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Carol A. Wilkinson

Ph.D., Crop Science, 1987, North Carolina State University

M.S., Agronomy, 1983, University of Maryland

B.S., Agronomy, 1981, University of Maryland

My research focuses on quantitatively characterizing the mechanisms and inheritance of disease resistance in tobacco.  Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is the most widely distributed virus that affects tobacco crops.  TMV infection early in the growing season can reduce crop value by 60%.  Research conducted by my graduate students demonstrated that TMV is seed transmitted in tobacco.  Research is currently being conducted to identify chemical seed surface treatments that will inactivate TMV in the seed coat.  Additional research conducted by my graduate students on N gene resistance indicated that restriction of TMV movement is incomplete in hybrid cultivars.  Consequently, TMV can spread throughout the infected hybrid plants and carryover of the virus in infected plant debris is provided from one crop to the next.

My extension program focuses on engaging students, teachers, and the general public in science, agriculture, and mathematics education.  I developed, organized, and implemented Family and Farm Day.  We networked with numerous other agencies to provide a breadth of experiences for participants.  Family and Farm Day provides an opportunity for the general public to learn about the impact of agriculture, Virginia’s largest and oldest industry, on their daily lives.  Hands-on inquiry-based learning activities are provided which engage the public.  This event has been conducted for five years and has grown from 260 attendees from seven counties to 633 attendees from 15 counties.  Parents and children have commented on how much they look forward to Family and Farm Day, how much they learn, and how much fun they have.

Our inaugural Agriculture Awareness Day for Third Graders was in 2009.  All third grade students from the public and private schools in Nottoway County attended.  The teachers stated that Ag Awareness Day contributed to the students' preparation for the SOL tests, that the “hands-on learning” activities reinforced the topics being taught in the classroom, and that they would have follow-up discussions with their students on the topics discussed at Ag Awareness Day.

  1. Wilkinson, C.A. T.D. Reed, and W.M. Tilson.  2006.  Registration of ‘VA 119’ tobacco.  Crop Sci.  46:1392-1393.
  2. Crowder, B.J., C.A. Wilkinson, C.S. Johnson, and J.D. Eisenback.  2003.  Inheritance of tobacco cyst nematode in flue-cured tobacco.  Crop Science  43:1305-1312.
  3. Clarke, J.J., T.D. Reed, and C.A. Wilkinson.  2001/2002.  Development of greenhouse tobacco seedling performance index.  Tob. Sci.  45:49-55.