Meet the CucCAP Squash Team

Squash Breeding, Genomics, and Pathology

The CucCAP squash team is breeding squash for Powdery Mildew and Phytophthora rot resistance. Objectives for the coming years include: identifying QTL from new sources; transfering resistance into key market classes, and conducting multi-site trials for Powdery Mildew on C. moschata; developing and releasing breeding lines, conducting multi-site trials for Phytophthora rot on C. maxima; GWAS core collection, identifying additional QTL, and developing markers for Powdery mildew on C. pepo; and developing populations, mapping QTL, and developing markers for Phytophthora rot on C. pepo. Integrated disease management trials will be conducted on new varieties at multiple locations, under different environmental conditions, production practices, and pathogen populations in collaboration with the Integrated Disease Mangement team.

Continue Reading

Michael Mazourek

Dr. Mazourek is the squash team leader and a vegetable breeder at Cornell University who focuses on grower needs through improving disease and insect resistance as well as flavor in agroecologically based production systems.

Mary Hausbeck

Dr. Hausbeck is a vegetable pathologist and Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. Graduate students working on cucurbit disease in the Hausbeck lab include David E. Perla whose research focuses on improving different strategies to manage Phytophthora diseases in the greenhouse and the field, Grace E. Kenny whose research focuses on forecasting and cucurbit downy mildew, and Matthew Uebbing whose research focuses on Cucumber downy mildew and disease forecasting.

Shaker Kousik

Dr. Kousik is a Plant Pathologist at the USDA-ARS Vegetable Research laboratory in Charleston SC. He is also a member of the CucCAP integrated disease management team.

Geoffrey Meru

Geoffrey Meru is an asistant professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. He specializes in vegetable breeding, genetics and genomics.

Angela Linares Ramírez

Dr. Angela M. Linares-Ramirez is an Associate Professor of the Vegetable Breeding and Crop Management Production Research Program at the University of Puerto Rico Agricultural Experimental Station located in Lajas, Puerto Rico. For the past five years Dr. Linares has established a program on vegetable production, particularly in tropical pumpkin, sweet chili pepper, sweet corn, pepper, and lettuce, to find solutions to the main problems faced by the farmers mainly in Puerto Rico and in the Caribbean Basin. Her program routinely employs evaluation of crop management techniques, crop pest identification and control, fertilization, and fruit quality towards the study of the factors limiting the production.   Member of the Linares lab working in CucCAP2 includes technician Luisa Flores, and a recent accepted graduate student Andrea Landron. 

Christine Smart

The Smart lab focuses on plant pathogen population diversity and disease management as part of the squash team. The Smart lab is also testing germplasm from their squash breeder colleagues for resistance to Phytophthora capsici and powdery mildew. Lab members include research support specialist Colin Day and graduate student Libby Indermaur.

Progress in CucCAP1: Squash Breeding Accomplishments

  • Powdery mildew on C. moschata -the squash team identified QTL, developed markers (97), developed breeding lines, and identified new resistance (136)
  • Phytophthora rot on C. maxima – 189 variety evaluations
  • Powdery mildew on C. pepo – Identified QTL, developed marker (97)
  • Phytophthora rot on C. pepo – Inheritance of resistance (133), characterized resistance (47)

Squash Team News