Plant Virus Biodiversity and Ecology
(Funded NSF-EPSCoR Program)
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Plant Virus Biodiversity and Ecology is one of two scientific theme areas in the State
of Oklahoma's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)
for 2005-2008. The research infrastructure funding includes support for individuals at several levels:
The Plant Virus Biodiversity and Ecology theme area searched for five or six individuals to study
towards Ph.D. or M.S. degrees at the University of Oklahoma (OU) or Oklahoma State University (OSU) beginning in 2005.
During the first year students participated in the collection of specimens and the refinement of techniques. Students became familiar with the project and the project scientists and picked advisors and an advisory committee.
The programs that project scientists are affiliated with are:
- OSU Biochemistry
& Molecular Biology, PhD (Melcher, Pierce)
- OSU Plant Science, PhD
(Palmer, Melcher, Scheets, Verchot-Lubicz )
- OSU Botany, MS (Doust, Palmer, Scheets)
- OSU Entomology & Plant Pathology, MS, PhD (Verchot-Lubicz, Nelson, Roossinck)
- OSU Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, MS, PhD (Verchot-Lubicz, Melcher)
- OSU Environmental Science, MS, PhD (Palmer)
- OU Chemistry & Biochemistry, MS, PhD (Roe)
- OU Botany & Microbiology, MS, PhD (Wren)
- TU Biological Science, MS, PhD (Ali)
Applications were submitted both to the Plant Virus Biodiversity and Ecology program and an
academic degree program (or advisor, depending on program).
The following students are receiving or have received program support:
- Vaskar Thapa (OSU Environmental Science, Palmer)
- Devinka Bamunasingle (OSU Plant Pathology, Verchot-Lubicz & Nelson)
- Veenita Grover (OSU Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Melcher & Pierce)
- Graham Wiley (OU Chemistry, Roe)
- Vijay Muthukumar (OSU Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Melcher & Pierce)
- Daniel McGlinn (OSU Botany, Palmer)
- Fumiko Shirakura (OSU Botany, Palmer)
- Stephen Snell (OU Chemistry, Roe)
To foster multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaboration in this project, and to train
future senior scientists in the field of plant virus biodiversity and ecology, the project will include five
postdoctoral workers. Each will have two mentors. The primary research emphasis of each position is given below, but
the individuals hired are expected also to participate in the overall scientific themes of the project. These
scientists will be expected to assist in directing the research experiences of undergraduate and graduate students.
- Virus biodiversity survey methods and ecological explorations: Michael Palmer and Ulrich Melcher (Oklahoma State University). Previously occupied by Dr. Olga Blinkova
- Rick Nelson (SR Noble Foundation)
and Jeanmarie Verchot-Lubicz (Oklahoma State University) Associate Professor of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Occupied by Dr. Byoung Eun Min.
endophytes of plants and their viruses: Marilyn
Roossinck and Kelly Craven (SR Noble Foundation), occupied by Dr. Tracy Feldman and Dr. Nikki Charlton.
- Ecology and evaluation of viral genomes: Andrew Doust (Oklahoma State University): search in progress.
- Virus Evolution and Ecology: Akhtar Ali (University of Tulsa): search in progress.
- Understanding virion structure and assembly: Adam Zlotnick (Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center) and Jeanmarie Verchot-Lubicz
- Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
The positions for postdoctoral fellows are all filled except for positions with Andrew Doust and Akhtar Ali.
Several individuals are or were employed in technical positions at participating institutions:
- Fengqiu Zhang, Senior Research Specialist, now departed.
- Will Forte, Student Worker, part-time, to assist with herbarium work and sample collection. Supervised by Mike Palmer in Botany.
- Yan Song, Database and Web Programmer. For managing the flow of information from field and labs into a database repository and for constructing the depository. Supervised by Ulrich Melcher and housed in BMB, now departed.
- Shanshank Bhide, Systems Administrator. Responsible for installation, maintenance and security of hardware and software and access control. Shared responsibility with OSU Bioinformatics operation. Ulrich Melcher supervises, now departed.
- Hua Weng, Application Progtammer, now departed.
- Guoan Shen, Curator: to perform sample processing and disposition.
Works with database administrator at OSU and is supervised by Marilyn Roossinck.
- TU budget
- Technician: search in progress.
- OU budget
- Joe Grisson, Database Programmer, partial salary support. Individual, supervision arranged by Jonathan Wren, will assist Database manager at OSU.
Contact U. Melcher
Page posted February 17, 2005
Last updated October 4, 2007