Ozgur Batuman leads the citrus pathology lab with an extensive background in plant pathology and virology and has researched several pathogens of economically important crops around the world.
Ozgur Batuman received his BS and MS degrees in plant pathology from University of Cukurova, Turkey, and PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His graduate studies primarily dealt with Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation of citrus and model plants with various genes of Citrus tristeza virus at the Volcani Center in Israel. He joined to Department of Plant Pathology at University of California-Davis as a post doc and later promoted to Project Scientist position. In California, he worked on thrips population dynamics and Tomato spotted wilt virus incidence in processing tomato, pepper and lettuce for development and implementation of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. He was also involved in identification and characterization of virus and virus-like (i.e., viroid and phytoplasma) diseases of other vegetable crops.
Dr. Batuman has extensive expertise in epidemiology of virus and virus-like diseases in economically important crops. He develops IPM strategies for pest management through surveying Ag production regions for insect populations and disease incidence. Dr. Batuman has worked on the identification and characterization of a range of pathogens infecting economically important crops from USA and other countries. He developed improved methods for detecting viruses in their hosts and vectors and screened and identified candidate suppressors of gene silencing of viruses. Furthermore, Dr. Batuman successfully developed a highly specific polyclonal antibody for E. coli-expressed virus capsid proteins and demonstrated their effectiveness in virus detection. Dr. Batuman’s graduate studies dealt with genetic transformation of citrus rootstocks for disease resistance. He successfully established in vitro culture laboratory and optimized gene transformation protocols for Citrus sp. He obtained more than 400 transgenic citrus plants with CTV-derived constructs and excelled with micro grafting of Citrus sp., establishing transformants faster than those that were developed by rooting techniques. He analyzed and documented the genetic profile of these transgenic plants by utilizing advanced histological (fluorescent microscopy), serological and molecular techniques, and conducted virus inoculation experiments to assess their resistance to CTV.
Dr. Batuman joined the University of Florida, Department of Plant Pathology at Southwest Florida Research and Education Center as an Assistant Professor/Citrus Pathologist in October 2016. His current research and extension programs are focused on the better understanding of pathogens causing economically important diseases in citrus, and development of effective and long-lasting IPM strategies for controlling pathogens that currently threatening the citrus industry in Florida.