Sacramento, Calif. — December 22, 2014 – Nearly 100 people from around the world convened in Sacramento last week for the 13th Pierce’s Disease Research Symposium, giving them the opportunity to meet and discuss the latest progress in the search for solutions to Pierce’s disease.
“Together, this group of researchers has followed a strategic path of scientific discovery for several years, and it is beginning to produce real solutions that are now well on their way to our growers,” said California’s Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross.
The two-day symposium showcased research projects in pest and disease management, crop, vector and pathogen biology, and ecology. A poster session held during the event also gave researchers the rare opportunity to share their results with peers, stakeholders and growers on an individual basis. Following the session, researchers participated in roundtable discussions where they could share their progress and plan ahead for the coming year. Casual settings like these help foster frank discussion and further advance the research community’s continuing efforts.
“The field is constantly evolving and it’s a challenge to keep up with all of our colleagues’ exciting work throughout the year,” said David Gilchrist, a Professor of Plant Pathology at UC Davis. “The roundtable helped us get on the same page and collectively decide where we need to go from here.”
The symposium is organized by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pierce’s Disease Control Program. It provides a forum for Pierce’s disease and Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (GWSS) researchers to meet as a group and share information, encouraging scientific collaboration, and accelerating research.
“Each year I grow even more impressed by the progress we have made,” said Al Rossini, a member of the PD/GWSS Board and a winegrape grower from Denair, Calif. “This year’s symposium is no exception. From both a grower’s and board member’s perspective, it showed that many commercial applications are on the horizon, and that some extraordinary scientific leaps will come soon after.”
The proceedings for the 2014 PD Research Symposium can be downloaded from the CDFA website at www.cdfa.ca.gov/pdcp/. Printed copies can be requested from the Pierce’s Disease Control Program by calling 916-900-5024.
The PD/GWSS Board was established in July 2001 to support scientific research to find solutions to Pierce’s disease. An annual assessment paid by California’s winegrape growers supports the research efforts. The PD/GWSS Board also advises the California Department of Food and Agriculture on a variety of other issues related to Pierce’s disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter.