifloxystrobin based on in vitro assay.”  Mary Helen Ferguson presented work from her dissertation research, “Xylella fastidiosa in rabbiteye blueberry in Louisiana is genetically similar to a strain found in Southern highbush blueberry in Georgia.”  Brian Ward presented early work from his dissertation, “Causative agents for the green stem disorder of soybean.” Finally, Rebecca Sweany presented work from her dissertation, “Aspergillus flavus corn strains have higher inoculum potential than soil strains,” and one of her jokes was immortalized in the meeting’s final resolutions.  We ended our meeting by visiting Speedling Incorporated, where Eduardo’s old supervisor, Mark Worley gave us a tour of their facilities in Ruskin, Florida.  We had a great meeting and are excited to get back to work.


LSU students making friends with some Florida Gators.  LSU Students from the Right, Mary Helen Ferguson, Brian Ward, Ally Lunos, Rebecca Sweany and Eduardo Chagas.


Students visiting Speedling Inc. 2016

Several department graduate students in this month’s issue of Plant Disease

Three graduate students from the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology are named as authors in the November 2015 issue of Plant Disease.  Carolina Avellandea is first author on the article titled, “Screening for Resistance to Sugarcane Brown Rust With Controlled-conditions Inoculation,” and Myra Purvis and Sebastian Albu are named as co-authors on the paper, “Fungicide Resistance in Cercospora kikuchii, a Soybean Pathogen.”  Congratulations!

PPCP GSA celebrates 2015 Halloween

30th October turned out to be great fun for the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology graduate students of LSU! Since the fall break came with a promising weekend, stealing some time for fun was convenient.

Halloween is an annual celebration marked in most regions of the western world. History has it that it used to be a day set aside for remembering the dead and all departed faithfuls. (Bet we all have that one person we think of when such topics are mentioned…). Although October 31st is the official date for Halloween celebrations in countries like the United States, Canada and England, we went ahead of the world on the 30th of October. With much costuming, pumpkin carving (you never know what great artists we’ve got until a time like this!), sharing riddles, dancing/seeing horror musical videos and lots of snacks and drinks, it was easy to look forward to next year.

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