CIDA Fall 2020 seminar - Katie Gold: Plant disease sensing: studying host-microbe interactions at scale
From Gabriela Cestero
Institute for Digital Agriculture – Fall 2020 Seminar Series:
New Faculty Research in Digital Agriculture
sensing: studying host-microbe interactions at scale
Katie Gold, Assistant Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Cornell AgriTech
Plant disease is one of the greatest threats to the environmental and financial sustainability of crop production worldwide. Even with the remarkable advances of 21st century agriculture, disease results in 15% global crop loss, equating to losses upwards of $220 billion annually. To mitigate these losses, United States farmers apply over one billion tons of pesticides annually. While critical to modern agriculture, pesticide overuse threatens biodiversity and conflicts with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and Convention on Biological Diversity. Challenging our ability to use remote sensing to solve these losses is the complex nature of plant-pathogen-environment interactions at the earliest stages of disease establishment, the time period in which management intervention is both most critical and most likely to succeed. Dr. Gold’s Grape and Specialty Crop Sensing, Pathology, and Extension Lab at Cornell AgriTech (GrapeSPEC2) seeks to leverage remote sensing’s rich history in early warning to reduce these losses in domestic grape by studying the fundamental and applied science of plant disease sensing. GrapeSPEC2 is the only academic group worldwide wholly dedicated to the study of plant-pathogen interactions at scale. Dr. Gold will speak about her lab’s efforts to develop high spectral- and spatial- resolution spectroscopic measurements and imagery, sourced from a range of deployment levels from autonomous ground robots to constellation satellite networks, into open access, disease surveillance and management intervention decision support.
Dr. Kaitlin (Katie) Gold is newly appointed Assistant Professor of Grape Pathology at Cornell University where she holds the primary research and extension responsibilities for grape disease management for New York state. Katie’s research combines plant pathology, machine learning, and remote sensing to study the fundamental and applied science of plant disease sensing to improve early disease detection and sustainable integrated management. Katie leads the Grape and Specialty Crop Sensing, Pathology, and Extension laboratory at Cornell AgriTech (GrapeSPEC2), the only academic group worldwide wholly dedicated to studying plant-pathogen interactions at scale. Katie completed her PhD in Plant Pathology and MS in Applied Statistics concurrently at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2019, where her dissertation research pioneered the use of in-situ and imaging spectroscopy for pre-symptomatic disease and diagnosis. Prior to starting her tenure-track position at Cornell, she held a visiting faculty fellowship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA with the Carbon and Ecosystem Cycling and Imaging Spectroscopy Groups to use AVIRIS-NG hyperspectral imagery for asymptomatic grape disease detection and mapping.