Plant Pathologist, AAFC Lethbridge Research and Development Centre
Syama joined AAFC-Lethbridge in July 2011 as the pulse and special crops pathologist. Her research focuses on management of root and foliar diseases of pulse crops, and molecular diagnostics and identification of soilborne pathogens. She currently leads numerous research projects on pea root rot, white mold of dry bean, and chocolate spot of faba bean. She published the first report describing Aphanomyces root rot in pea in Alberta in 2013, and has been on a journey of discovery of this disease every since.
To create a balanced research program (and because studying root diseases is really hard), she also studies methods of forecasting foliar diseases of pulse crops based on pathogen monitoring of the air. For both root and foliar disease management, she is keen on bridging molecular lab tools with real in-the-field solutions, and believes that knowing what pathogen and how much is in your field is the first step to management. Besides her passion for pulse diseases, she also has a passion for cooking with pulses, and particularly trying all sorts of different tricks to get her kids to eat pulses.