Dr. Sebastian Albu

Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, California Department of Food & Agriculture
3294 Meadowview Road, Sacramento, CA 95832-1448, U.S.A.
Office: 916-738-6723
Fax: 916-262-1190
Email: sebastian.albu@cdfa.ca.gov

Sebastian Albu

Senior Plant Pathologist - Specialist

Curriculum Vitae


  • 2015, Ph.D., Plant Pathology, Louisiana State University, AgCenter. Dissertation: Evolutionary Relationships among Fungal Soybean Pathogens and Molecular Marker Development in the Genus Cercospora.
  • 2012, M.S., Plant Pathology, Louisiana State University, AgCenter. Thesis: A survey of ballistosporic basidiomycete phylloplane yeasts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the description of two yeasts in Ustilaginales.
  • 2006, B.S., Biology, Metropolitan State University of Denver.
  • 2001, B.A., Music, University of Pittsburgh.

Professional Experience

  • 2019–Current, Senior Plant Pathologist (Specialist),
    2017–2019, Associate Plant Pathologist (Diagnostician), California Department of Food and Agriculture, Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, Sacramento, CA.
    • Responsibilites: Diagnose plant diseases of agricultural, horticultural and other significance caused by bacterial phytopathogens. Head of Xylella fastidiosa diagnostic testing program. Conduct research on systematics of plant pathogens and new plant diseases in California
  • 2015–2017, Postdoctoral Researcher, USDA-ARS, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis.
    • Accomplishments: Conceived research project to evaluate agricultural waste products as carbon sources for use in anaerobic soil disinfestation, an alternative approach to soil fumigation in California walnut nurseries. Designed and implemented laboratory, greenhouse and field experiments. Identified unknown soilborne bacteria and fungi through morphological, PCR and sequencing-based methods.
  • 2010–2015, Graduate Research Assistant, Louisiana State University AgCenter.
    • Accomplishments: Conducted research projects focusing on systematic and taxonomic mycology. Diagnosed and classified fungal plant pathogens and endophytes using morphological, phylogenetic and molecular-based approaches. Assisted teaching mycology course and laboratory. Authored grant proposals to support research.
  • 2006–2010, Professional Research Assistant, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Pulmonary Division.
    • Accomplishments: Assisted with research investigating pulmonary arterial hypertension, the role of the BMP pathway in vascular homeostasis and contribution of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and antioxidant systems to pathogenesis mechanisms of pulmonary vascular disease. Responsibilities included developing murine breeding strategies and maintaining colonies for research trials. Technical aspects of this position included genotyping mice and rats using qPCR and performing Western blots and mitochondrial isolations. Surgical techniques and other procedures conducted on animals included gavage, tail injections and hemodynamic monitoring through cardiac catheterization.


  1. Albu S, Blomquist CL, Scheck HJ, Doyle VP. 2019. First report of rust on Modiola caroliniana caused by Puccinia modiolae in California. Plant Dis. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-02-19-0303-PDN.
  2. Poret-Peterson AT, Albu S, McClean AE, Kluepfel DA. 2019. Shifts in Soil Bacterial Communities as a Function of Carbon Source Used During Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation. Front. Environ Sci. 6:160. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2018.00160.
  3. Albu V and Albu S. 2018. Contributions to the knowledge of the Lepidoptera fauna of Southern Transylvania. Entomol. Romanica 22:13–56. doi: 10.24193/entomolrom.22.3.
  4. Aćimović SG, Rooney-Latham S, Albu S, Grossman DM, Doccola JJ. 2018. Characterization and Pathogenicity of Botryosphaeriaceae Fungi Associated with Declining Urban Stands of Coast Redwood in California. Plant Dis. 102(10):1950-1957.doi: 10.1094/PDIS-02-18-0339-RE
  5. Albu S, Lai M, Woods PW, Kumagai LB. 2018. First report of Pseudomonas viridiflava as the causal agent of bacterial leaf spot of Mexican Heather in California. Plant Dis. 102(12):2633. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-03-18-0405-PDN
  6. Albu S, Sharma S, Bluhm BH, Price PP, Schneider RW, Doyle VP. 2017. Draft Genome Sequence of Cercospora cf. sigesbeckiae, a causal agent of Cercospora leaf blight on soybean. Genome Announc. 5:e00708-17. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00708-17
  7. Albu V and Albu, S. 2016. Contributions to the knowledge of the Lepidoptera species diversity in an urban park setting of Bucharest, Romania, with considerations on the species dynamics in the city over the last century. Entomol. Romanica 20:69–78.
  8. Albu S, Price PP, Doyle VP, Padgett, B, Schneider, RW. 2016. The G143A mutation is responsible for strobilurin fungicide resistance in Cercospora leaf blight and purple seed stain pathogens of Louisiana soybean. Plant Health Prog. 17(3):197. doi: 10.1094/PHP-BR-16-0043
  9. Albu S, Price PP, Schneider, RW, Doyle VP. 2016. Cercospora cf. flagellaris and C. cf. sigesbeckiae are associated with Cercospora leaf blight and purple seed stain on soybean in North America. Phytopathology. 106(11):1376-1385. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-12-15-0332-R
  10. Albu S, Toome M, Aime MC. 2015. Violaceomyces palustris gen. et sp. nov. and a new monotypic lineage, Violaceomycetales ord. nov. in Ustilaginomycetes. Mycologia. 107(6):1193–1204. doi: 10.3852/14-260
  11. Price PP, Purvis MA, Cai G, Padgett GB, Robertson CL, Schneider RW, Albu S. 2015. Fungicide resistance in Cercospora kikuchii, a soybean pathogen. Plant Dis. 99:1596–1603. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-07-14-0782-RE
  12. Toome M, Ohm R, James T, Lazarus K, Henrissat B, Albu S, Chow J, Clum A, Heller G, Lipzen A, Nolan M, Sandor L, Zvenigorodsky N, Grigoriev I, Spatafora J, Aime MC. 2014. Genome sequencing reveals insights into the reproduction, nutrition mode and ploidy of the spores of the fern pathogen Mixia osmundae. New Phytol. 202(2):554–564. doi: 10.1111/nph.12653
  13. West J, Harral J, Deng Y, Ickes B, Albu S, Stewart D, Fagan K. 2008. Mice expressing BMPR2R899X transgene in smooth muscle develop pulmonary vascular lesions. Am J Physiol: Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 295 (5): L744–755. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.90255.2008


  • 2017. Phillip Morris International Management (with Co-PI Chuck Johnson). $40,000. Optimizing Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation against soilborne tobacco pathogens to increase the sustainability of tobacco production.
  • 2016. California Department of Food and Agriculture (with Co-PI Dan Kluepfel). $30,000. Anaerobic soil disinfestation against soilborne phytopathogenic agents.
  • 2016. National Science Foundation and the Louisiana Board of Regents (with Co-PI Raymond Schneider). $10,000. Establishing a multidisciplinary international collaboration between the LSU Agricultural Center, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) in Londrina, Brazil and the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) in Minas Gerais, Brazil.  
  • 2012. United Soybean Board (with Co-PI Raymond Schneider). $106,470. Elucidating the Complex Etiology of Cercospora Leaf Blight of Soybean.

Professional Presentations

  • Albu, S. 2019. Bacterial diagnostics from a regulatory perspective: If “everything is everywhere,” how deep should we dig? California Department of Food and Agriculture, Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch.
  • Westphal A, Buzo T, Maung Z, Albu S, Strauss S and D. Kluepfel, DK Albu S, Strauss S and Kluepfel D. 2017. Efficacy of anaerobic soil disinfestation in reducing plant-parasitic nematodes under nursery conditions. American Phytopathological Society, Pacific Division Annual Meeting, Riverside, CA.
  • Albu S, Strauss S and Kluepfel D. 2016. Anaerobic soil disinfestation as a pre-plant non-fumigation strategy for controlling soilborne phytopathogens in walnut nurseries. 2nd Annual UC Davis Postdoctoral Research Symposium. Davis, CA.
  • Albu S and Kluepfel D. 2016 Influence of carbon source on anaerobic soil disinfestation efficacy: The search for a rice bran alternative. 62nd Annual Conference on Soilborne Plant Pathogens. Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier, CA.
  • Silva, EC, Albu S, Ward BM, Garcia-Aroca T, Robertson, C, Price PP, Doyle V and Schneider RW. (2015). Cercospora leaf blight of soybean: phylogenetic analysis of the pathogen and disease management with micronutrients. 7th Annual Brazilian Soybean Congress, Florianopolis, Brazil.
  • Albu S, Price PP, Doyle, V and Schneider RW. 2014. Is Cercospora kikuchii the causal agent of Cercospora leaf blight (CLB) and purple seed stain (PSS) in the Gulf South? Phytopathology 104(Suppl. 3):S3.5.
  • Albu S, Price PP, Doyle V and Schneider RW. 2014. A molecular phylogenetic revision of Cercospora kikuchii. Proceedings, Southern Soybean Disease Workers.
  • Silva EC, Chanda AK, Garcia-Aroca T, Robertson CL, Tubana E, Ward BM, Albu S and Schneider RW. 2014. Management of Cercospora leaf blight of soybean with foliar applications of iron. Proceedings, Southern Soybean Disease Workers, Pensacola, FL.
  • Albu S, Price PP, Doyle V and Schneider RW. 2014. Cryptic diversity within Cercospora kikuchii on soybean in Louisiana. Phytopathology 104(Suppl. 2):S2.1.
  • Ward BM, Robertson CL, Schneider RW, Silva E and Albu S. 2013. Effects of minor elements on Cercospora leaf blight of soybean and production of cercosporin. Phytopathology 103(Suppl. 2):S2.158.
  • Albu S and Aime MC. 2013. A survey of ballistosporic phylloplane yeasts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Phytopathology 103(Suppl. 2):S2.4.
  • Albu S, Rush TA and Aime MC. 2012. Description of two anamorphic yeasts in the Ustilaginales. Inoculum 63(3):7.
  • Albu S, Blackwell M and Aime MC. 2011. Gulf coast tarball-associated yeasts: understudied agents of microbial hydrocarbon degradation and potential human pathogens. Inoculum 62(3):7.
  • Albu S and Aime MC. 2011. Phenology of basidiomycete ballistosporic phylloplane yeasts from seven fern species growing in Baton Rouge, LA. Inoculum 62(3):7.
  • Hagen M, Harral J, Albu S, Paradis H, Gendron R, Stenmark K and West J. 2007. Endothelial BMPR2 dysfunction results in pulmonary perivascular inflammation and hypercoagulation. AM J. Physiol: Lung Cell Mol Physiol Jun: 292(6):L1473-9.

Teaching and Mentoring

  • 2016. Mentor. Dept. of Plant Pathology, UC Davis Young Scholars Program. Mentored a high school student for six weeks. Project involved using PCR to validate bacterial isolates from soil and testing carbon sources for anaerobic soil disinfestation in the greenhouse.
  • 2015. Teaching Assistant. Field Research Experience Course. Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, Louisiana State University. Assisted with field preparation, planting and spraying of pesticides.
  • 2013. Teaching Assistant. Introductory Mycology, Fall 2013. Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, Louisiana State University. Led laboratories covering topics ranging from DNA extraction and sequencing to bioinformatics and phylogenetic methods.
  • 2010. Music Instructor. Evergreen School of Music, Denver, CO. Guitar instructor.
  • 2001–2010. Music Instructor. Pittsburgh, PA and Denver, CO. Private guitar and bass lessons
  • 2006. Teaching Assistant. Metropolitan State University of Denver. Department of Biology, Parasitology course. Led laboratories covering identification, life cycles, host-parasite relationships, and epidemiology of important human pathogens.

Awards and Recognition

  • 2016. 2nd Place Oral Presentation. Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation as a pre-plant non-fumigation strategy for controlling soilborne phytopathogens in walnut nurseries UC Davis Postdoctoral Research Symposium. Davis, CA. $100.
  • 2015. American Phytopathological Society Office of Private Sector Relations. Plant Pathology Experiential Award. $500.
  • 2014. Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association Graduate Student Scholarship. $2000.
  • 2014. Louisiana State University Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology Travel Award. $150.
  • 2014. 2nd Place. Graduate Student Oral Presentation at Proceedings of the Southern Soybean Disease Workers. $500.
  • 2011. Mycological Society of America Travel Award. $500.
  • 2006. Outstanding Student of Biology. Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Professional Societies

  • Phi Kappa Phi Collegiate Honor Society
  • American Phytopathological Society (National and Southern Division)
  • Mycological Society of America
  • Southern Soybean Disease Workers
  • American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)