Current Graduate Students

William Groover
Degree: Ph.D.
Major: Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Lawrence
Dissertation: Evaluation of UAS equipped with multispectral cameras as a diagnostic tool for soil-borne diseases in warm-season grasses.
Key Accomplishments: Has presented 7 conference oral presentations or posters and 2 extension presentations; Published 12 peer-reviewed papers; Published 13 extension publications; Published 3 conference papers and 2 conference abstracts. Won 1stplace for the “Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation” at the Caribbean Division American Phytopathological Annual meeting in Cuba, May 2019.
Started: Fall of 2017
Estimate Graduation: Spring of 2020
David Dyer
Degree: Ph.D.
Major: Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Lawrence
Dissertation: Evaluating the presence of Fusarium oxysporumf. sp. vasinfectumraces throughout a cotton growing season.
Key Accomplishments: Has presented 5 conference oral presentations or posters; Published 1 refereed papers and 6 peer-reviewed paper.Won 2ndplace for the “Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation” at the Society of Nematology Annual meeting in Raleigh, NC, July 2019.
Started: Spring of 2018
Estimate Graduation: Fall of 2020
Marina Nunes Rondon
Degree: Ph.D.
Major: Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Lawrence
Dissertation: Investigation of the Corynespora cassiicola pathogen and its interaction with soybean.
Key Accomplishments: Has presented 1 conference oral presentations; Published 1 peer-reviewed paper; 1 conference paper; and won second place as “Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation” at the Beltwide Cotton Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2018.
Started: Fall of 2017
Estimate Graduation: Fall of 2020
WinDi Sanchez
Degree: M.S.
Major: Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Lawrence
Thesis: Entomopathogenic nematodes as part of an integrated pest management program for control of small hive beetles (Aethina tumida)
Key Accomplishments: Has presented 1 conference oral presentations; Published 1 peer-reviewed paper
Started: Fall of 2018
Estimate Graduation: Spring of 2020
Kara Gordon
Degree: M.S.
Major: Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Lawrence
Research: Utilizing fertilizer and nematode management strategies to reduce nematode yield loss.
Started: Summer of 2019
Estimate Graduation: Summer of 2021
STUDENT
DISSERTATION/THESIS
KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS
CURRENT POSITION

Kaitlin Gattoni
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Systemic induced resistance to M. incognita by Bacillus spp.
Has presented 3 conference oral presentations; Published 2 conference papers; and won first place as “Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation” at the Beltwide Cotton Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2018 and first place as “Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation” at the Southern Soybean Disease Workers Conference, Panama City, Florida, 2019.
Ph.D. candidate Department of Plant Pathology. University of Florida

Ni Xiang
Ph.D. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Started: Fall 2012
Graduated: Fall 2016
Biological control of Bacillus spp. on Root-knot and Soybean Cyst nematode
Has presented 4 conference oral presentations or posters; Published 1 refereed journal article; 6 peer-reviewed papers; and 3 conference papers. 2016 International Student award, Auburn University; 2016 Graduate Travel Fellowship, Auburn University; 2015 Graduate Travel Fellowship, Auburn University; and 2013-2014 Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award, Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University.
Nematologist, Indigo, Raleigh, NC

Daniel Dodge
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Started: Summer 2015
Graduated: Spring 2017
Development of an integrated pest management program for Root knot nematode management is soybeans in Alabama utilizing plant hormones, starter fertilizers, and nematicides.
Has presented 2 conference oral presentations or posters; Published 1 Peer-reviewed papers and 1 conference paper.
Nematologist Valent BioSciences, Libertyville, IL

Stephen Till
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Started: Fall 2015
Graduated: Fall 2017
An integrated approach to improving corn plant health in Meloidogyne incognita infested fields with nematicides, plant growth regulators, and starter fertilizers.
Has presented 2 conference oral presentations or posters; Published 1 Peer-reviewed papers and 1 conference paper.
AGRI-AFC Agronomist &Technology Manager for South Alabama, Florida and South Mississippi located in Headland, Alabama.

Meredith Hall
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Started: Spring 2016
Graduated: Summer 2017
Root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) and fungal susceptibility of turmeric (Curcuma spp.) selections.
Has presented 2 conference oral presentations or posters;. Won “Outstand Graduate Student Poster Presentation” in the graduate student presentation contest at the Society of Nematology Meeting of the Americas in Montreal, Canada in July 2016.
N/A

Justin Luangkhot
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Spring 2016
Development of an integrated pest management program for plant parasitic nematode control on cotton in Alabama utilizing plant hormones, starter fertilizers, and nematicides.
Presented 8 conference oral or poster presentations; Published 4 Peer-reviewed papers and 2 conference papers. Awarded the Outstanding MS Student in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University 2014-2015.
Research and Development with Bayer Crop Science located in Kennewick, WA.

Caroline Land
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2015
The study of applied management options to enhance crop protection against Verticillium wilt in Gossypium hirsutum.
Presented 4 conference oral presentations or posters; Published 9 Peer-reviewed papers; and 1 conference paper. Awarded the Outstanding MS Student in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University 2013- 2014. Won “First Place” and “Second Place” in the graduate student presentation contest at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in 2014 and 2015.
PhD. Graduate student at GCREC (UF-IFAS) University of Florida.

Amber Smith
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Spring 2015
Cotton Cultivar Response to the Fusarium Wilt Root-knot Nematode Disease Complex and the Identification of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum Races in Alabama.
Presented 4 conference oral presentations or posters; Published 2 Peer-reviewed papers; and 2 conference paper. Won “Second Place”and “First Place” in the graduate student presentation contest at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in 2014 and 2015.
Research Scientist – Plant Pathologist and Nematologist with Bayer Crop Science located in Fresno, CA.

David Bailey
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2014
N/A
Presented 2 conference papers; Published 10 Peer-reviewed papers.
CPS Agricultural Technology Specialist in North Alabama and Central Tennessee located in Huntsvilles, Alabama.

Drew Schrimsher
M. S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2013.
The Studies of Plant Host Resistance to the Reniform Nematode in Upland Cotton and the Effects of Bacillus firmus GB-126 on Plant-Parasitic Nematodes.
Presented 5 conference papers; Publishing 1 paper from thesis; Published 10 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the Outstanding MS Student in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University 2011- 2012.
AGRI-AFC Agronomist &Technology Manager for South Alabama, Flordia and South Mississippi located in Slocomb, Alabama.

Scott R. Moore
Ph.D. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2012.
Evaluation of the Interactions of Soil Edaphic Characteristics and nematicides with Rotylenchulus reniformis and Developing Models for Prescription Management in Cotton.
Presented 9 conference papers; Publishing 4 papers from dissertation; Published 42 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the 2012 Competitive Monetary Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, Alabama Cotton Commission; Awarded the 2012 Cotton Disease Council Graduate Student Paper Competition, 1st Place; Awarded the 2010 Society of Nematologists Student Paper Competition, 2nd Place; Awarded the Outstanding PhD Student in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University 2010-2011.
Syngenta Research and Development Scientist II, Biological Assessment- North America Product Evaluation located in Monroe, LA.

Juan David Castillo
Ph.D. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Fall 2012.
Biocontrol of the Reniform nematode (Rotylenchulus reniformis) with the fungi Paecilomyces lilacinus and the bacterium Bacillus firmus, and mix of PGPR strains on Cotton crops in Alabama.
Presented 5 conference papers; Published 1 book chapter; Publishing 4 papers from dissertation; Published 6 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the 2012 Nathan A. Cobb Nematology Foundation John M. Webster Outstanding Student Award
Biointeractions and Plant Health, Wageninger UR, located in the Netherlands.

Tamara Z. Scott
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2012.
Cultivar Susceptibility to the Fusarium Wilt Complex and Race Characterization of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum.
Presented 2 conference papers; Publishing 1 papers from her thesis; Published 6 Peer-reviewed papers
MD Anderson Hospital Histology Technician located at Houston TX.

Dustin M. Herring
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2011.
N/A
Presented 2 conference papers; Published 5 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the 2010 Cotton Disease Council Graduate Student Paper Competition 1st Place; Awarded a 2010 Bayer Crop Science Summer internship; Awarded the Outstanding M. S. Student in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University 2009-2010; Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology Graduate Student Council representative 2009 – 2010
Monsanto Farm Research Associate located at the FTS Farm Winterville, MS.

Scott R. Moore
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Fall 2009.
Dimensional Movement of Rotylenchulus reniformis.
Presented 6 conference papers; Published 2 papers from his thesis; Published 37 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the 2009 Dow Agro Sciences Travel Award, Society of Nematologists; Awarded the 2009 Cotton Disease Council Graduate Student Paper Competition Top 3; Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology Graduate Student Council representative 2008 – 2009. Awarded the 2008 – 2009 Outstanding Master’s Student, Auburn University Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology.
N/A

Juan David Castillo
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Fall 2009.
Bio control Studies of Rotylenchulus reniformis in Cotton Crops in Alabama.
Presented 4 conference papers; Published 2 papers from his thesis; Awarded the 2007 First Place in Poster Competition in Auburn Graduate School Symposium; Awarded the 2009 Cotton Disease Council Graduate Student Paper Competition, 2nd Place.
N/A

Nicholas Sekora
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Fall 2009.
Identification of Nematode Species by FAME Analysis.
Presented 10 conference papers; Published 2 papers from his thesis; Published 17 Peer-reviewed papers Awarded Second Place in the American Phytopathological Society Southern Division Graduate Student Competition, February 2009; Awarded First Place in the Cotton Disease Council Graduate Student Competition, January, 2009; Awarded the Outstanding Masters Graduate Student in Plant Pathology, May 2008; Awarded First Place in the Auburn University Graduate Student Forum, Science Category, March 2008.
Syngenta Research and Development Scientist I located in Gainesville, FL.

Taylor B. Hatchet
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Spring 2009.
Survey of the biological activity of 7,10,12-trihydroxy-8-octadecenoic acid (TOD) from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its potential use to control Magnaporthe grisea and other plant pathogenic fungi.
Presented 3 conference papers; Published 4 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the Outstanding Masters Graduate Student in Plant Pathology, May 2007.
Co-Owner of Hatchet Farms, Jamison, Alabama.

Amy Dismuckes
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2008.
N/A
N/A
Horticulutre expension agent, Georgia

Stan R. Usery
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Spring 2005.
Rotylenchulus reniformis tolerant and/or resistant cotton varieties.
Presented 4 conference papers; Published 1 paper from his thesis; Published 17 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the Outstanding Masters Graduate Student in Plant Pathology, May 2005.
Co-owner of Usery Farms, and owner of Usery Nematode services in Elkmont, Alabama.

Jarrod R. Jones
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2004.
Cotton production utilizing winter cover crops for disease suppression and enhanced soil health.
Presented 2 conference papers; Published 2 paper from his thesis; Published 17 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the Outstanding Masters Graduate Student in Plant Pathology, May 2004.
Assistant Director of the Gulf Coast Research Center, Auburn University.

Nicholas W. Greer
M.S. – Plant Pathology
Co-Major with Dr. Joe Kloepper
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2004.
N/A
N/A
Aphis, Shreveport, LA.

Aaron J. Palmateer
Ph.D. – Plant Pathology
Co-Major with Dr. Dr. Morgan-Jones
Professor: Dr. Kathy Lawrence
Graduated: Summer 2003.
Mycoflora relations and interactions with Rotylenchulus reniformis on cotton.
Presented 4 conference papers; Published 4 papers from his dissertation; Published 57 Peer-reviewed papers; Awarded the competitive Auburn University Harry Merriwether Fellowship (2000-2003) monetary award of $4000; Awarded the Auburn University Graduate Student Research Award May 2003; Awarded the Outstanding Ph.D. student in the Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology at Auburn University May 2003; Awarded the Southern Division American Phytopathological Society travel award of $1000.
Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Ornamental Plant Pathology, Tropical Research & Education Center of the University of Florida.

STUDENT
DISSERTATION/THESIS
MAJOR ADVISOR
CURRENT POSITION

Jane Farr
M.S.
2012
J. F. Kloepper
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Director of the Plant Science Research Center, Auburn University.

Alexander Klapp
M.S.
2012
The use of Anaerobic Fermentation Acids and Aldehydes to Control Nematodes and Improve Soil Health.
R. Rodriguez-Kabana
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Santosh Shiwakoti
M.S.
2011
Management Effects on Yield and Flavonoid Content in American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora).
Dennis Shannon
Agronomy and Soils Department

Cigdem Surmelioglu
M.S.
2011
Genetic Resistance to Reniform nematode (Rotylenchulus reniformis) in Upland Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum)
David Weaver
Agronomy and Soils Department

Marleny Cadena-Burkett
Ph.D.
2010
Studies on re-colonization of microbial populations in the rhizosphere of Chrysanthemum after soil steaming.
J. F. Kloepper
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Research Scientist with Pathway Biologicals, Tampa, FL

Carmilo Ramirez
2010
Mechanisms of action in Bacilli PGPR for Plant Growth Promotion and Biocontrol
J. F. Kloepper
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Professor University of Columbia

Vijay Kotamraju
2010
Commercial Potential of Microbial Inoculants for Sheath Blight Management and Yield Enhancement of Rice.
R.Muagala
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Extension Scientist India

George Matusick
Ph.D.
2010
Pathogenicity and virulence of root-inhabiting Ophiostomatoid fungi to PINUS species of the southeastern United States. School of Forestry
Dr. Lori Eckhart
Integrated Forest Pathology/Entomology
Postdoctoral Researcher, Australia

Natosha Simpson
M.S.
2010
Functional Genomics of Reniform Nematode Interactions with the Cotton Species, Gossypium arboreum and Gossypium longicalyx.
Dr. Ramesh Kantety
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Alabama A&M University

Geraldine Nicole Moss
M.S.
2010
Genomics of the Reniform Nematode Interactions with Cotton Species: Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense.
Dr. Ramesh Kantety
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Alabama A&M University

Robert McEwan
M.S.
2010
Rapid Detection of Rotylenchulus reniformis DNA in a Soil Metagenomic Pool and Evaluation of Tomato Germplasm for Resistance
Dr. Ramesh Kantety
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Alabama A&M University
Research Assistant Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis

Yonathan Tilahun
Ph.D.
2009
Gene expression during early infection to reniform nematode in Gossypium species.
Dr. Ramesh Kantety
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Alabama A&M University

Tatu Nyaku
M.S.
2009
Tomato gene expression during reniform nematode infections
Dr. Ramesh Kantety
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Alabama A&M University

Anthony Adesemoye
Ph.D.
2009
Dr. Joe Kloepper
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Auburn University

Jessica Cofield
M.S.
2009
Identification of genes involved in the production of a novel antifungal agent (7, 10, 12-trihydroxy-8(E)-octadecenoic acid) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Sang-Jin Suh
Microbiology Department
Auburn University

Billy Hatcher
M.S.
2009
Dr. John Murphy
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Auburn University

Sandeep Ready Marla
M.S.
2008
Evaluation of Crotalaria juncea populations as a summer covercrop to manage Meloidogyne incognita and Rotylenchulus reniformis.
Dr. Robin Huettle
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Auburn University

Marleny Cadena-Burkett
M.S.
2008
Suppressiveness of root-knot nematodes mediated by rhizobacteria.
Dr. Joe Kloepper
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Auburn University

Maria E. Rivas-Davila
Ph.D.
2005
Her research focuses on PGPR inoculation as alternative to nitrogen fertilization in turf grasses.
Dr. Joe Kloepper
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Chris da Paz
Ph.D.
2004
Her research focuses on induced systemic resistance elicited by PGPR on soybean infected by Rhizoctonia solani: anatomical and biochemical features.
Dr. Joe Kloepper
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Chris Partridge
Ph.D.
2002
His research is a revisionary study of the Haplotrichum-complex (Hyphomycetes) with a consideration of morphologically similar Cladosporium-like taxa
Dr. Gareth Morgan-Jones
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology

William Baker
Ph.D.
2002
His research is a revisionary study of several genera of lignicolous Hyphomycetes.
Dr. Gareth Morgan-Jones
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Hernan Garcia-Ruiz
M.S.
2002
Mature plant resistance of pepper to Cucumber mosaic virus
Dr. John F. Murphy
Dept. of Entomology and Plant Pathology