Ph.D., Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, 2005
M.S., Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, 2002
B.A., Geography, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1994
- April 2012 – present: Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, AHS Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Winchester, VA.
- 2009-2012: Research/Extension plant pathologist, Virginia Tech, Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Winchester, VA.
- 2007-2009: Research associate, Department of Plant Pathology at the Kansas State University (KSU). Principal investigator: Dr. Erick De Wolf.
- 2005-2007: Post-doctoral scholar, Department of Plant Pathology at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). Principal investigator: Dr. Erick De Wolf.
- 1999-2005: Graduate research associate, Department of Plant Pathology at the Ohio State University (OSU). Principal investigators: Drs. Laurence V. Madden and Mike A. Ellis.
Selected Major Awards
- 2005 APS foundation student travel award for 5th I.E. Melhus Graduate Student Symposium: Today’s Students Preparing to Meet Tomorrows Challenges in Epidemiology and Plant Disease Management, American Phytopathological Society
- Guest lectures in Plant Pathology 6004, Horticulture 4654
My academic interest is in the applied plant pathology and plant disease epidemiology. Using various statistical and analytical tools, behaviors of a pathogen in the field can be characterized, and the information can be used for the development of biologically, environmentally, and economically sound disease management tools. At Virginia Tech, I engage in a range of research and extension activities, including exploration of cultural and chemical means of disease management, fungicide and fungicide-alternative testing, variety susceptibility evaluation, and development of novel diagnostic tools. His current research includes: 1) Epidemiological studies of grapevine leafroll associated virus and its vectors; 2) Development of map-based disease risk assessment tools for grape and apple diseases in Virginia; 3) Study of infection process of ripe rot of grape; 4) Trunk diseases management, 5) Development of organic wine grape disease management strategies, and 6) Fungicide efficacy evaluations.
Currently I have two graduate students. Mr. Taylor Jones successfully defended his Master’s thesis on December 2012, and he is currently working on his PhD program to study grapevine virus complex. Ms. Charlotte Oliver joined his lab in the fall of 2012 to pursue her MS degree with a project to determine infection conditions for Colletotrichum acutatum and C. gloeosporioides on grape.
- “New detection, research, and extension tools for managing wood-canker diseases of fruit and nut crops” sponsored by the USDA/NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative.
- “Understanding Grapevine Virus Complex, and Development of Grapevine Leafroll Disease Management” supported by Virginia Wine Board
- “Investigating the lifecycle of ripe rot of grape caused by Colletotrichum species.” Supported by Virginia Wine Board and VDACS Specialty Crop Research Initiative block grant
- “Re-visiting Pierce’s Disease in Virginia” supported by CALS internal competitive grant
- “Establishment of Virginia wine grape vineyards using organic production methods” supported by VDACS Specialty Crop Research Initiative block grant
- "Development of a web-based grape disease risk assessment system" supported by Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium, VDACS Specialty Crop Research Initiative block grant, and Virginia Agricultural Council
I have been active on extension programs target growers as well as Cooperative Extension agents with training in disease identification and management, using the web and traditional resources. The goal of my extension program is to support stakeholders to make informed wine grape disease management decisions. The objectives of my extension program are to educate stakeholders how to better manage grape diseases that could reduce grape production. My extension program and my research program are integrated and share the same goals, which is the development of environmentally, biologically, and economically sound disease management strategies.
I take an approach where my research program directly feed into my extension program. Please refer to projects under research section.
Selected Journal Articles
- Nita, M., Ellis, M. A., and Madden, L. V. (2012) “Spatial Pattern of Phomopsis Cane and Leaf Spot Symptoms in Commercial Vineyards in Ohio” Journal of Phytopathology doi: 10.1111/j.1439- 0434.2011.01857.x
- Nita, M., Ellis, M. A., Wilson, L. L., and Madden, L. V. (2008). “Disease incidence of Phomopsis cane and leaf spot of grape in Ohio vineyard: a state-wide survey” Plant Disease: 92:1053-1061.
- Nita, M., Ellis, M. A. and Madden, L. V. (2007). "Evaluation of the curative and protectant activity of fungicides and fungicide-adjuvant mixtures on Phomopsis cane and leaf spot of grape: a controlled environment study." Crop Protection 26: 1377-1384.
- Nita, M., Ellis, M. A., Wilson, L. L., and Madden, L. V. (2007). “Evaluations of new and current management strategies to control Phomopsis cane and leaf spot of grape” online Plant Health Progress: doi:10.1094/PHP-2007-0726-06-RS.
- Mideros, S., Nita, M. and Dorrance, A. E., (2007) “Characterization of components of partial resistance, Rps2, and root resistance to Phytophthora sojae in soybean.” Phytopathology: 97:655-662
- Rebollar-Alviter, A. and Nita, M. (2011) “Optimizing fungicide applications for disease management: case studies on strawberry and grape” in Fungicide Book 2, InTech, ISBN 979-953-307-554-8
- Garrett, K. A., Nita, M., De Wolf, E. D, Gomez, L. and Sparks, A. H. (2009) “Plant Pathogens as Indicators of Climate Change” in Climate and Global Change: observed impacts on Planet Earth Letcher, T. M. ed, Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
- Nita, M. (Ed) (2013 in press) “Fungicide: Volume III” InTech, Manhattan, NY