Dr. Polston is a Professor in the Dept. of Plant Pathology
at the University of Florida. She has conducted research on
insect-transmitted viruses affecting agronomic, vegetable
and ornamental crops for 30 years and is an author of more
than 13 book chapters, 50 refereed papers and 150 extension
and popular articles. Much of her research has focused on
Begomovirus characterization, their transmission by the
whitefly vector, and their management. However she has also
conducted studies with the criniviruses, Cucurbit yellow
stunting disorder virus and Tomato chlorosis virus.
Dr. Polston has conducted studies on the detection and
identification of vegetable and ornamental viruses,
biologically and molecularly characterized several new
whitefly-transmitted viruses, and developed or improved
methods for their detection and discrimination. Her research
in genetically-engineered resistance produced a gene which
gives function immunity to Tomato yellow leaf curl virus
in tomato. The results of her research have improved the
understanding of the relationship between begomoviruses and
the whitefly vector, resulted in the first immortal cell
line of a whitefly, produced highly resistance tomatoes to
TYLCV, and published one of the only studies of the spatial
and temporal distribution of a begomovirus in a vegetable
crop. The results of her research have been used to develop
and improve begomovirus management strategies in vegetable
crops in the tropics and subtropics.
Moshe Lapidot, Ph.D.
Lapidot is a Senior Scientist in the Dept. of Vegetable
Research, Volcani Center, in Bet Dagan, Israel. His
research focus for the last 15 years has been the
development of resistance to viruses in vegetable crops.
His work includes evaluation and development of screening
methods, identification and introgression of the desired
traits fro wild species into domesticated plants, breeding
for viral resistance, as well as
research aimed at understanding
the genetic and molecular control of resistance. Dr.
Lapidot is considered one of the top experts in
whitefly-transmitted viruses, and is specifically recognized
for his work with Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV).
His research program has produced tomato lines that express
very high levels of TYLCV resistance, as well as studies
describing the molecular mechanisms responsible for the
resistance. He developed a TYLCV-resistance scale, along
with new methods to assess viral resistance. He has
conducted studies with other whitefly-transmitted viruses,
such as the begomoviruses, such as TYLCV, Watermelon
chlorotic stunt virus and Squash leaf curl virus,
as well as criniviruses such as Cucumber yellow vein
virus, Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus,
and Tomato chlorosis virus. Dr. Lapidot’s work also
includes the development of IPM methods, such as the use of
UV-absorbing screens, to inhibit whitefly spread and
consequent virus transmission.
Wintermantel is a Research Plant Pathologist and Project
Leader for the Virology Research Program at the USDA-ARS in
Salinas, CA. His research program focuses on epidemiology,
disease etiology, vector transmission, molecular and
biological characterization of viruses affecting vegetable
and sugarbeet crops. Dr. Wintermantel is one of the world’s
leading experts on criniviruses, with ongoing research on
identification, biological and molecular characterization,
epidemiology, and vector specificity of a wide array of
criniviruses affecting vegetable production throughout the
world. He has published nearly 40 refereed papers, 25 book
chapters, and numerous popular publications. Dr.
Wintermantel has specialized in the study of crinivirus
diseases of vegetables for the past decade, and has ongoing
projects on the identification of factors that influence the
transmission of criniviruses by different whitefly species,
as well as those that affect virus-vector interactions. His
research has resulted in improvements in the management of
criniviruses and to the identification of potential new
sources of resistance to criniviruses in tomato and melon.
Current studies are examining the epidemiology, host range
and management of
Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus,
a recently emerged crinivirus affecting melons in the
southwestern US and more recently, Florida.