Dr. Tesfamariam Mengistu

Featured in: DPM Fall 2017 Newsletter

Dr. Tesfamariam Mengistu is an Assistant Professor of Nematology in the UF Entomology and Nematology Department with a 45% extension, 30% teaching, and 25% research appointment. He also serves as the Director of the UF Nematode Diagnostic and Assay Laboratory on campus.

Dr. Mengistu received his B.S. in Plant Sciences from Alemaya University, Ethiopia, his M.S. in Nematology from the University of Ghent, Belgium, and his PhD in Soil Ecosystem Phytopathology and Nematology from the University of Bonn in Germany. Before coming to UF, Dr. Mengistu worked as a Plant Pathologist and Nematologist at the National Plant Protection Research Institute in Ethiopa and as a Post Doc at the University of Illinois working on research focused on nematodes that infect plants grown for bioenergy crops. Continue reading

Dr. Adam Dale

Featured in: DPM Newsletter Summer 2017

Dr. Adam Dale (see above photo left) is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist of turf and ornamental entomology in the UF Entomology and Nematology Department. He has been with the department a year and a half. Dr. Dale received his B.S. in biology and his Ph.D. in Entomology with a minor in horticulture from North Carolina State University. When asked what got him interested in entomology, Dr. Dale shared the following, “I began college interested in human biology and was working towards a clinical research or medical career. Towards the end of college, I began working for an entomologist out of desperation for a job, which ended up redirecting my interests towards entomology and ecology. That position turned into a multiple year job and me going to graduate school to study entomology.” Continue reading

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: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1046.
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

Dr. John Erickson


Featured in: DPM Newsletter Spring 2015

Dr. John Erickson is an Associate Professor and Environmental Agronomist at the University of Florida. He joined the Gator Nation faculty in the summer of 2007 after completing his post doctoral research at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD. That same year Dr. Erickson became an Affiliate for the UF School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE). His post-doctoral research focused on wetland responses to elevated CO2 levels resulting from global climate change. Prior to working at the Smithsonian, Dr. Erickson completed his Bachelor’s and Ph.D. in Physiology within the Forestry Department at the University of Wisconsin. Continue reading

Dr. Kimberly Moore

Dr. Kimberly Moore
Featured in: DPM Newsletter Fall 2014

After graduating with her MS and PhD in Horticulture from Iowa State University, Dr. Kimberly Moore was first hired
as an assistant professor at the University of Florida in 1995. Currently, Dr. Moore is a Professor who focuses on teaching and conducting research in the Environmental Horticulture Department at the UF Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (FLREC). Her continued efforts and successes in the horticultural sciences have resulted in the recently added title of Distinguished Teaching Scholar at UF.

Unlike the other faculty members DPM News has featured thus far, Dr. Moore serves the university and its students from one of UF’s Research and Education Centers (RECs). Twelve RECs, Research and Demonstration Sites (RDSs), and several other offices are located throughout the state to help provide extension level support and distance education to students, faculty, and the general public. Continue reading