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Lab Welcomes New Member and Says Goodbye to Graduates

The Kvitko lab is happy to welcome our newest member, Jovana Mijatovic in August 2017. Jovana is a PhD student co-advised by Dr. Brian Kvitko and Dr. Ron Walcott. She received her Bachelor’s in Pant protection at Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade in Serbia. Her Bachelor’s thesis is from Plant Pathology department, where she was worked with Fusarium species on endogenous pine trees of Balkan, called Molika (Pinus peuce). Her project here at UGA is tied to and old and reemerging pathogen of cotton- Xanthomonas citri pv. malvacearum, causing Bacterial blight of cotton. Her research will focus on tracking seed and seedling infection, molecular detection, and enhancing resistance in cotton with translational research.


The Kvitko lab is also sad to see its first two graduates leave the department. Both Zach Matteen and Spencer Stumpf graduated in December 2017 with an MS in Plant Pathology.

After celebrating graduation with his friends in the department and his family, Zach has continued to work part-time for Dr. Little to prepare manuscripts and wrap things up while he searches for jobs. His current career interests are to continue gaining research experience in academia or industry, but he is also considering a return to his horticulture roots.

Spencer’s project sought to investigate the diversity, epidemiology, and management of Pantoea ananatis, causal agent of center rot in Georgia. From his thesis, three manuscripts were accepted for publication including an Editor’s choice in the September issue of Plant Disease titled “Interaction of Onion Cultivar and Growth Stages on Incidence of Pantoea ananatis Bulb Infection”. Spencer recently accepted a job as a Research Technician at Washington University in St. Louis working on antimicrobial properties of actinomycetes.