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Predicting the Next Plant Disease Pandemic: Symposium and Poster Session

April 5, 2023 | 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

$10 – $30


Sponsored by:


As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, adoption of new technologies and mitigation interventions to stop pandemics is not just a technical problem; solutions must be understood, embraced, and adopted by society. Prediction of plant disease pandemics is unreliable due to the lack of real-time detection, surveillance, and data analytics to inform decision-making and prevent spread. Our team has received Phase I funding from the NSF “Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention (PIPP)” program. We are developing a pandemic prediction system called the “Plant Aid Database (PAdb)” that links pathogen detection by in-situ plant disease sensors and remote sensing of crop health, genomic surveillance, real-time spatial and temporal data analytics and climate data to predictive simulations of plant disease pandemics.

We will hold a symposium on April 5, followed by a smaller invitation only workshop on April 6 to discuss new tools for pandemic prediction and the social and political implications of implementing them for monitoring and managing plant disease pandemics. The open symposium is April 5th in the Plant Sciences Building on Centennial Campus in Raleigh, NC, and will include a demonstration of the PlantAid Database. Two coffee breaks and a lunch will be provided for registered guests.

We have invited a global panel of speakers for the symposium. The speakers will be covering various topics including diagnostics and sensor development, diagnostic networks at national and international levels, modeling, forecasting and genetic tracking. In addition, we will be holding a poster session for graduate students and postdocs to present their work related to the topic of managing future plant disease pandemics.

General registration for the symposium is $30; $10 for students and postdocs.

Event Agenda

Time Agenda Description/Speakers
8:15 – 9 Breakfast Served in lobby
9 – 9:20 Welcome Remarks Adrian Percy (Plant Sciences Initiative)
Warwick Arden (Provost)
9:20 – 9:40 The Persistent Threat of Emerging Plant Disease to Global Food Security Jean Ristaino (Director Emerging Plant Disease & Global Food Security Cluster)
9:40 – 9:55

9:55 – 10:15

Climate Change & Emerging Diseases
Moderator Anna Whitfield

  • Climate and Potential Yield Losses to Fungal Plant Pathogen
  • R2M rapid risk assessment to support mitigation of plant disease: A toolbox for national programs
Dan Bebber (Professor, U. of Exeter)
Karen Garrett (Preeminent Professor, U. of Florida)
10:15 – 10:30 Coffee Break
10:30 – 10:45

10:45 – 11:00

11:00 – 11:15

Diagnostics from the ground up
Moderator Jean Ristaino

  • A view from the ground and above: A crops consultants experience with mapping farms, pests and pathogens
  • An area agents perspective on pest and pathogen emergencies
  • The Plant Pathogen Confirmatory Diagnostics Laboratory: Safeguarding U.S. agriculture and natural resources
Stan Winslow, President, Tidewater Agronomics, Inc.
Erin Eure, Area Specialized Agent, NC Extension
John Bienapfi (USDA, APHIS)
11:15 – 11:30

11:30 – 11:45

11:45 – 12:00

Diagnostic networks at the National & International Level
Moderator Qingshan Wei

  • The National Plant Diagnostic Network
  • The North American and Global perspective on understanding and mitigating the threats of the next plant health pandemic
  • Experiences and Insights for Developing and Delivery Plant Disease Risk Information to Small Stakeholder Farmers in Kenya.
Neil McRoberts and Jim Stack (Director National Plant diagnostic Networks – UC Davis; Director Great Plains Diagnostic Networks – Kansas State)
Stephanie Bloem (Executive Director, NAPPO)
Bryony Taylor (Digital Development Coordinator, CABI Bioscience, UK)
12:00 – 12:10 Chancellor Remarks Chancellor Randy Woodson
12:10 – 1:00 Lunch (Boxed Lunches) served in lobby
1:00 – 1:15
1:15 – 1:30
1:30 – 1:45
Modeling, Forecasting & Decision Support
Moderator Ross Meentemeyer

  • How might spatially explicit landscape scale models be improved? Virtual
  • Slowing the spread of Sudden Oak Death in Oregon forests: An overview of a landscape scale disease management program
  • Effectiveness of management program for Sudden Oak Death in Oregon
Nik Cunniffe(Head of Theoretical & Computational Epidemiology group, Cambridge, UK) [virtual]
Sarah Navarro (Regional Forest Pathologist, US forest Service
Chris Jones (Centre for Geospatial Analytics, NC State)
1:45 – 2:00
2:00 – 2:15
2:15 – 2:30
Population Genomics
Moderator Ignazio Carbone

  • MARPLE diagnostics: A pioneering step in wheat rust management. Virtual
  • T-BAS: A Tool for Real-time Tracking of Biodiversity Across the Tree of Life
  • Multidomain Analytical System for Known and Unknown Threat Awareness
Diana Saunders (John Innes Research Centre, UK) [virtual]
Ignazio Carbone (Director, Centre for Integrated Fungal Research, NC State)
Willy A. Valdivia-Granda (Orion Integrated Biosciences Inc.)
2:30 – 2:45
2:45 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:15
Understanding & Mitigating Threats
Moderator Peter Ojiambo

  • Preventing for and Managing Plant Diseases
  • Mitigating Biothreat Risk at the Border
  • Assessing the Risk of Cucurbit Downy Mildew Outbreak in the Eastern United States
Wendy Jin (USDA, APHIS)
Romelito Lapitan (AgroBioterrorism Counter Measures, DHS)
Peter Ojiambo (Professor, NC State)
3:15 – 3:30 Coffee Break Served in lobby
3:30 – 4:00 Plant Aid Database Demonstration Chris Jones (Centre for Geospatial Analytics, NCSU)
4:00 – 6:00 Poster Session Organizer: Rex Alirigia




April 5, 2023
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
$10 – $30
Event Category:


Plant Sciences Building
840 Oval Drive
Raleigh, North Carolina 27606
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