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Faculty member honored for international work

Naidu Rayapati, a plant virologist at the Washington State University Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, has received the International Service Award from the American Phytopathological Society.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions to plant pathology by international members for countries other than their own. Rayapati was honored for accomplishments in solving virus disease problems in subsistence agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and for capacity building for virus research in developing countries.

Rayapati, a member of the WSU faculty since 2004, is a native of India, where he earned three academic degrees. During his career, he has worked on crop virus problems in various developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.  He also has served as a consultant virologist with the Crop Protection Programme of the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom, working on a peanut rosette disease complex virus in Malawi and Uganda.

He recently received grant funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development to conduct research on virus diseases of cassava in Nigeria and to address thrips-borne tospoviruses in vegetables in South and Southeast Asia.

Rayapati also is part of a team of researchers from several U.S. universities training scientists in India as part of the U.S.-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative, announced last year.

The AKI is a public-private partnership intended to facilitate technology transfer; bolster agricultural research, education and extension; and strengthen trade and regulatory capacity building. Both the United States and India are providing funding.

Rayapati is training visiting scientists in his lab on various aspects of plant virology and helping organize a training course for capacity building in the area of integrated pest management of vegetable diseases in India.

At WSU, Rayapati has developed a program on virus diseases of grapevines and other crops of economic significance to Washington’s farmers.

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