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Sherif M. Sherif

595 Laurel Grove Rd.
Winchester VA 22602

Associate Professor

Please visit Sherif's Lab for more information:


  • Ph.D. Plant Agriculture, 2011, University of Guelph, ON, Canada
  • M.Sc. Horticulture, 2004, Alexandria University, Egypt
  • B.Sc. (Hons), Horticulture, 2000, Alexandria University, Egypt

Professional Experience

  • June 2023- present: Associate Professor, Virginia Tech, Winchester, VA
  • Jan 2017- June 2023: Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech, Winchester, VA
  • Dec 2012 - Jan 2017: Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation (GRIPP), Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, ON.
  • Jan 2012 - Aug 2012: MITACS Accelerate Fellow, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VIRC) & Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, ON.
  • Aug 2011- Dec 2011: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, ON.

Selected Awards

  • First-place, 2012, Plant Biotechnology Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Competition, The Society for In Vitro Biology, Bellevue, WA.
  • Joseph F-Morgan Award, 2010, The Society for In Vitro Biology, St. Louis, MO.
  • University International Graduate Scholarship, 2008. University of Guelph, ON.
  • Vineland Centennial Horticultural Scholarship, 2008. University of Guelph, ON.

The overall goal of my research program is to address the environmental, biological and genetic barriers that limit the production and/or profitability of pome and stone fruits in Virginia. The philosophy of my research program is based on exploring the biological phenomena at the level of trees, organs, organelles, genes and molecules; and the translation of this knowledge into applicable strategies to enhance productivity, storability and marketability of tree fruits. The lab and orchard facilities at the AHS Jr. AREC provide an ideal environment for students, research fellows and visiting scientists to explore the theory and practice of horticultural science. My research plans are driven by the interests and ambitions of Virginia tree fruit growers and stakeholders. My current research projects are intended to address the following:

  •  Investigation of strategies to avoid or reduce frost damage in apple and peach.
  •  Evaluation of strategies to enhance tree yield and annual bearing in apple.
  •  Evaluation of apple varieties, rootstocks and high-density training systems.
  •  Evaluation of strategies to improve apple fruit quality and extend shelf-life of peaches and cherries.
  •  Examining the efficacy of non-chemical methods for controlling major disease of apple and peach.


The overall goal of my extension program is to transfer and encourage the application of the research-based recommendations among Virginia fruit growers and stakeholders. My extension activities are largely based on the direct communication with all the constituents of tree fruit industry in Virginia, through workshops, regional meetings, fruit schools and on-farm visits. My extension program also aims at engaging a wide audience beyond the commercial fruit producers through social media and blogs. Using orchard research blocks at AHS Jr. AREC as demonstration sites for fruit growers and nurseries (e.g. to compare apple variety and rootstocks; conventional and organic apple systems) is one of my extension strategies that aims at increasing awareness of existing opportunities and promoting thoughtful decision-making.

These are selected publications. See the complete list at:

  • Marini, R. P., Baugher, T. A., Muehlbauer, M., Sherif, S.M., Crassweller, R., & Schupp, J. R. (2020). Verification and Modification of a Model to Predict Bitter Pit for ‘Honeycrisp’ Apples. HortScience, 55(12), 1882-1887. doi:10.21273/hortsci15301-20
  • El-Sharkawy, I., Ismail, A., Darwish, A., El Kayal, W., Subramanian, J., and Sherif, S.M. (2020). Functional characterization of a gibberellin F-box protein, PslSLY1, during plum fruit development. Journal of Experimental Botany. doi:10.1093/jxb/eraa438
  • Sherif, S., Yoder, K., and Peck, G. (2020). Effects of dwarfing and semi-dwarfing apple rootstocks on the growth and yield of ‘Gala’, ‘Fuji’ and ‘York’ apples. Acta Horticulturae, 1281. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1281.17
  • Das, P.R. and Sherif S. M. (2020). Application of Exogenous dsRNAs-induced RNAi in Agriculture: Challenges and Triumphs. Frontiers in plant science, 11, 946. doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.00946
  • Islam, M.T. and Sherif S.M. (2020). RNAi-Based Biofungicides as a Promising Next-Generation Strategy for Controlling Devastating Gray Mold Diseases. International Journal of Molecular Science. doi:10.3390/ijms21062072
  • Ismail, A., El-Sharkawy, I., and Sherif S.M. (2020). Salt Stress Signals on Demand: Cellular Events in the Right Context. International Journal of Molecular Science. doi:10.3390/ijms21113918
  • Liu, J. and Sherif, S.M. (2019). Combating Spring Frost with Ethylene. Frontiers In Plant Science, 10.
  • Liu, J. and Sherif, S.M. (2019). Hormonal orchestration of bud dormancy cycle in deciduous woody perennials. Frontiers In Plant Science, 10.
  • Elsadr, H., Sherif, S., Banks, T., Somers, D. and Jayasankar, S., (2019). Refining the Genomic Region Containing a Major Locus Controlling Fruit Maturity in Peach. Scientific Reports, 9(1), p.7522.
  • Saremba, B.M., Tymm, F.J., Baethke, K., Rheault, M.R., Sherif, S.M., Saxena, P.K. and Murch, S.J., 2017. Plant signals during beetle (Scolytus multistriatus) feeding in American elm (Ulmus americana Planch). Plant Signaling & Behavior, p.e1296997.
  • Dek, M.S.P., Padmanabhan, P., Sherif, S. and Subramanian, J., 2017. Upregulation of Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K) Enhances Ethylene Biosynthesis and Accelerates Flower Senescence in Transgenic Nicotiana tabacum L. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(7), p.1533.
  • Sherif, S.M., Erland, L.A., Shukla, M.R. and Saxena, P.K., 2017. Bark and wood tissues of American elm exhibit distinct responses to Dutch elm disease. Scientific Reports, 7. 
  • El-Sharkawy I., Sherif S., Abdulla M. and Jayasankar S., (2017). Plum Fruit Development Occurs via Gibberellin–Sensitive and–Insensitive DELLA Repressors. PloS one, 12(1), p.e0169440.
  •  Kumar D., Sherif S., El-Sharkawy I., Pak-Dek M. S., Paliyath G., Jayasankar S. (2016). Characterization of different European plum (Prunus domestica L.) genotypes indicates chalcone synthase as a limiting factor of fruit anthocyanin content. Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science . 141:1-8
  •  El-Sharkawy I., Sherif S., Jones B., Li Z., Jayasankar S. (2016). Expression of plum auxin receptor PslTIR1 in tomato alters plant growth, fruit development and fruit shelf-life characteristics. BMC Plant Biology. 16:56
  •  Sherif S., Shukla M., Murch S., Bernier L., Saxena P. (2016) Simultaneous induction of jasmonic acid and disease-responsive genes signifies tolerance of American elm to Dutch elm disease. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep21934 (Nature Publisher Group)
  •  El-Sharkawy I, Sherif S, Qubbaj T, Sullivan AJ, Jayasankar S. (2015) Stimulated auxin levels enhance plum fruit ripening, but limit shelf-life characteristics. Postharvest Biology and Technology.
  •  Bajwa V., Shukla M., Sherif S., Murch S. and Saxena P. (2015) Identification and characterization of serotonin as an anti-browning compound of apple and pear. Postharvest Biology and Technology. 110: 183-189
  •  Elsadr H., Sherif S*. (2015) Peaches and Nectarines. In The Encyclopedia of Food and Health. Elsevier Ltd. P270-276. (*Corresponding author)
  •  Sherif S., El-Sharkawy I., Mathur J., Ravindran P., Kumar P., Paliyath G. and Jayasankar S. (2015). A stable JAZ protein from peach mediates the transition from outcrossing to self-pollination. BMC Biology. Doi:10.1186/s12915-015-0124-6
  •  Sherif S., El-Sharkawy I., Paliyath G., Jayasankar S. (2014) Molecular insights into plant-phytopathogenic bacteria interactions. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter. 33: 1116-1130
  •  Sherif S., Jones A., Shukla M., Saxena P. (2014) Establishment of invasive and non-invasive reporter systems to investigate American elm-Ophiostoma novo- ulmi interactions. Fungal Genetics and Biology. 71: 32-41.
  •  El-Sharkawy I., Sherif S., Jones B., Mila E., Bouzayen M., Kumar P., Jayasankar S. (2014) TIR1-like auxin-receptors are involved on the regulation of plum fruit development. Journal of Experimental Botany. 65(18):5205-15.
  •  El-Sharkawy I., Sherif S., El Kayal W., Mahboob A., Abubaker K., Ravindran P., Pavithra A.J., Kumar P., Jayasankar S. (2013) Characterization of gibberellin-signalling elements during plum fruit ontogeny defines the essentiality of gibberellin in fruit development. Plant Molecular Biology. 84(4-5): 399-413
  •  Sherif S., El-Sharkawy I., Mathur J., Paliyath G. and Jayasankar S. (2013). PpERF3b, a transcriptional repressor from peach contributes to disease susceptibility and side branching through EAR-dependent and -independent fashions. Plant Cell Reports. 32 (7): 1111-24 (Special issue)
  •  El-Sharkawy I., Sherif S., Mahboob A., Abubaker K., Bouzayen M., Jayasankar S. (2012) Expression of Auxin-Binding Protein1 during plum fruit ontogeny supports the potential role of auxin in initiating and enhancing climacteric ripening. Plant Cell Reports. 31(10):1911-21
  •  Sherif S., El-Sharkawy I., Paliyath G., Jayasankar S. (2012). Differential expression of peach ERF transcriptional activators in response to signaling molecules and inoculation with Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni. Journal of Plant Physiology. 169 (7): 731-9
  •  Sherif S., Paliyath G., Jayasankar S. (2011). Molecular characterization of peach PR genes and their induction kinetics in response to bacterial infection and signaling molecules. Plant Cell Reports 31(4): 697-711\
  •  El-Sharkawy I, Sherif S*., Mila I, Bouzayen M, Jayasankar S. (2009). Molecular characterization of seven genes encoding ethylene-responsive transcriptional factors during plum fruit development and ripening. Journal of Experimental Botany. 60 (3): 907–922 (*Co-First Authorship). CHAPTERS