Rapid Diagnostic Tools for Phytophthora


Catania, 17 _ 18 May  2018

Prof. Jean Ristaino

North Caroline State University (U.S.A.)


Dr. Ristaino’s works on the population genetics of historical epidemics of the pathogen that caused the Irish famine Phytophthora infestans and studies the population structure of present day late blight outbreaks. 

Her lab is interested in the impact of migration, recombination and hybridization in the evolution of Phytophthora species. 

Her work has tracked migrations of P. infestans from its ancestral home in the Andes to Ireland and the US using pioneering research techniques on 150-year-old historic herbarium specimens. 

Her recent work with collaborators has used next generation sequencing to study historical outbreaks. 

She has also described new species of Phytophthora and developing taxonomic keys for identification.  She also conducts Phytophthora and molecular diagnostics workshops globally in developing countries.

She was named a Jefferson Science Fellow with the US Department of State and has worked on a range of emerging plant diseases that impact global food security with USAID. She serves on the advisory board of the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine - TRICEM.

She leads a new faculty cluster at NC State on “Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security” and the Triangle Global Food Security Initiative. She was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholar award in 2017 and will teach and work at the University of Catania in 2018. Dr. Ristaino’ research impacts the science of plant pathology, epidemiology, population genomics, food security and influences US science policy.