Cornell University

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"Will the real Phytophthora infestans please make itself known?" - Bill Fry

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 12:20pm

Plant Science Building, 404

Bill Fry

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Cornell University

Bill Fry is an Emeritus in the Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. 

Research Focus

My goals are to ameliorate the harmful effects of plant disease through both research and teaching. I have taught Introductory Plant Pathology to undergraduates in a relatively applied course, and to beginning graduate students in a more theoretical course. Additionally I have taught plant disease epidemiology to graduate students. My extension teaching has primarily involved the management of potato late blight and was stimulated by an urgent need during the 1990s to deal with a crisis caused by the presence of exotic strains of Phytophthora infestans (the pathogen causing potato late blight) throughout the United States. The exotic strains had characteristics that we had not previously seen, and growers needed information about how to respond. My research has investigated the basic biology and management of potato late blight and its pathogen, Phytophthora infestans. Initial activities emphasized disease management and epidemiology, to be followed by population genetics studies, genetics and now host pathogen interactions using genomics approaches. My laboratory is vertically organized going from very applied studies in the field to very theoretical ones in the laboratory.

My research emphasizes Phytophthora infestans and the diseases it causes. Topics range from epidemiology and management to population genetics, to molecular biology and genomics. Activities range from molecular manipulations in the lab to phenotypic assessments in the growth chamber, to epidemiological manipulations in the field. The most recent activities have been to characterize and investigate the implications of global migrations of P. infestans, adjusting a computer simulation model to reflect the pathogenicity characteristics of current populations of P. infestans, investigations to use the simulation model in connection with weather forecasts for "real time" decision making, gene profiling of host resistance in the field, analysis of candidate resistance genes via Virus Induced Gene Silencing in tomatoes, and investigation of viruses in P. infestans for molecular manipulation and as expression vectors in P. infestans for gene silencing/expression.

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Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology


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Tara Reed

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Bill Fry

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Cornell University

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