IPG Lab Supervisor
Illinois Crop Improvement Association, Inc.
Melissa joined Illinois Crop in 2021 after working at the Missouri Department of Agriculture in Jefferson City, Missouri. While at the Missouri Department of Agriculture, she performed plant disease diagnostics through traditional and serological methods for horticultural, agronomic, and forestry crops to monitor and omit transmittal of detrimental plant pathogens. She also managed fruit tree and grapevine virus-free certification programs as well as inspect nurseries, greenhouses, and commodities for interstate and international export, all while providing expert guidance to program staff on plant regulatory actions including quarantines, export certification, post-entry quarantine, federal permit reviews, and pest management strategies. Prior to her time in Missouri, she attained a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and a master’s degree in Field Crop Pathology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her graduate program, she determined pathogenesis genes in Fusarium head blight (Fusarium graminearum) on Illinois soft red winter wheat through naturally infected wheat lines to detect fungal pathogenesis genes and tested fungal functional aggressiveness through field and greenhouse assays, spore quantification, mycotoxin detection, and DNA sequencing. While at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, Melissa worked in various research labs such as plant parasitic nematology and horticultural pathology and attained a teaching certificate for her outstanding ranking as a graduate teaching assistant. Currently, Melissa is an American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) member and working towards becoming an Approved Chemist through the Laboratory Proficiency Program through ACOS