WSU Virologist Honored

PULLMAN, Wash. – Naidu Rayapati, a plant virologist at the Washington State University Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, and his colleagues from other institutions received a team award for international work at the 6th International IPM Symposium in Portland, OR, on March 24.

Women in India sell vegetables for a living as well as shop for vegetables for their families. Photo: Naidu Rayapati
Women in India sell vegetables for a living as well as shop for vegetables for their families. Photo: Naidu Rayapati. Click image for a high resolution version.

Rayapati, a member of the Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program (IPM CRSP) funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development at Virginia Tech, received the International IPM Excellence Award.

Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a systems approach of pest management of crops utilizing methods that minimize risk to the environment.

The team award was presented to IPM CRSP “for exceptional accomplishments relating to economic benefits of IPM adoption, reducing potential human health risks, and demonstrating minimal adverse environmental effects.”

As part of the IPM CRSP, Rayapati administers a research project focused on IPM strategies for the management of thrips and thrips- transmitted tospovirus diseases in vegetable cropping systems in South and Southeast Asia. Tospoviruses, which derive their name from the first identified member of the genus, Tomato spotted wilt virus, cause significant crop losses in vegetables and other crops around the world.

The scientist, a native of India, has been involved in virus research beginning with his postdoctoral research in virology at the International Crops Research Institute for Semi- Arid Tropics in India. He later worked for ICRISAT as a senior scientist conducting lab and field-based research on virus diseases of peanuts in Asia and Africa. Rayapati also worked as a consulting virologist with the Crop Protection Program of the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom deploying sustainable virus disease management strategies to help subsistence farmers in Malawi and Uganda.

He came to WSU from the University of Georgia in 2004 to develop a comprehensive research, extension and teaching program on virus diseases of grapevines.

In 2007, Rayapati received the International Service Award from the American Phytopathological Society for his achievements in solving virus disease problems in subsistence agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and for capacity building for virus research in developing countries.