WVU Extension Specialist – Plant Disease
Mahfuz Rahman, Ph.D., a lifelong supporter and practitioner of Integrated Pest Management,
joined WVU to promote environmentally friendly, pest management techniques to the
producers and communities in West Virginia, that is, those who are actively seeking
improved pest management advice to minimize crop losses due to pests.
As a plant pathologist and Extension specialist at West Virginia University, Rahman
assists West Virginia communities by performing pest diagnostics at the WVU Plant
Diagnostic Clinic and sending recommendations to clientele for effective pest management.
Early diagnosis of pest problems remains at the cornerstone of his adaptive and
applied research program at WVU that seeks to address disease problems primarily
in vegetables and fruits.
His research is driven by the urgency of solving growers’ problems within a real-world
agricultural production framework by asking strategic questions that advance the
science of plant pathology to benefit growers. He takes an integrated approach
that includes cutting-edge research on pathogen detection and quantification, proactive
measures to avoid the introduction of harmful pathogens with planting material,
and adoption of measures based on the disease forecast model. One method that ensures
rapid, early and sensitive diagnosis is the use of molecular detection techniques,
such as polymerase chain reaction and real-time PCR, and is used widely in Rahman’s
Rahman’s Extension philosophy and approach is to train county agents, Master Gardeners and progressive growers on disease diagnosis and management of the major economically important diseases so that commodity groups will be able to better handle their problems.