We are actively involved in collaborative and independent research in the following areas:


  • Evaluating innovative chemical, biological, varietal, and cultural management methods for foliar and soilborne diseases, including remote sensing technologies, and communicating these findings to the industry
  • Exploring of sustainable fertility practices for potato early die management
  • Identifying and characterizing new pathogens causing disease in Michigan seed storage
  • Investigating and implementing diagnostic and detection methods for Michigan seed potato certification
  • Monitoring potato virus Y and other tuber necrotic viruses
  • Monitoring local late blight incidences and genotypes impacting potato


Sugar Beet

  • Evaluating chemical and biological management methods for foliar and soilborne diseases
  • Studying the epidemiology of Cercospora leaf spot to help develop and improve integrated management practices
  • Characterizing fungicide sensitivity in isolates of Cercospora beticola, Alternaria spp., and Rhizoctonia solani to better inform management decisions
  • Characterizing storage rot pathogens for improved post-harvest disease management

For more details see our Research Program Page


Research Publications

  1. Hernandez, A.P., Ruth, S.K., Bloomingdale, C., Hanson, L.E., and Willbur, J.F. 2024. Effects of pyraclostrobin rotations and tank-mixtures on Cercospora beticola sensitivity and Cercospora leaf spot control in sugarbeet. Crop Prot. Accepted with revision.
  2. Thomas, L., Willbur, J., and Steinke, K. 2024. Utilizing boron to improve sugarbeet yield, quality, and Cercospora leaf spot management. J. Sugar Beet Res. Accepted with revision.
  3. Schlachter, E., Ruth, S., Satoh-Cruz, M., and Willbur, J.F. 2024. Survey of defects and diseases, including virulent Fusarium species, associated with chipping potatoes at-harvest and post-storage. Plant Health Prog. Accepted available in First Look.
  4. Willbur, J. and Burns, E. 2023. Potato University: An Interactive Tool to Engage and Educate Industry Stakeholders in Potato-Related Research. J. Ext. Accepted.
  5. Hernandez, A.P., Bublitz, D.M., Wenzel, T.J., Ruth, S.K., Bloomingdale, C., Mettler, D.C., Bloomquist, M.W., Hanson, L.E., and Willbur, J.F. 2023. An in-field heat treatment to reduce Cercospora beticola survival in plant residue and improve Cercospora leaf spot management in sugarbeet. Front. Plant Sci. 14:1-18. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2023.1100595.
  6. Hanson, L.E., Schlachter, E.M., Minier, D.H., Byrne, J., and Willbur, J.F. 2023. First report of anthracnose on sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) caused by Colletotrichum incanum in Michigan, USA. New Dis. Rep. 47: e12152. doi: 10.1002/ndr2.12152.
  7. Nieto-Lopez, E.H., Justo Miorini, T.J., Wulkop-Gil, C.A., Chilvers, M., Giesler, L.J., Jackson-Ziems, T.A., Kabbage, M., Mueller, D.S., Smith, D.L., Tovar-Pedraza, J.M., Willbur, J.F., and Everhart, S.E. 2023. Fungicide sensitivity of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum from U.S. soybean and dry bean, compared to different regions and climates. Plant Dis. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-07-22-1707-RE.
  8. Willbur, J.F., Schlachter, E., Ruth, S., Burek, C., and Byrne, J. 2022. First report of Geotrichum candidum causing rubbery rot of potato in Michigan. Plant Dis. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-04-22-0916-PDN
  9. Cortez Crizon, S., Hanson, L.E., Willbur, J.F., Miles, L., and Naegele, R. 2022. Diagnostic guide for Alternaria leaf spot on sugarbeet, red beet and chard. Plant Health Prog. doi: 10.1094/PHP-03-22-0025-DG.
  10. Metheny, J.A., Jayawardana, M.A., Willbur, J.F., and Hanson, L.E. 2022. First report of Stemphylium leaf spot of sugar beet caused by Stemphylium vesicarium. New Dis. Rep. 45:e12084. doi: 10.1002/ndr2.12084.
  11. Breunig, M., Nagelkirk, M., Byrne, A.M., Willbur, J.F., Steinke, K., and Chilvers, M. 2022. Meta-analysis of yield response to applications of fungicides made at different crop growth stages in Michigan winter wheat. Plant Health Prog 23:300-307. doi: 10.1094/PHP-09-21-0118-RS.
  12. Webster, R.W., Roth, M.G., Mueller, B.D., Mueller, D.S., Chilvers, M.I., Willbur, J.F., Mourtzinis, S., Conley, S.P., Smith, D.L. 2022. Integration of Row Spacing, Seeding Rates, and Fungicide Application for Control of Sclerotinia Stem Rot in Glycine max. Plant Dis. 106(4):1183-1191. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-09-21-1931-RE.
  13. Willbur, J.F., Mitchell, P.D., Fall, M.L., Byrne, A.M., Chapman, S.A., Floyd, C.M., Bradley, C.A., Ames, K.A., Chilvers, M.I., Kleczewski, N.M., Malvick, D.K., Mueller, B.D., Mueller, D.S., Kabbage, M., Conley, S.P., and Smith, D.L. 2019. Meta-analytic and economic approaches for evaluation of pesticide impact on Sclerotinia Stem Rot control and soybean yield in the North Central U.S. Phytopathology 109: 1157-2270. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-04-18-0124-R
  14. McCaghey, M., Willbur, J.F., Smith, D.L., and Kabbage, M. 2019. The complexity of the Sclerotinia sclerotiorum pathosystem in soybean: virulence factors, resistance mechanisms, and their exploitation to control Sclerotinia stem rot. Trop. Plant Pathol. 4: 12-22. doi: 10.1007/s40858-018-0259-4.
  15. Willbur, J.F., McCaghey, M.M., Kabbage, M., and Smith, D.L. 2019. An overview of the Sclerotinia sclerotiorum pathosystem in soybean: impact, fungal biology, and current management strategies. Trop. Plant Pathol. 44: 3-11. doi: 10.1007/s40858-018-0250-0.
  16. Willbur, J.F., Fall, M.L., Byrne, A.M., Chapman, S.A., McCaghey, M., Mueller, B.D., Schmidt, R., Chilvers, M.I., Mueller, D.S., Kabbage, M., Giesler, L.J., Conley, S.P., and Smith, D.L. 2018. Validating Sclerotinia sclerotiorum apothecial models to predict Sclerotinia stem rot in soybean (Glycine max) fields. Plant Dis. 102(12):2592-2601. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-02-18-0245-RE.
  17. Fall, M.L., Willbur, J.F., Smith, D.L., Byrne, A.M., Chilvers, M.I. 2018. Spatiotemporal distribution pattern of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum apothecia is modulated by canopy closure and soil temperature in an irrigated soybean field. Plant Dis. 102(9):1794-1802. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-11-17-1821-RE.
  18. Marburger, D.A. and Willbur, J.F., Weber, M.E., Ané, J.M., Kabbage, M., Conley, S.P., and Smith, D.L. 2018. Characterizing the Effect of Foliar Lipo-chitooligosaccharide Application on Sudden Death Syndrome and Sclerotinia Stem Rot in Soybean. Plant Health Prog. 19(1):46-53. doi:10.1094/PHP-10-17-0058-RS.
  19. Fall. M.L., Boyse, J.F., Wang, D., Willbur, J.F., Smith, D.L., Chilvers, M.I. 2018. Case Study of an Epidemiological Approach Dissecting Historical Soybean Sclerotinia Stem Rot Observations and Identifying Environmental Predictors of Epidemics and Yield Loss. Phytopathology 108(4):469-478. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-12-16-0446-R.
  20. McCaghey, M. and Willbur, J.F., Ranjan, A., Grau, C., Chapman, S., Diers, B., Groves, C., Kabbage, M., and Smith, D. 2017. Development and Evaluation of Glycine max Germplasm Lines with Quantitative Resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Front Plant Sci. 8:1495.
  21. Willbur, J.F., Fall, M.L., Bloomingdale, C., Byrne, A.M., Chapman, S.A., Isard, S.A., Magarey, R.D., McCaghey, M., Mueller, B.D., Russo, J.M., Schlegel, J., Chilvers, M.I., Mueller, D.S., Kabbage, M., and Smith, D.L. 2017. Weather-based models for assessing the risk of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum apothecial presence in soybean (Glycine max) fields. Plant Dis. 102: 73-84.
  22. Willbur, J.F., Ding, S., Marks, M.E., Lucas, H., Grau, C.R., Groves, C.L., Kabbage, M., and Smith, D.L. 2017. Comprehensive Sclerotinia stem rot screening of soybean germplasm requires multiple isolates of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Plant Dis. 101(2):344-353.
  23. Willbur, J.F., Vail, J.D., Mitchell, L.N., Jakeman, D.L., and Timmons, S.C. 2016. Expression, purification, and characterization of a carbohydrate-active enzyme: a research-inspired methods optimization experiment for the biochemistry laboratory. Biochem. Mol. Biol. Edu. 44(1): 75-85.
  24. Samac, D.A. and Willbur, J.F., Behnken, L., Brietenbach, F., Blonde, G., Halfman, B., Jensen, B., Sheaffer, C. 2014. First report of Stemphylium globuliferum causing Stemphylium Leaf Spot on alfalfa (Medicago sativa) in the U.S. Plant Dis. 98(7):993.
  25. Samac, D. A., Halfman, B., Jensen, B., Brietenbach, F., Behnken, L., Willbur, J.F., Undersander, D., Blonde, G., and Lamb, JF.S. 2013. Evaluating Headline fungicide on alfalfa production and sensitivity of pathogens to pyraclostrobin. Online. Plant Health Prog.

Click here for more Research Publications

See a list of Jaime’s publications on ResearchGate