Faculty Highlights

  • Richard Miranda

    Featured in the DPM Summer 2018 Newsletter

    Richard Miranda is a member of the DPM External Advisory Committee.

    Richard Miranda is the Florida State Plant Health Director (SPHD) for Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) within the USDA-APHIS. PPQ spans the entire United States, with Directors in each state working to safeguard agricultural and natural resources. In Florida, PPQ is a team of 340 employees. There are four regional areas throughout the state, and two statewide programs (the Citrus Health Rresponse Program and the Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection Program). The Area and Program directors report directly to the SPHD. Continue Reading →

  • Dr. Gregory MacDonald

    Featured in: DPM Spring 2018 Newsletter

    Dr. Gregory MacDonald is a Professor of Weed Science and Agronomy at the University of Florida. He first started at UF 20 years ago with a 70% research and 30% teaching appointment. Over the course of his time at UF, his appointment has shifted to 70% teaching and 30% research.
    Dr. MacDonald is originally from upstate New York. He received an Associate’s degree in Agricultural Engineering at Alfred State College. He completed a Bachelor’s degree at Cornell University in Plant Sciences with a focus on vegetable crop production. His Master’s and PhD programs were completed at UF in weed science. As Master’s student, Dr. MacDonald researched row crop weed science, and as a PhD student he focused on invasive plant management. Before starting as a faculty member at UF, Dr. MacDonald was an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia with a 100% extension appointment. He managed over 20 commodities, including several fruits, vegetables, corn, cotton, and sorghum. He worked with extension agents across the state and gave 20-80 extension presentations every year. Continue Reading →

  • Dr. Tesfamariam Mengistu

    Featured in: DPM Fall 2017 Newsletter

    Dr. Mengistu has since moved to another position, you can read about his contributions the DPM program and students in the archived highlight below.

    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. Palmateer has since moved to another position, you can read about his contributions the DPM program and students in the archived highlight below.

    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 →