Dr. Weimin Ye was recently recognized with the Syngenta Award at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Society of Nematologists in Lansing, Mich. He was honored for his visionary work with molecular identification of nematodes, its use as a regulatory diagnostic tool and its contributions to agriculture from regulatory and marketing perspectives.
Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that are found in soil and water. Over 25,000 nematodes have been described, which makes their identification important agriculturally in determining if they are harmful or beneficial to crops.
In recognizing Dr. Ye, the society noted,”the Southeastern U.S. is a major gateway for the entry of invasive species into the U.S. and Dr. Ye’s studies in regulatory nematology and molecular diagnostics for nematode identification have proved critical in providing accurate identifications and recommendations…. His contributions to the GenBank database have significantly improved the value of this ever increasing tool for molecular comparisons and verification of agriculturally important nematodes. His research will continue to be extremely valuable for solving nematological identification problems in agriculture for long into the foreseeable future.”
Dr. Ye joined the Agronomic Services Division in 2005, where he serves as the section chief of the Nematode Assay Section. That section processes over 30,000 soil samples a year, identifying nematodes and making recommendations to farmers to combat nematode damage. Since joining the department, Dr. Ye has updated the lab’s capabilities, streamlining operations and setting up a new molecular diagnostic center at the lab.
With this technology, he has optimized Real-Time PCR for species identification of the soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines. He has also developed RT-PCR detection methods for the pine-wood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus in wood logs and softwood packaging materials. Pine-wood nematode is a quarantine nematode for many countries outside the United States. This is being used to prevent the movement of infested wood around the world.
“Nematodes present real challenges for farmers and the forestry industry,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The work Dr. Ye and his staff does in diagnosing nematode levels and making recommendations is invaluable to the success of these small businesses. We are fortunate to have someone with Dr. Ye’s experience, extensive knowledge of these potential pests and his passion to add to the understanding of these organisms. This is a well-deserved honor.”
Dr. Ye earned his bachelor’s degree from the Agricultural University in Nanchang, China, his master’s degree from South China Agricultural University and a master’s degree in nematology from the University of Ghent in Belgium. He earned his Ph.D from the University of Arkansas.
In addition to his work with the department, he is an adjunct assistant professor in N.C. State University’s Department of Plant Pathology.
His areas of research and experience include plant-parasitic nematology, plant protection, nematode systematics, molecular phylogeny and regulatory nemotology.