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Lab Members

Dr. Emran Ali

Faculty Member & Principal Investigator

Molecular Disease Diagnostic Lab (MDL)
Department of Plant Pathology
Tifton, CAES Campus
Education
Postdoctoral Fellow – Ohio State University, Washington State University
Ph.D. – Ehime University
Phone: 229-386-7230 (Office), 229-520-2151 (Cell), Fax: 229-386-7285
Email: emran.ali@uga.edu

Tammy Stackhouse

PhD Student (Lab Management)
Email: tstackho@uga.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Sn4yGS460

I completed my both bachelor’s and master’s in plant sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where I researched molecular detection on thousand canker disease caused by Geosmithia morbida. At the MDL, I am developing new diagnosis tools for dollar spot disease in turfgrass, surveying citrus diseases, and studying post-harvest pathogens. I’m always looking for new, interesting ways to diagnose plant disease. Outside of work, I can be found creating art or sending postcards.

Dr. Sumyya Waliullah

Research Associate (Diagnostician)
Email: Sumyya.Waliullah@uga.edu

I received my PhD degree from Ehime University in molecular plant pathology. My doctoral work focused on the molecular bases of plant-microbe interactions. Following graduation, I completed postdoctoral training at the Ohio State University and UT Southwestern Medical Center, TX, and was later employed at Washington State University as a postdoctoral scientist. At the MDL, my research work focuses on developing cost-efficient modern disease diagnostic methods on various plant pathogens. Besides my research work, I enjoy my time trying new recipes and reading books.

Mackenzie Gunn

PhD Student 
Email: Mackenzie.Gunn@uga.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqwLggP8Mqw

I completed my B.S. in Marine Biology and Ecogastronomy at the University of New Hampshire. I went on to complete an M.S. in Aquaculture at Mississippi State University where I looked at the effects of a trematode, Bolbophorus damnificus, on farm-raised catfish, sparking my love of molecular diagnostics. At the MDL I will be working with Aspergillus flavus in peanut, and hope to work with disease diagnostics and mitigation through Extension in the future. I like to spend my free time riding my horse and exploring the outdoors.

Tekan Rana

PhD Student 
Email: tsrana@uga.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7XnaNchHxE

I am originally from Nepal, had my undergrad in Agricultural Science from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), Tribhuvan University, Nepal. I am graduated from North Carolina A&T State University and North Carolina State University with MS degrees in Agricultural and Environmental system and Horticultural Science, respectively. During my graduate studies, I work on Strawberry plasticulture and season extension (in high tunnels and low tunnels) and in muscadine grape tissue sampling methods for nutrient management. With Dr. Baozhu Guo in USDA and Dr. Emran Ali in MDL, I will be working on GWAS of Aspergillus and aflatoxins. Besides my work, I love to do sports activities, I enjoy practicing martial art, volleyball, and soccer.

Owen Hudson

MS Student
Email: Owen.Hudson@uga.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbJgdr47gFE

I obtained my bachelor’s in Plant Biology at the University of Vermont before working in vineyard management in California. I work in the molecular diagnostics lab primarily on Fusarium wilt & Phytophthora fruit rot of watermelon; developing methods of molecular detection and fungicide resistance, but I also do traditional and molecular diagnostics for growers in South Georgia. When I am not working to complete my thesis I play disc golf and spend time with my new puppy, Petra.

Allina Bennett

MS Student (MPPPM)
Email: Allina.Bennett@uga.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCWM6j9sElU

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont in 2019. I began my career in plant pathology at the UGA Tifton MDL last year and am currently completing a degree in the MPPPM program. My personal research focuses on cucurbit downy mildew and I am enjoying learning about a variety of pathogens through my work at the diagnostic lab here in Tifton. I enjoy spending time with family or at the community garden when I am not working on my studies.

Alexi Dong

MS Student
Email: Alexi.Dong@uga.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCWM6j9sElU

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Plant Science at the University of Florida in 2021 researching early leaf spot of peanuts. I began working at the UGA Tifton MDL the summer of 2021 and will be completing my MS in Plant Pathology. I work in the MDL and my research will primarily focus on Fusarium wilt of watermelon. When I am not working on my studies, I enjoy painting, being outside, and spending time with my two pet cats.

Anna Bass

MS Student
Email: Anna.Bass1@uga.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV6vq7Ygu_A

I graduated from Troy University in May of 2021 where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in general biology. In the MDL I will work towards my Master of Science degree in plant pathology. My research interest in developing methods of molecular detection and fungicide resistance for dollar spot disease of turfgrass. I’m also interested in doing traditional and molecular disease diagnostics for growers in South Georgia. I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, and pets. In my free time, I am often reading books or in the outdoors. 

Andreya Dupree

MS Student
Email: azd0128@auburn.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCW6j9sElU

I am working toward an MS in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at Auburn University via distance education while completing thesis research here at the Plant Molecular Diagnostic Lab. I obtained a BS in Agricultural Sciences with a concentration in Plant and Soil Sciences from Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS. I am currently studying the pathogenicity of denitrification genes in Fusarium wilt of cotton. I also hope to develop a rapid field diagnostic test for a small panel of soil pathogens. Outside of my work, I enjoy spending time in nature, hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Philip Bryant

Undergraduate Student
Email: pbryant6@stallions.abac.edu

Intro video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKxdj-7Q_3M

Hi my name is Cade Bryant. I am working as an undergraduate research assistant at the plant molecular diagnostics lab under supervision of Dr. Emran Ali. I work on molecular disease diagnostics on plant samples submitted to the laboratory and affected by bacteria, fungi, viruses, and nematodes. Outside of my work I enjoy being on the water either kayaking or fishing.

Amy Kang

Research Professional
Email: hk777@uga.edu

Cassidy Ingram

Undergraduate Student
Email: Cassidy.Ingram@uga.edu

Past Lab Members

1. LaToya Hayes, Lab Technician     

2. Haley Cooper , Lab Technician    

3. Shanshan Shi, Reseach Professional

4. Nazmus Sakib Sumon, Data Analyst