Welcome to the California Department of Food and Agriculture

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PPDC labs

Botany Laboratory

Dr. Genevieve Walden, Senior Plant Systematist (Genevieve's webpage)

Education: B.S., Plant Biology, 2005, University of California, Davis; M.S., Ecology & Systematic Biology, 2010, San Francisco State University; Ph.D., Integrative Biology, 2015, University of California, Berkeley.

Experience: Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Utah, Salt Lake City & University of California, Davis, 2015-2016; Research Contractor, Herbarium of the Burke Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, 2016-2017; Senior Plant Taxonomist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2017-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Native and naturalized California flora, evolution and distribution; botanical nomenclature; Hydrophyllaceae, Namaceae, and Boraginales.

Entomology Laboratory

Dr. Andy Cline, Senior Environmental Scientist, Supervisor (Andy's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1996, University of Alabama, Huntsville; M.S., 2000, University of Missouri, Columbia; Ph.D., 2005, Lousiana State University, Baton Rouge.

Experience: Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2005-2007; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2007; Senior Insect Biosystematist (Supervisor), California Department of Food and Agriculture (2007-2015); Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisor), California Department of Food and Agriculture (2015-present).

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Coleoptera (Cucujoidea).

Dr. Marc E. Epstein, Senior Insect Biosystematist (Marc's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1977, Colorado State University, Fort Collins; M.S., 1982, University of Minnesota, St. Paul; Ph.D., 1988, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

Experience: Museum Specialist, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 1992-2003; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2003-2006; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2006-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Lepidoptera.

Dr. Stephen D. Gaimari, Environmental Program Manager I (Steve's webpage)

Education: B.A., 1990, Clark University, Worcester, Massachussetts; M.S., 1993, Washington State University, Pullman; Ph.D., 1998, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 1998-2000; Research Entomologist, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 2000-2001; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2001-2004; Senior Insect Biosystematist (Specialist), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2004; Senior Insect Biosystematist (Supervisor), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2004-2006; Program Supervisor III (Entomology), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2006-2009; Program Supervisor IV (Botany & Entomology), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2009-2015; Environmental Program Manager I (Entomology & Botany), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2015-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Diptera (Lauxanioidea, Odiniidae, Tephritoidea, Asiloidea), Mecoptera, Phthiraptera, Siphonaptera.

Dr. Rosser W. Garrison, Senior Insect Biosystematist (Rosser's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1971, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff; M.S., 1974, University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., 1979, University of California, Berkeley.

Experience: Terrestrial Invertebrate Ecologist, University of Puerto Rico, 1981-1982; Senior Biologist/Entomologist, Los Angeles County Agriculture Commissioner's Office, 1984-2004; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2004-2007; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2007-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Miscellaneous small orders of insects (Orthoptera, Dermaptera, Hemiptera, etc.); miscellaneous arthropods other than Arachnida; Mollusca; miscellaneous vertebrates and invertebrates.

Dr. Martin Hauser, Senior Insect Biosystematist (Martin's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1993, Technical University of Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany; M.S., 2002, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Ph.D., 2005, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Experience: CDFA/UC Davis Postdoctoral Fellow, 2005-2007; Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, 2007-2008; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2008-2010; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2010-present.

Area of Specialty: Diptera (Stratiomyidae, Tephritidae, Therevidae), molecular systematics.

Dr. Peter H. Kerr, Senior Insect Biosystematist (Peter's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1993, University of California, Santa Cruz; Ph.D., 2004, University of Maryland.

Experience: CDFA/UC Davis Postdoctoral Fellow, 2003-2004; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2004-2007; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2007-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Arachnida (especially Acari), Diptera (Rhagionidae, Tephritidae), molecular diagnostics.

Dr. Alessandra Rung, Senior Insect Biosystematist (Alessandra's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1990, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro; M.S., 1993, Universidade Estadual de São Paulo; Ph.D., 2003, University of Maryland, College Park.

Experience: Research Associate, University of Maryland, College Park, 2003-2007; Adjunct Faculty, Prince George's County Community College, Largo, Maryland, 2006; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2007-2010; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2010-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Auchenorrhyncha, Sternorrhyncha, Diptera (Opomyzoidea, Tephritoidea).

Dr. Natalia von Ellenrieder, Senior Insect Biosystematist (Natalia's webpage)

Education: B.S. & M.S., 1996, National University of La Plata, Argentina; Ph.D., 1999, National University of La Plata, Argentina.

Experience: DAAD Postdoctoral fellow at the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart, Germany, 2000; Fundación Antorchas Postdoctoral Fellow at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 2001-2002; Associate Research Biologist, Chico Research Foundation, 2004-2005; Associate Researcher for CONICET, Argentina, 2005-2007; Adjunct Researcher for CONICET, Argentina, 2007-2009; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2010-2012; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2012-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Sternorrhyncha (exclusive of Aphidoidea), Thysanoptera, Mollusca.

Dr. Kevin Williams, Associate Insect Biosystematist (Kevin's webpage)

Education: A.S., 2003, Yuba Community College, Marysville, California; B.S., 2005, University of California, Davis; Ph.D., 2012, Utah State University, Logan.

Experience: Postdoctoral Researcher, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil, 2013; Biological Scientist IV, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, Florida, 2014-2016; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2008-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Hymenoptera; miscellaneous small orders of insects (Orthoptera, Dermaptera, Hemiptera, etc.); miscellaneous arthropods other than Arachnida; Mollusca.

Dr. Shaun L. Winterton, Senior Insect Biosystematist (Shaun's webpage)

Education: B.A.S., 1992, University of Southern Queensland; Post-grad Diploma, 1997, University of Queensland; Advanced Diploma, 1999, Central Queensland University; Ph.D., 2000, University of Queensland

Experience: Research Associate, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2002-2003; Associate Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2003-2006; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2006-2007; Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Australia, 2007-2010; Senior Insect Biosystematist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2010-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Lepidoptera, Neuroptera, Diptera (Therevidae, Scenopinidae, Acroceridae).

Nematology Laboratory

Dr. John Chitambar , Senior Plant Nematologist (John's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1975, M.S., 1977, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (University of Allahabad), India; Ph.D., 1983, University of California, Davis.

Experience: Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Department of Nematology, University of California, Davis, 1983; Associate, Department of Nematology, University of California,Riverside, 1983; Lecturer, Department of Biology, Allahabad Agricultural Institute, India, 1984-85; Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Davis, 1985-1987; Associate Plant Nematologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, 1987-1992; Associate Waste Management Specialist, California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, 1992-1993; Associate Plant Nematologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, 1993-1998; Professor of Biology, Cosumnes River College, August-December 2004; Senior Plant Nematologist (Specialist), California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, 1999-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Nematode Diagnostics and Research.

Dr. Ke Dong , Senior Plant Nematologist (Ke's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1985, M.S., 1988, Shenyang Agricultural University, China; Ph.D., 1996, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Experience: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Riverside, 1997-1998; Postdoctoral Researcher, Clemson University, SC, 1999. Associate Plant Nematologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2000-2005; Senior Plant Nematologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2005-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Nematode Diagnostics and Research.

Dr. Sergei Subbotin , Senior Plant Nematologist (Sergei's webpage)

Education: M.S., 1981, K.A. Timirjazev Moscow Agricultural Academy, Moscow, Russia; Ph.D., 1987, K.I. Skrjabin Institute of Helminthology, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

Experience: Research Assistant, Plant Immunity Laboratory, V.R. Villiams Institute of Food Plants, Agricultural Academy of Sciences, Moscow region, Russia, 1981-1983; Researcher, Phytonematology Laboratory, K.I. Skrjabin Institute of Helminthology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, 1983-1991; Senior Researcher, Institute of Parasitology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, 1991-present; Visiting Researcher, Royal Society of London, UK, Harpenden, IACR-Rothamsted, 1998-1999; NATO Fellowship Researcher, Agricultural Research Centre, Merelbeke, Belgium, 1999-2000, 2001-2002; Scientific Researcher. Institut für Nematologie und Wirbeltierkunde, Münster, Germany, 2001-2002; Guest Professor, Gent University, Gent, Belgium, 2003–present; Visiting Researcher, Agricultural Research Centre, Merelbeke, Belgium, 2002-2003; Visiting Nematologist, Department of Nematology, University of California, Riverside, California, 2004-2005; Assistant Nematologist, Department of Nematology, University of California, Riverside, California, 2005-2006; Associate Plant Nematologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2006-2008; Senior Plant Nematologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2008-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Nematode Diagnostics and Research.

Plant Pathology Laboratory

Dr. Cheryl Blomquist, Senior Environmental Scientist, Supervisor (Cheryl's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1981, Washington State University, Pullman; Ph.D., 2000, University of California, Davis.

Experience: Visiting Posdoctoral Scientist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, 2000-2001; Associate Plant Pathologist (Diagnostician), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2001-2004; Senior Plant Pathologist (Diagnostician), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2004-2011; Senior Plant Pathologist (Supervisor), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2011-2015; Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisor), California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2015-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Sudden Oak Death nursery and forestry testing, Phytophthoras, general Mycology.

Lucita Kumagai, Senior Plant Pathologist (Luci's webpage)

Education:B.S., 1986, California State University, Sacramento; M.S, 1992, California State University, Sacramento

Experience: Adjunct Professor, CSU Sacramento, Biology, 1988-1989; Part-time Faculty, San Joaquin Delta College, Stockton, Core Biology, 1990; Part-time Faculty, Sacramento City College, Sacramento, Microbiology, 1995; Agricultural Biological Technician, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1987-1997; Associate Plant Pathologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1997-2000; Consultant, Empire Farms Research Lab, Davis, CA, 2000-2001; Seed Health Testing Specialist, Agri-Analysis LLC, Davis, CA, 2007-2009; Senior Agricultural Biological Technician, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2009-2010; Associate Plant Pathologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2010-2012; Senior Plant Pathologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2012-present

Area of Specialty/Responsibility:Huanglongbing (HLB) testing; Plant pathogenic bacteriology

Dr. Suzanne Rooney Latham, Senior Plant Pathologist (Suzanne's webpage)

Education: A. S. Merced College, 1996; B.S., 1999. University of California, Davis; M.S, 2002, University of California, Davis; Ph.D. 2005, University of California, Davis.

Experience: Graduate Research Assistant, Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis. 1999-2005; Teaching Assistant, University of California, Davis, 2000, 2003; Post-Doctoral Scholar, Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, 2005-2006; Adjunct Professor, Solano Community College, Biology, 2006-present; Associate Plant Pathologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2006-2009; Senior Plant Pathologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2009-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility:Diagnose plant disease specimens caused by fungi; Head scientist of the Phytophthora ramorum (causal agent of sudden oak death) lab program for CDFA; Conduct research on newly emerging plant diseases in California; co-instructor of plant disease diagnostic seminar at UC Davis.

Dr. Tongyan Tian, Senior Plant Pathologist (Tongyan's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1982, Shenyang Agricultural College;Ph.D., 1991, University of California, Davis.

Experience: Senior Plant Pathologist (Diagnostician), CDFA-PPDB, 2001-present; Staff Research Asssociate, Dept. of Plant Pathology, UC Davis, 1997-2001; Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept. of Plant Pathology, UC Davis, 1992-1996; Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept. of Entomology, UC Davis, 1992 Feb.-1992 Aug.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Responsible for plant virus diagnostics.

Dr. Yunping Zhang, Senior Plant Pathologist (Yunping's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1985, Plant Protection, Northwest Agriculture University, Yangling, China; Ph.D., 1996, Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis.

Experience: Research Assistant, Pomology Research Institute, Shaanxi Province, China, 1985 – 1988; Visiting Scholar, Washington State University, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Prosser, Washington, 1988 – 1990; Graduate Study, University of California Davis, 1990 – 1296; Visiting post doctoral researcher, Department of Plant Pathology, UC Davis, 1997-1999;  Staff Research Associate, Department of Plant Pathology, UC Davis, 1999-2001;  Associate Plant Pathologist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2001-2006; Senior Plant Pathologist, Department of Food and Agriculture, 2006-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Nursery diagnostics laboratory; Seed health testing; Perennial fruit tree and grapevine viral diseases.

Seed Botany Laboratory

Dr. Riad Z. Baalbaki, Senior Seed Botanist (Riad's webpage)

Education: B.S., 1979, M.S., 1982, American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Ph.D., 1989, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Experience: Assistant Professor of Plant Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 1992-1998; Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 1998-2005 (Chairperson, 1998-2001); Associate Seed Botanist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2006-2008; Senior Seed Botanist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2008-present.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Seed germination and viability testing; vigor evaluation; seed moisture determination; biochemical seed analysis; statistical analysis.

Deborah Meyer, Environmental Program Manager I (Deborah's webpage)

Education: B. A., 1986, M.A., 1978, California State University, Sacramento.

Experience: 2015–present Environmental Program Manager I (Nematology, Plant Pathology, Seed Science), CDFA; 2012–2015 Program Supervisor (Nematology, Plant Pathology, Seed Science), CDFA; 2004–2012 Senior Seed Botanist–Supervisor, CDFA Seed Laboratory; 2000–2004 Senior Seed Botanist, CDFA Seed Taxonomy Laboratory; 1984–2000 Associate Seed Botanist, CDFA Seed Taxonomy Laboratory; 1982–1984 Seed Botanist II, CDFA Seed Taxonomy Laboratory; 1980–1981 Agricultural Inspector I, CDFA Seed Physiology Laboratory and Botany Laboratory; 1978–1980 Agricultural Aid, CDFA Seed Physiology Laboratory and Botany Laboratory.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Seed Laboratory–Supervisor (staff of 8 scientific specialists, 8 environmental scientists, 4 technicians and several seasonal staff); primarily responsible for identification of seeds, fruits, and other plant propagules on a worldwide basis; provides scientific consultation on seed identification and seed quality assessment; performs research and develops new diagnostic methods related to the specialized fields of seed taxonomy and seed quality assessment; serves as Quality Assurance Manager for the Seed Laboratory.

Dr. Robert Price , Senior Seed Botanist (Robert's webpage)

Education: B.A., 1976, Cornell University; M.S., 1979, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Ph.D., 1987, University of California, Berkeley.

Experience: Senior Seed Botanist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2013-present; Associate Seed Botanist, California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2009-2013; Biological Consultant and Technical Editor for the Conifers Around the World project, 2001-2009; Assistant Professor, University of Georgia, 1993-2000; Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Systematics, Indiana University, 1990-1993; Research Associate, Generic Flora of the Southeastern United States, 1987-1990.

Area of Specialty/Responsibility: Identification and evaluation of seeds and fruits of agricultural, weed, and native plant species; curation and acquisition of specimens for the CDFA Seed Herbarium; systematics of Brassicaceae and conifers; molecular systematics.

Environmental Scientists

Jacqueline Airoso, Environmental Scientist (Entomology) & Collection Manager (CSCA)

916-262-1160 office, Jacqueline.airoso@cdfa.ca.gov
Education: B.S., 2007, Entomology, University of California, Davis.

Ying Yi Guo, Environmental Scientist (Plant Pathology)

René Luna, Environmental Scientist (Nematology)

Israfiel Mohammed, Environmental Scientist (Plant Pathology)

Monica Negrete, Environmental Scientist (Plant Pathology)

Grishma Parikh, Environmental Scientist (Entomology)

Evelyn Ramos, Environmental Scientist (Seed Botany)

Obediah Sage, Environmental Scientist (Entomology)

Joe Viglienzoni, Environmental Scientist (Plant Pathology)

Connie Weiner, Environmental Scientist (Seed Botany)

Patrick Woods, Environmental Scientist (Plant Pathology)

916-262-1325 (office); patrick.woods@cdfa.ca.gov