Jean Ristaino, North Carolina State University, USA
Dr. Ristaino 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 and leads a new cluster of faculty at NC State on “Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security”. Dr. Ristaino’s research impacts the science of plant pathology, epidemiology, population genomics, food security and has also influenced science policy.
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