Dec 16, 2019

Deciphering gummy stem blight : Team Effort!!!

Time for just one more screen before the year ends! We sowed seeds for our next big GSB screen in the greenhouse!

Nov 1, 2019

The joys of Pollination

One of the things we do every week is to pollinate watermelon flowers in our green house, and to enjoy the view of these flowers.

Oct 29, 2019

Plant Center Retreat in Helen, GA

McGregor Lab participated in the 2019 UGA Plant Center Retreat held in Helen, GA. Little Benjamin was not left out in the poster presentations!!!

Oct 9, 2019

PostDoctoral Position available

The Vegetable Breeding, Genetics and Genomics lab searches for an energetic and creative postdoc. The applicant will participate in cucurbit breeding and genetics for resistance to whitefly and whitefly transmitted diseases as part of a team in the southeastern USA. The applicant will work on identifying sources of resistance, resistance loci and genes, doing functional analysis of genes, and introgression of resistance into elite material. The candidate will work in collaboration with molecular biologists, plant pathologists, entomologists and extension faculty.

The position will start on 1 Oct 2019, but a later start is negotiable. We provide competitive salary, and benefits. Screening of applicants will begin immediately and applications will be considered until position is filled. Interested parties should submit their application at UGA Jobs (, including a curriculum vitae (CV), a cover letter, statement of how your research interests are related to the interests of the lab, and contact information for 3 references.

UPDATE: This position has been filled.

Oct 1, 2019

Precious Cargo

We are currently working hard to identify squash resistant to whitefly transmitted viruses.

Potential resistant genotype (left) vs  susceptible genotype (right).

Transporting our precious leaf samples back to the lab.

Sep 17, 2019

UGA CAES part of extensive research study aimed at whitefly management

The McGregor Lab is part of a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fight whiteflies on vegetable crops.

Aug 13, 2019

Another successful watermelon season!

Over the summer everybody in the lab worked hard in the watermelon fields. And of course we ate a lot of delicious watermelon!

Aug 8, 2019

Mathew Li Wins First Place in Young Scholar Oral Presentation Competition!

Over this summer our lab had the pleasure of hosting Stevenson High School student Mathew Li through the UGA CAES Young Scholar program. Mathew worked with one of our graduate students on determining the sporulation rates of various isolates of Stagonosporopsis fungi so that they can be used for phenotyping watermelon lines for resistance to gummy stem blight. Mathew’s work helped to identify 8 isolates with sufficient spore production for making GSB inoculum, as well as determining which species of Stagonosporopsis each of the isolates belonged to. Mathew took first place in the Athens division of the Young Scholar oral presentation competition, continuing the McGregor lab's tradition of victory in the Young Scholar program. We look forward to seeing great things from Matt and hope that he chooses UGA to continue his educational journey.

Jul 19, 2019

Derrick Ousley - REEU fellow

This summer our lab hosted Derrick Ousley as part of the Crop Genetic and Genomics REEU program. Jorge Reyes mentored Derrick in his research project. Today Derrick presented his poster  entitled "Developing Recombinase Polymerase Amplification (RPA) Assays for Gummy Stem Blight Pathogen Detection in Watermelon" at the REU/REEU Summer Research Poster Forum. It was a pleasure having Derrick with us this summer and we wish him all the best as he continues his undergraduate education.

Jorge Reyes (mentor) and Derrick Ousley

Jun 28, 2019

Field Day

The lab participated in the The Twilight Summer Field Day onThursday, June 27 to highlight fruit and vegetable research at the Durham Horticulture Farm on Hog Mountain Rd.

From Left to right: Sammy Manthi, Lincoln Adams, Jorge Reyes and Jesse Kuzy

May 30, 2019

Baby Benjamin Gimode

Congratulations to Winnie and Davis on the birth of their son Benjamin Adili Gimode on May 17th 2019. 

May 5, 2019

Winnie shines in CAES Brodus Browne competition

Winnie Gimode was awarded the second place (Ph.D.) in the 2019 E. Broadus Browne Awards for Outstanding Graduate Research. The Broadus Browne awards are meant to encourage research creativity and effective communication among the more than 500 graduate students in the  UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The awards was presented at the 2019 Awards and Leadership Banquet on April 30th at the Georgia Center.

Dr. Allen Moore (CAES Associate Dean for Research), Winnie Gimode (2nd Ph.D.), Ruby Harrison (1st Ph.D.) and Dr. Josef Broder (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs).

Dr, Tim Smalley (Acting Dept Head - Horticulture), Winnie Gimode (2nd Ph.D), Will Hemphill (2nd M.S.), Mary Lewis (1st M.S), and Dr. Cecilia McGregor

Apr 29, 2019

Flourishing Greenhouse

The greenhouse is in full swing this spring! We have a multitude of watermelons ready to be harvested and some new additions this summer with the growth of green peppers!
Greenhouse workers and grad students have been constantly maintaining the greenhouse by pollinating and trailing the plants. As the watermelons grow, students bag them in order to maintain support on the vine until they are ready to be removed.

Apr 15, 2019

Dr. McGregor attends CucCAP meeting

Dr. McGregor visited Cornell on April 12 & 13, 2019 to attend the 4th annual CucCAP  team meeting at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Ithaca, NY.

Apr 10, 2019

Large Plant Screening

A couple weeks prior to when the above images were taken, these plants were infected with pathogens in order to determine which were more susceptible to diseases. In the top image, graduate student Winnie Gimode is inspecting each plant individually. Her inspection requires her to apply a specific rating system which represents the severity of disease on the plants. This screening was a large scale experiment and was conducted in a greenhouse with controlled temperature and humidity levels.

Mar 19, 2019

Pathogen Inoculation Process II

A few weeks ago, we posted the inoculation process. This week we are showing the results of those inoculations! The top image shows growth after just a few days of inoculation. The bottom image was taken a couple weeks later showing the rapid growth of the pathogen over an extended amount time. As shown in the above images, the pathogens tend to grow radially. To promote the growth process, the petri dishes are set under fluorescent lights with 16h light and 8h darkness.

Mar 6, 2019

Pathogen Inoculation Process

Recently in the lab, workers have been preparing quarter strength potato dextrose agar (QPDA) and full strength potato dextrose agar (FPDA) in order to grow the pathogens. In the image above, graduate student Winnie is using petri dishes with the QPDA and inoculating the pathogen in a laminar flow hood. This process requires extreme care in order to prevent any contamination, hindering the pathogen from growing properly. The image below is after inoculation is complete. Over the next few weeks, graduate students will be monitoring their growth before moving on to the next steps.

Feb 25, 2019

Weekly Screening

Over the past few months, lab workers have been assisting graduate students with frequent screenings. This process includes infecting plants with pathogens in order to see which plants are more susceptible to disease and which are more resistant. Screenings are conducted in a controlled humidity chamber in order accelerate the growth process of the gummy stem blight.

Feb 12, 2019

Fusarium Incoculum (Disease Screening Preparation)

(Image above taken in October 2018)

In the lab, we have to do a lot of preparation over a period of time in order to conduct research. The above image shows a quick snapshot of that preparation. These are erlenmeyer flasks filled with fusarium incoculum. This was mixed on the shaker tables for an extended amount of time in order to prepare them for use in disease screenings.

Feb 4, 2019

SR-ASHS in Birmingham AL

Graduate students from the lab attended the SR-ASHS and the Watermelon Research Working Group in Birmingham AL this past weekend.
Jorge Reyes won third place in the Warren S. Barham Ph.D Graduate Student Paper Competition for this presentation entitled "Detection of the Gummy Stem Blight-Causing Pathogens (Stagonosporopsis spp.) in Watermelon Using Species-Specific LAMP Assays."
 Winnie Gimode won best overall graduate student poster, for the poster entitled "Fine mapping of a Major Quantitative Trait Locus Qdff3-1 Controlling Flowering Time in Watermelon." Winnie was also voted the 'audience favorite' for the paper presentation entitled "Identification of Quantitative Trait Loci Associated with Gummy Stem Blight Resistance in Watermelon."

Congratulations to Jorge and Winnie!