Darcy E P Telenko

Principle Investigator

Assistant Professor

Field Crop Pathologist and Extension Specialist


Phone: 765.496.5168

Our interdisciplinary plant pathology research and Extension program is involved in researching the biology and management of soilborne and foliar pathogens of agronomic crops.

The program is focused on recognizing and understanding new and emerging diseases and their potential impact on Indiana agriculture.

Our research is used to support extension efforts focused on providing timely and reliable information to growers and industry stakeholders to encourage the adoption of integrated management strategies for improved production efficiency and increase awareness of how diseases impact crop yield potential in Indiana.


Jeffrey Ravellette

Field Research Associate


As an Associate Field Technician, I am responsible for setting up and maintaining field trials in corn, soybeans, and wheat for disease management research. My job consists of field mapping and trial set up, equipment maintenance and transportation, planting, pesticide applications, trial maintenance such as mowing and tilling alleys, data collection, and harvesting.


Su-Joung Shim

Field Crop Pathology Lab

Lab Manager/Research Technician 


Phone: 765.496.3471


MS - Master in Public Health (MPH),  Purdue University, West Lafayette, U.S.

BS -  Pharmaceutical Science, College of Pharmacy, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, U.S.

BS  - Biological Science, College of Life Science, South Korea

Current Research/Project

Whole Geonomic Sequence of Phyllachora maydis, a perithecial ascomycete, causes a tar spot disease of maize (leaves and yields).

This whole genome sequences will provide a first glimpse into the genomic basis of the biological diversity of phyllachora madis.

Molecular detection of fungal pathogens by  18S rDNA high-throughput screening in comparison to ITS PCR and culture.

Implementation of experiments in Field Crop Pathology by sampling processing, data collection, data processing, and maintaining/operating the standard laboratory and lab equipment.

mariama SDS and SCN

A- Foliar symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS). B-  Blue sporulation of F. virguliforme on soybean taproot. Photo credit: Darcy Telenko, Purdue University

C- Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) on roots. Photo credit: Mariama Brown, Purdue University

Mariama Brown

Graduate Student



BS - Agricultural Education-  College of Agriculture, Science & Education, Portland Jamaica.

MSc- Plant Science - Delaware State University, U.S.

Current Research

Management for Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) Complex.

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) is among the top five yield-robbing diseases of soybean.

SDS is caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium virguliforme which secretes toxins in the plant leading to foliar interveinal chlorosis, necrosis, defoliation, flower and pod abortion. ​

The association between the development of SDS foliar symptoms and the level of infection on soybean roots is not yet fully understood. It is known that F. virguliforme can form a disease complex with Heterodera glycines (soybean cyst nematode - SCN) leading to increased SDS severity.​

Current methods to manage SDS use moderately resistance varieties, full resistance to SDS has yet to be identified.  ​​
It is imperative for us to discover, evaluate, and integrate other potential management strategies for SDS.​ Therefore, the objectives of my research are to (1) evaluate the efficacy of nematicide seed treatments against SCN and SDS, (2) examine the potential outcomes of integrated management methods and (3) Identify molecular interactions that regulate soybean foliar susceptibility to  F. virguliforme phytotoxins using differential soybean varieties.

A- Multiple tar spot stroma on a corn leaf, B- A single stroma magnified, C –Phyllachora maydis perithecium,  D- Ascus and ascospores of P. maydis

A- Multiple tar spot stroma on a corn leaf, B- A single stroma magnified, C –Phyllachora maydis perithecium,  D- Ascus and ascospores of P. maydis

Tiffanna J. Ross

Graduate Student



BS  – General Agriculture – University of Guyana, Tekeyen Campus
MSc – Agricultural Regulations (Molecular Biology & Plant Biotechnology) – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, U.S.

Current Research
New and Emerging Disease : Tar Spot Disease of Corn

Tar Spot Disease of Corn is caused by a fungal pathogen, Phyllachora maydis which is a new and emerging foliar disease. Tar spot presents symptoms of small, raised, black spots embedded in and dispersed across the upper and lower leaf surfaces which eventually spreads to the corn ear. 

First recorded in the U.S. in 2015 in Indiana and Illinois, tar spot was presumed to have no significant impact on U.S. Corn Belt. Conversely, in 2018, a tar spot epidemic saw severe quality and yield losses across susceptible corn hybrids and is now confirmed in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Little to no information is documented about the biology, ecology, impact and management of this fungus in its native origin (Mexico) and hence much work is needed to be done here in the U.S. if we are to combat this disease. Therefore, the objectives of my study are to: (1) Study the Population Structure Biology and Ecology of P. maydis, (b) Assess various Management Options (Hybrids and Fungicide Efficacy) and (3) To evaluate the Economic Impact of P. maydis on U.S corn under disease and management.

camila disease

Soybean Diseases: A) Cercospora leaf blight (Cercospora kikuchii);  B) Purple seed stain (Cercospora kikuchii; C) Sudden death syndrome (Fusarium virguliforme); D) Frogeye leaf spot (Cercospora sojina) leaf and E) seed; and F) Stem Canker (Diaporthe spp.).

Camila Rocco da Silva

Visiting Scholar


B.S., 2016 – Federal University of Mato Grosso – Agronomy
M.S., 2018 – State University of Maringa – Plant Protection

Current Research
As a Visiting Scholar my research will be involved in determining the distribution of foliar diseases and fungicide resistance in Indiana to help identify best management options for improved disease control in soybean.

The goal of this research is to understand the distribution of foliar diseases and fungicide resistance in Indiana, and identify new options that may improve foliar disease control, yield, and seed quality.

My main goals are to help identify, document and confirm the distribution of foliar and stem diseases of soybean (frogeye leaf spot (Cercospora sojina), Cercospora leaf blight (Cercospora kikuchii), northern and southern stem canker (Diaporthe species) and/or other symptomatic leaves), evaluate these populations for baseline sensitives and/or development of fungicide resistance, and evaluate fungicide efficacy and timing for management of foliar disease in soybean.

In addition includes helping with activities in the laboratory, greenhouse, and field in projects of the lab team that include tar spot (Phyllachora maydis), white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), and sudden death syndrome (Fusarium virguliforme)

Frogeye Leaf Spot

Natalia Pineros Guerrero

Graduate student



BS- Agronomy- School of Agricultural Sciences - Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá D.C

Current Research

Determining the distribution and Fungicide Resistance of Frogeye Leaf Spot in Indiana to identify Best Management Options for improved Disease Control in Soybean.

Frogeye Leaf Spot (FLS) is an important foliar disease in Soybean which is caused by the fungal pathogen Cercospora sojina. FLS is common in hot, humid regions of southern states but it can occur occasionally in Indiana and other central states in the United States. The usual symptoms are circular or angular spots on leaves, begin as small yellow spots and become bigger gray to brown spots with a reddish purple margins.

The management of FLS disease ranges from reducing the amount of inoculum by managing residues on field to tillage, rotation, using of fungicides and using of resistant varieties when available. However, FLS has been reported as resistant to Qoi fungicides from 2010 (Zhang et al., 2012) in Tennessee and this resistance has since been detected in 14 states including Indiana (Zhang et al., 2018).

Fungicide resistance has been confirmed in four counties in Indiana (Zhang et al., 2018).  It is hypothesized that the distribution has expanded beyond the four initial counties, in order to provide proper management guidelines for Indiana soybean farmers we need to continue to document the resistant fungal populations. The objectives of my study are: i) Identify, document and confirm the distribution of frogeye leaf spot and fungicide resistance in Indiana and, ii) Identify new options that may improve foliar disease control, yield and seed quality in soybean.


Audrey M. Conrad

Graduate Student



BS - Biological Engineering - Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Current Research


Cayla Haupt

Undergraduate Research Assistant


I am a senior at Purdue studying Botany and Plant Pathology. I work in the lab, greenhouse, and field to help manage trials pertaining to a plethora of corn and soybean diseases. I manage the field research trials pertaining to the fungal pathogen Phytophthora sojae in soybeans.


Amelia Chaille

Undergraduate Research Assistant


I am a junior is Environmental and Ecological Engineering.  I work in the field and lab to help scout for and identify crop diseases. I am currently working on a project pertaining to interactions between various herbicides and the soybean disease Phytophthora sojae. In addition, I help with other projects and trials dealing with wheat, soybean, and corn diseases.

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