For postdoctoral scientists and MS and PhD students, this laboratory offers a unique opportunity to conduct basic and applied research that addresses real-world problems. The involvement in extension activities may supplement the research experience. Basic research includes gene discovery, gene expression analysis, PCR, Southern and Northern hybridization, RFLP, AFLP, and gel electrophoresis. In our applied research we study the use of chemical, biological, and horticultural practices for disease control.
The extension part of this program is primarily focused on peaches. One highlight is the development of a fungicide resistance monitoring program known as 'Profile' in South Carolina and Georgia (together with our friends at the University of Georgia). The program is designed to determine location-specific sensitivity in M. fructicola to key fungicide classes. This work was initiated in 2006 with the development of the lipbalm tube assay (.pdf) that allows fast monitoring of fungicide resistance outside a research laboratory. The kit is provided free-of-charge to trained county agents for real-time resistance detection in commercial peach orchards. Within three days, the grower knows how to best adjust his fungicide program. Starting in 2009, we will do large scale profiling in SC and GA.
We are also involved in providing educational material, including the Southeastern Peach, Nectarine and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide (http://www.ent.uga.edu/pubs.htm) and the Southeastern Peach Growers Handbook. Both are available at the UGA Entomology website for publications. Furthermore, check out the disease chapter (which Dr. Schnabel co-authored) in the 2008 book “The Peach” edited by Layne and Bassie.