Program Administration

Photo of Dr. Amanda Hodges
Dr. Amanda Hodges
DPM Director Entomology and Nematology

Dr. Amanda Hodges joined the DPM program as the Program Director during August of 2012. Dr. Hodges provides overall coordination for the program, routinely communicates with faculty and students, communicates with prospective students, interfaces with external stakeholders, coordinates the recruiting and promotion of the program, performs various administrative duties, and participants in relevant teaching assignments, and provides graduate assistantship funding to DPM students through grants and contracts.

Photo of Elena Alyanaya
Elena Alyanaya
Academic Advisor I Entomology and Nematology

Elena Alyanaya joined the DPM program as the Program Assistant during August of 2012. Ms. Alyanaya assists prospective students with application status questions, routinely communicates with current students and faculty regarding program-specific issues, and assists the DPM Director with various administrative duties.

Faculty Advisory Committee

The Faculty Advisory Committee is a multi-disciplinary group of faculty that provides overall operational support and review of program activities and documents. Current members of the DPM Faculty Advisory Committee include:

Photo of Dr. John Capinera
Dr. John Capinera
Faculty Advisor Entomology and Nematology
Photo of Dr. William (Billy) Crow
Dr. William (Billy) Crow
Faculty Advisor Entomology and Nematology
Photo of Dr. Nicholas Dufault
Dr. Nicholas Dufault
Faculty Advisor Plant Pathology
Photo of Dr. John E. Erickson
Dr. John E. Erickson
Faculty Advisor Agronomy
Photo of Dr. Norman C. Leppla
Dr. Norman C. Leppla
Faculty Advisor Entomology and Nematology
Photo of Dr. Oscar E. Liburd
Dr. Oscar E. Liburd
Faculty Advisor Entomology and Nematology
Photo of Dr. Gregory E. MacDonald
Dr. Gregory E. MacDonald
Faculty Advisor Agronomy
Photo of Dr. Heather McAuslane
Dr. Heather McAuslane
Faculty Advisor Entomology and Nematology
Photo of Dr. Kimberly Moore
Dr. Kimberly Moore
Faculty Advisor Environmental Horticulture, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center
Photo of Dr. John C. Peterson
Dr. John C. Peterson
Faculty Advisor Environmental Horticulture
Photo of Dr. Keith R. Schneider
Dr. Keith R. Schneider
Faculty Advisor Food Science and Human Nutrition
Photo of Dr. Jason A. Smith
Dr. Jason A. Smith
Faculty Advisor School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Photo of Dr. J. Stacy Strickland
Dr. J. Stacy Strickland
Faculty Advisor Osceola County IFAS Extension Office
Photo of Dr. Xin Zhao
Dr. Xin Zhao
Faculty Advisor Horticultural Sciences

DPM News!


The Fall 2017 edition of the DPM Newsletter is out! Thanks to the never-ending efforts from editor Blaire Colvin, the newsletter updates alumni, faculty, and current students on some of the highlights that happened in Fall of 2017.
Some of highlights include new student profiles, summer graduates, student accomplishments, outreach activities, the faculty highlight, alumni spotlight, and more!
Click here to download the Fall 2017 edition newsletter

The DPM Newsletter is published during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The DPM Newsletter was first published during fall semester 2013.

Questions, comments or news submissions should be provided to the editors:

Blaire Colvin, DPM Student
Alicia Kelley, DPM Student
Amanda Hodges, DPM Director

For Facebook/blog news contact DPM student Ploy Kurdmongkoltham.

2017: Spring / Summer / Fall

2016: SpringSummerFall

2015: SpringSummerFall

2014: SpringSummerFall

2013: Fall

Save the Date!

ATTENTION PROFESSIONALS WHO MANAGE TREES, SHRUBS, OR OTHER ORNAMENTAL PLANTS! The UF Landscape Entomology lab is hosting the first annual Florida Ornamental IPM Workshop in Gainesville, FL on February 7-8, 2018. This workshop will cover the latest information on the biology, movement, and management of insects, mites, and their associated pathogens of Florida trees, shrubs, and other ornamental plants.

During Day 1, experts from across the state and other regions of the U.S. will present the latest research on established and emerging exotic pests of ornamental plants. Poster and discussion sessions will address the most pressing challenges facing the state’s ornamental plant industry.

Day 2 will consist of hands-on workshops where participants learn about the most current IPM strategies and resources available to them in Florida.

CEUs will be offered!

For more information visit
To register for the event go to

Dr. John Peterson

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Spring 2017

Dr. John Peterson received his B.S. in Horticulture and Plant Science from the University of Rhode Island and his Ph.D. in Horticulture and Plant Physiology from Rutgers University. Dr. Peterson is a Professor in the UF Environmental Horticulture Department and the Director of the Plant Science Major at UF.

Before coming to UF he served as a Horticulture Professor, Department Head for the Horticulture and Crop Science Department, and Director of the Wine and Viticulture Program at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He has also served in many other positions including: Horticulture Professor at The Ohio State University; President of the AmeriFlora ’92 International Flower and Garden Exposition in Columbus, Ohio; President of the Massachusetts Horticulture Society in Boston, MA; President of Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding; CA; and Director of the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, CA. In these roles he has conducted research related to the production of floriculture crops and tropical foliage in indoor environments, plant nutrition and water quality, and research related to attracting students to majors and careers in plant science. Dr. Peterson first had the opportunity to come to UF on sabbatical leave and then decided to stay as a faculty member. He has been in his current role as Professor and Director of the Plant Science Major for 1.5 years. Continue reading

Dr. Gillett-Kaufman

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Fall 2016

Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman is an Associ-ate Extension Scientist in the UF Entomology and Nematology Department and has been working at UF for the past 12 years. Her appointment is 70% Extension, 20% teaching, and 10% research.
Dr. Gillett-Kaufman coordinates many of the online outreach activities in the Entomology and Nematology department including the department newsletter, social media pages, and the Featured Creatures website. In addition, Dr. Gillett-Kaufman teaches an undergraduate course, a study abroad course in Italy, and two graduate courses:

  • IPM 4254: Landscape IPM: Ornamentals and Turf
  • ALS 4404: Insects in Italy: The Role of Entomology in Art, History, and our Future (co-taught with Dr. Phillip Kaufman)
  • ENY 5405: Insect Vectors of Plant Pathogens
  • ALS 6046: Grant Writing (co-taught with Dr. Jaret Daniels)

Dr. Gillett-Kaufman’s current research is focused on insect pests of olive in Florida and developing IPM programs for olive production in Florida. You can check out one of her EDIS publications on olive pests here:
When asked what she enjoys most about her job, Dr. Gillett-Kaufman replied, “Learning new things and meeting new people. In my position I get to learn about and work on new and different topics all the time, it keeps things interesting.” Continue reading

Dr. Aaron Palmateer

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Summer 2016

Dr. Aaron Palmateer is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in ornamental plant pathology at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) in Homestead, FL. TREC is located in an area with a 12 month growing season that offers opportunities to conduct outdoor research trials year round. TREC has a diverse faculty group conducting research on numerous tropical and sub-tropical crops. This environment attracts students, postdocs, and visiting scientists from all over the world, especially those from tropical climates. When asked about what it is like to work at the TREC Dr. Palmateer stated: “I really enjoy working at the TREC because of the diversity and daily interaction with people from other disciplines.” Continue reading

Dr. Trevor Smith

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Spring 2016

Dr. Trevor Smith has served as Affiliate/Graduate Faculty at the University of Florida for the past five years. As an Assistant Professor (courtesy) in the Entomology and Nematology Department, Dr. Smith’s areas of specialty include taxonomy, biological control, eradication technologies, regulatory agricultural issues, biomass plant regulation, and leadership roles in regulatory ento-mology. He provides mentorship to graduate students by directing research projects and delivering lectures within his areas of interest. Dr. Smith serves on several graduate student committees, including current DPM/PhD student Cory Penca. MS Entomology and Nematology alumnae Ashley Poplin and Katrina Pickens, and DPM alumnus Eric LeVeen, also had Dr. Smith on their committees. Continue reading

Dr. Carrie Harmon

Dr. Carrie Harmon

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Fall 2015

Dr. Carrie Harmon has been employed with the University of Florida since 2003 in her role as Associate Director of the regional project the Southern Plant Diagnostic Network (SPDN). In 2009, Dr. Harmon also became the Director of the Plant Diagnostic Center. Currently, Dr. Harmon serves as Associate-In Extension Scientist for UF. Her appointment is 80% extension and 20% research.

In the Plant Diagnostic Center, Dr. Harmon places priority on the extension clinic. Her daily duties include keeping track of samples from anywhere in the world, providing recommendations and identifications, checking in on research with graduate students, and organizing various trainings. Her passion for plant pathology and educating others lends itself to successful hands-on detection and ID workshops for extension agents and international groups as well as valuable lectures for graduate students. Each training oversees 9-12 people on average and occur three to four times per semester.

Additionally, Dr. Harmon facilitates two graduate-level courses and one professional internship in the PDC.

Dr. Jason Smith

Dr. Jason Smith

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Summer 2015

Dr. Jason Smith is the Co-Director of Emerging Threats to Forests Research Team, Associate Professor of Forest Pathology, and State Forest Health Extension Specialist at the University of Florida. Dr. Smith has been employed at UF since 2006.

The focus of his research program is to provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and biology of interactions between tree hosts, pathogens, their vectors and the environment to reduce the impact of disease on trees in the context of global change. Current research focuses on: 1.) Exotic tree disease detection and management; 2.) Phylogeography and pathogenicity of tree pathogens; and 3.) Management of diseases affecting rare, endangered or relict tree species in a changing climate. In addition to serving as the Principal Investigator of the Forest Pathology Laboratory, Dr. Smith teaches several graduate and undergraduate courses and carries out forest health extension activities including advanced tree diagnostic services. Continue reading