In This Issue – 50.2
President’s Report Welcome to the 2016 World Congress
Things to Know Before You Go To the World Congress
2015 Annual Report
Journal Highlights Member Profile
Membership Matters Member News New Members
In Memoriam

Jessica Rupp

I am a currently the Extension Row Crop Plant Pathology specialist for potato, sugarbeet, and pulse crops at Montana State University.  Prior to joining the faculty as an assistant professor in September of 2015, I was working on my PhD at Kansas State University with Dr. Harold Trick.

My current research program centers on seed potato, sugarbeet, and pulse pathogens.  Just like most Extension specialists, I have an applied field pathology program.  This year, most of the work focuses on attempting to control Rhizoctonia solani.  However, more unusually, the lab is utilizing tissue culture to improve techniques, efficiency, and productivity.  Precision genome editing and RNAi mediated gene silencing are excellent tools to address the challenges that face my crops.

While I do not formally teach any classes, I guest lecture over my areas of expertise: Integrated Pest Management and virology.  I also give a variety of talks to growers, commodity groups, garden clubs and other various groups around the state.

While the wording “Extension plant pathologist” may seem quite distant from tissue culture, I can say that it is not!  At Montana State, all seed potatoes originate through tissue culture from the Montana State University Seed Potato Certification Program.  There are 122 different potato varieties maintained in tissue culture, with the goal of producing disease-free seed.  Potato virus Y remains especially important, and Montana has a zero tolerance standard for seed potato production.  I consider myself very fortunate to work so closely with the certification program.

My first SIVB meeting was in St. Louis in 2010.  As a brand-new graduate student, I was immediately interested in becoming involved with the society.  I served as the plant student-co chair, then the past-chair.  SIVB allows students to flourish, including allowing them to co-convene sessions, which I did last year.  I have also served on the plant program committee and the long-range planning committee. This year, as I make the transition from student to professor, I will be convening a session entitled “Applications of NGS technology,” thanks much in part to assistance I received from David Songstad and others to secure premier speakers in the field.  This year, I am looking forward to bringing my own graduate student to San Diego.  I look forward to many more years of involvement with SIVB!