Ullman Laboratory Research and Mission
The Ullman Lab is currently pursuing research in support of an AFRI NIFA funded coordinated agricultural project entitled Advancing Innovative Technologies And Integrated Strategies For Sustainable Management Of Thrips-Transmitted Tospoviruses. The overall research focus of the Ullman laboratory lies in insect/virus/plant interactions and the development of management strategies for insect-transmitted plant pathogens. Dr. Ullman was hired to conduct research in this area with a specific mandate to foster multidisciplinary, cross divisional, collaborative efforts. Consequently, the lab has many collaborations that are both national and international in scope. The specific goals of the Ullman research program are to expand our knowledge of insect vector/pathogen interactions on a cellular level, determine how these interactions influence the epidemiology and management of diseases caused by insect transmitted pathogens, and to understand mechanisms of host plant resistance to insect vectors and virus transmission. Research questions addressed have necessitated investigations using a variety of insect vector species including thrips, aphids, leafhoppers, whiteflies, and mealybugs, within several plant virus systems - tospoviruses, citrus tristeza virus, potato leafroll virus, curlytop virus. Research approaches have varied from basic studies in the laboratory to more applied investigations in the field. In general, the short-term goal of these investigations is to elucidate the inter-relationships of plants, plant pathogenic viruses, and their insect vectors. The long-term goal of the program is to translate advances in our understanding of these relationships into technologies and methodologies that can be applied in novel strategies for preventing epidemics of insect transmitted pathogens.
Ullman Laboratory Staff
Candice Stafford-Banks is a post-doctoral scholar and lab manager in the Ullman lab. Her research interests focus on unraveling the complex interactions between the Western flower thrips, Tomato spotted wilt virus and various host plants of the virus and vector. Candice has a particular interest in how these interactions affect vector behavior. She completed her PhD in Plant Pathology at UC Davis with Diane Ullman. Her research focused on how tospovirus infection alters thrips feeding behavior and food choice preferences. She also characterized the salivary gland transcriptome of the Western flower thrips. Candice completed her M.S. in Entomology at UC Riverside with Gregory Walker characterizing the feeding behaviors of the beet leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus) including feeding behaviors association with transmission of Beet curly top virus. She completed her B.S. at UC Riverside in Entomology where she did multiple undergraduate research projects before realizing that she wanted to focus on virus-vector-plant interactions.
Norma Ordaz is a graduate student in Plant Pathology. She received her BS in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Davis. Her interests include understanding the circadian rhythm of thrips and how it relates to TSWV transmission, and optimizing TSWV transmission techniques.
Michelle Early is a Program Coordinator for Diane Ullman’s AFRI NIFA Coordinated Agricultural Project. She received her BS in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis in 2004.
Cassandre Kaplinsky is a fourth year undergraduate majoring in ecology and evolution with a minor in evolutionary anthropology. Her research interests include field ecology, plant pathology, entomology, and primate socioecology.
Michelle Kwok is an undergraduate Chemistry student.
Julia Wasielewski is a fourth year undergraduate majoring in plant biotechnology with a minor in technology management. Her research interests include plant pathology and entomology.
Lauren Wilson is a senior majoring in animal biology. Her research interests include the effects of pesticides on honey bee foraging, field ecology, and wildlife conservation.