Webinar #1
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time
Watch the webinar recording below:

Tree Breeding for Forest Health – Current Successes. How can Biotechnology Help?
– Richard Sniezko, U.S. Forest Service – View Bio | View Slides

Dr. Richard Sniezko has worked in forest genetics and tree improvement since 1977. Since 1991, he has been Center Geneticist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region’s Dorena Genetic Resource Center in Cottage Grove, Oregon. His work focuses on development of genetic resistance to non-native forest tree diseases as well as genetic variation and genetic conservation in forest trees. His Bachelor of Science degree in forest science is from Humboldt State University, and his Ph.D. in forest genetics is from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the Forest Service in 1991, he worked in Zimbabwe (3 years) and at Oregon State University (in conjunction with PNW Research Station). He is coordinator of IUFRO 2.02.15 Working Group (Breeding and genetic resources of five-needle pines) and a member of the IUFRO Task Force on Biological Invasions in Forests. Dr. Sniezko is also initiator and ad hoc coordinator/facilitator for the Genetics of Host-Parasite Interactions in Forestry working group that met in 2011 and 2015 and is scheduled to meet in 2018. He oversees programs that have developed genetic resistance to the non-native pathogens Cronartium ribicola and Phytophthora lateralis and has been technical adviser to the program to develop resistance to koa wilt (caused by Fusarium oxysporum) in Hawaii. The programs he oversees are world leaders in the applied development of resistance for reforestation and restoration, and the products from these programs are now used widely across the Pacific Northwest. Since 2001, Dr. Sniezko has organized or co-organized eight international conferences and workshops on genetic resistance, genetic conservation, and white pine genetics/breeding. He has been Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PI, or Cooperator on numerous funded grant proposals and published numerous papers and has been an invited speaker on the development and application of disease resistance in forest trees.

Emerald Ash Borer – The Complexities of a Catastrophic Invader
– Deb McCullough, Michigan State University – View Bio | View Slides

Deborah G. McCullough holds graduate degrees in Forestry (M.S., Northern Arizona University) and Entomology (Ph.D., University of Minnesota). She is a Professor at Michigan State University with a joint appointment in the Dept. of Entomology and Dept. of Forestry, with research, extension and teaching responsibilities. Much of McCullough’s current research focuses on the ecology, impacts and management of invasive forest insects, including emerald ash borer and beech bark disease. She works with forest management agencies, regulatory officials and private landowners to identify damaging forest insect populations and to develop long-term, sustainable management strategies to protect forest health. McCullough has published more than 90 papers about forest insect ecology and management in scientific journals, along with more than 120 extension bulletins and articles. She teaches Insects and Diseases of Forest and Shade Trees annually, to students majoring in Forestry or Horticulture.

Developing Genetically Diverse, Blight-Resistant American Chestnut Through Conventional Breeding and Genetic Engineering
– Jared Westbrook, The American Chestnut Foundation – View Bio | View Slides

Dr. Jared Westbrook started working for the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) in 2015. Dr. Westbrook earned a B.S. in environmental science at the University of Michigan in 2004. At the University of Florida, he earned a M.S. in botany in 2009 and a Ph.D. in plant molecular and cellular biology in 2014. His Ph.D. work focused on gene discovery and genomic selection for enhanced stem terpene synthesis in loblolly pine. His focus at TACF has been on genomic selection for disease resistance in American chestnut backcross populations and on range-wide germplasm conservation of Castanea dentata populations.