Sean Toporek

Graduate Research Assistant
Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, Coastal Research and Education Center

Phone: 843-402-5322


 Educational Background

Ph.D. in progress Plant Pathology
Clemson University 2022

M.S. Plant Pathology
Clemson University 2020

B.S. Agronomy
Iowa State University 2013

 Research Interests

My research focuses on two plant pathogenic oomycetes of cucurbits: Pythium and Pseudoperonospora cubensis. In my masters, I identified which are the predominant species of Pythium causing disease on cucurbits at different times of the year, while also evaluating grafting as a means to control pythium disease in watermelon.

My current research is focused on P. cubensis, the causal organism of cucurbit downy mildew. I'm conducting a nationwide survey of P. cubensis on melon, identifying QTL conferring resistance to P. cubensis in melon, and performing a metanalysis on the efficacy of P. cubensis targeting fungicides.


Toporek, S. M., and Keinath A. P. A Diagnostic Guide for Pythium Damping-off and Root and Stem Rot of Cucurbits. 2021. Plant Health Prog.

Keinath, A. P., Toporek, S. M., DuBose, V. B., and Zardus S. H. 2021. First Report of Alternaria japonica, a causal agent of black spot, on kale in South Carolina, United States. Plant Dis.

Toporek, S. M., and Keinath A. P. 2021. First Report of Colletotrichum scovillei Causing Anthracnose Fruit Rot on Pepper in South Carolina, United States. Plant Dis. 105:1222.

Toporek S. M., Branham S. E., Katawczik, M. L., Keinath A. P., Wechter W. P. 2021. QTL mapping of resistance to Pseudoperonospora cubensis Clade 1, Mating Type A2, in Cucumis melo. Theor. Appl. Genet. 134:2577–2586.

Toporek S.M. and Keinath A.P. 2020. Characterization of Pythium Species Collected from a Multiple Time-Point Sampling of Cucurbits in South Carolina. 104:2832–2842.

Toporek S.M. and Keinath A.P. 2020. Evaluating Cucurbit Rootstocks to Prevent Disease Caused by Pythium aphanidermatum and P. myriotylum on Watermelon. 104:3019–3025.