Early Career Scientist Spotlight | Hunter Collins

Hunter Collins is a Research Assistant and Field Technician in Dr. Lina Quesada’s Vegetable Pathology Lab in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University. Hunter’s hometown is Brownfield, TX. Hunter presents disease management information at field days and grower meetings, manages vegetable field trials focused on disease management strategies, and authors Plant Disease Management Reports each growing season.

Hunter and audience

The Vegetable Pathology Lab at NC State University is studying drones, robots, and Downy Mildew Spore traps in Cucurbit fields. In June 2023, Hunter Collins participated in a demonstration of these tools at the Central Crops Research Station in Clayton, N.C.

Introduce yourself—your background, where you are now, and your current research focus.
My name is Hunter Collins and I am from a small farm town in west Texas. I have been around agriculture most of my life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Crop and Soil Science from Texas Tech University. I worked in vegetable research at the AgriLife Research Station at Lubbock during my undergrad, and worked in turf breeding for a few years after graduating. After moving to Raleigh, I began working in plant pathology in Vegetable Pathology lab an NC State University. My main research goal is to improve disease management in vegetable crops.

Why did you choose to work with Cucurbits, plant breeding, plant pathology, genomics, horticulture, agricultural economics or crop production?
Like many plant pathologists, I sort of stumbled into the field. With a background in vegetable production, I knew diseases were a major loss contributor and I find great value in helping to find methods to better manage diseases in vegetable crops.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time working on the CucCAP grant, and what do you most look forward to in this position?
I hope to find better management tools for growers and producers, as well being able to help disseminate information about the research from this grant.

Please provide a brief description of your research.
I both conducted and assisted with field trials experimenting with various management strategies.

What is your favorite plant pathogen?
My favorite pathogen is Rhizopus stolonifer.

Do you have any social media handles that you want included?
Twitter: @HCollinsNCSU