Recent Highlights

Recent Highlights
John Bowman, USAID’s liaison for the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab (center) holds the award, flanked by (L-R) Brhane Gebrekidan, Amer Fayad, Muni Muniappan, and Short Heinrichs.

Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab gains media attention

Over the past year, Dr. Muniappan’s mission to control the threat of the invasive species, Tuta absoluta has garnered attention in both national and local media. Innovation Lab expertise has been featured in Scientific American, WSLS 10, The Roanoke Times, WVTF Radio, and Virginia Tech News.

Colleagues collaborate to control pearl millet headminer

In late September, Dr. Muniappan traveled to Senegal, Niger, and Uganda. While in Senegal, he and colleagues released parasite wasps for biological control of the pearl millet headminer. They carried out similar work in Niger. In Uganda, they followed up with the progress of the groundnut leafminer project.

Twitter attracts key influencers

In mid-September, the Innovation Lab conducted an analysis of influential Twitter followers in an effort to comprehend our social media reach. Among our most noteworthy followers were the Nelson Mandella Foundation, our fellow innovation labs, large government and nonprofit organizations (i.e., the U.S. Embassy Nepal, the World Agroforestry Centre), agricultural news entities (i.e., Food and Agriculture Organization Newsroom), as well as science journalists from the New York Times and NPR. Follow us on Twitter @IPM_IL.

Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab receives International Plant Protection Award of Distinction

In late August, Innovation Lab folks attended the XVIII International Plant Protection Congress, as well as several International Association of Plant Protection Sciences governing board meetings in Berlin. While there, the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab received the International Plant Protection Award of Distinction as part of the IPPC opening ceremony. Geoff Norton, president of the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences, lauded the team for their efforts in creating and promoting IPM packages, hands-on training, and for having a long-term commitment to graduate student education.

Technical advisory meeting jump-starts future plans

In early August, Dr. Muniappan, Dr. Fayad, and Zara Shortt held an Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab Technical Advisory Committee meeting at the end of the American Phytopathological Society annual meeting. They reviewed past Innovation Lab activities and planned future endeavors with fellow committee members, Dr. Buyung Hadi and Dr. Lawrence Datnoff. Other members were unable to attend due to various personal reasons.

Associate Director receives recognition

In early August, Dr. Fayad received a certificate honoring his service to the American Phytopathological Society in Pasadena, California. He had just completed a term as board member for the Office of International Programs (OIP) of APS. “I was very happy and honored to receive the certificate recognizing my service to APS’s Office of International Programs,” Fayad said. “I remain committed to serving the plant pathology discipline, OIP, and APS in promoting collaboration among plant pathologists and plant protection specialists, with the aim of increasing food security through improved plant health and agricultural productivity, especially in the developing world.”

Jute hairy caterpillar snags notice in Bangladesh

In late July, Dr. Fayad conducted a survey of plant diseases with collaborator Naidu Rayapati in the fields of Jessore, Bangladesh. There, they observed virus symptoms on all kinds of gourds — sponge, ash, bitter, pointed, bottle snake, and teasel, as well as eggplant and summer tomato. They also noted damage on jute from the jute hairy caterpillar.

Workshop participants fight back against invasive species

In mid-July, Dr. Muniappan and Zara Shortt headed to Tanzania to spread their wealth of knowledge. The trip’s itinerary included one workshop on the beneficial fungus Trichoderma and two workshops on the tomato leafminer Tuta absoluta. The Trichoderma workshop included 24 participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. Resource persons were from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India. The Tuta absoluta workshops included more than 150 participants from Tanzania.

Director shares project news

In mid-June, Dr. Muniappan attended a Horticulture Innovation Lab meeting in Zambia to inform the crowd on Innovation Lab activities and to explore future joint projects. A joint project between both labs has already been established in Cambodia, and additional cooperative efforts are expected when all Innovation Lab projects are issued.

Recent Highlights
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