Sean Toporek

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

Phone: 843-402-5322


 Educational Background

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 population genetic analysis 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.


1. Toporek S.M. and Keinath A.P. 2020. Characterization of Pythium Species Collected from a Multiple Time-Point Sampling of Cucurbits in South Carolina. Plant Dis.

2. Toporek S.M. and Keinath A.P. 2020. Evaluating Cucurbit Rootstocks to Prevent Disease Caused by Pythium aphanidermatum and P. myriotylum on Watermelon. Plant Dis.