Dr. Natalie Goldberg is a Distinguished Achievement Professor and the Interim Associate Dean and Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at NMSU. She received her B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture from Cal Poly Pomona in 1983 and her M.S and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Arizona in 1987 and 1990. Dr. Goldberg's primary responsibilities include statewide educational programming in areas related to plant health management and crop biosecurity, and operating the Plant Diagnostic Clinic.
Dr Goldberg also identifies new plant diseases in New Mexico, conducts applied research projects, writes educational publications, and provides information of disease outbreaks in New Mexico to the public and to regional and national pest information databases. Her recent research interests focus on the biology and genetics of Xylella fastidiosa, diseases caused by Phytophthora nicotianae, and the interaction of microbes with each other and with plants and their effects on the management of plant diseases.
Phillip Lujan is the program manager and diagnostician for the Plant Diagnostic Clinic. He received his B.S and M.S in Agricultural Biology with a minor in Molecular Biology at New Mexico State University.
For four years, he was a research technician in the plant pathology and mycology program at NMSU where he gained valuable experience working with local growers helping them to manage their disease problems.
Phillip is currently pursuing his PhD in Plant and Environmental Science at NMSU where he is researching the potential use of pecan byproducts on chile peppers for improved soilborne disease management.
Dr. Carol Sutherland has been at New Mexico State University since 1980 in various capacities.
She is an entomologist by training and earned her Ph.D. in the subject from Oregon State University. While on the faculty at the University of Florida, she worked on Integrated Pest Management and biological control of various insect pests of vegetables, focusing on leafminer flies. In her long association with NMSU, she has worked on range caterpillars, grasshoppers, ants, and a great variety of insects and their relatives as submitted for identification by the public, farmers and ranchers, homeowners, businesses, colleagues, other agencies and organizations.
She spends much of her time making identifications, summarizing biological and control information for these specimens, supporting county agents and participating in numerous entomology outreach programs for youth (4-H and FFA) and adults. She also spends considerable time working with Master Gardeners and the Pesticide Applicator Training and Certification programs.
She is half-time as an Extension Entomologist with the Extension Plant Sciences Department at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and half-time as State Entomologist with the Bureau of Entomology and Nursery Industries, New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Leslie Beck is the Extension Weed Specialist for New Mexico State University. She received her B.S. in Horticulture and Landscape Management in 2006 and her M.S. in Agriculture in 2009 from Tarleton State University specializing in golf course and turfgrass management. She then received her Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, specializing in turfgrass management, from Texas Tech University in 2009. From July 2013 to February 2015, she served as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, specializing in turfgrass weed science, at Purdue University.
Dr. Beck's primary responsibilities include progressive statewide educational programming in weed science, including annual and perennial weed management, weed identification, and herbicide application for all cropping systems including agricultural commodities and turf and landscape areas.
Her responsibilities also include interpreting and disseminating current and relevant research findings for practical use by producers through mass media, publications, producer meetings, demonstration plots, and other proven extension methods.
Her long-term extension and research goal is to help individuals and professionals across multiple plant science disciplines and backgrounds to develop accurate, applicable, and effective weed identification and management strategies to address issues throughout the state of New Mexico.
Dr. Amy Ganguli is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. Her expertise is in rangeland ecology and her academic training includes a B.S. from the University of Rhode Island in 1997, M.S. from Texas Tech University in 1999, and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State in 2005.
Prior to joining the faculty at New Mexico State University, her diverse employment experiences included research, implementation assistance, teaching, and outreach activities for the Ecosystem Management Research Institute, the U.S. Forest Service, and North Dakota State University.
Her present work focuses on the sustainable use of rangelands and restoration of degraded rangeland ecosystems often plagued by invasive plant species. In New Mexico her research emphasis is on invasive non-native woody plants such as saltcedar, Russian olive, Siberian elm, and tree of heaven, as well as the densification of native tree species like juniper.
Dr. Sara Fuentes-Soriano is the Director and Curator of the two herbaria (plant museums) at NMSU. She received her B.S. Biology in 1995 and a M.S. in Electron Microscopy in 1997 from Universidad Autónoma de Mexico. She then obtained a M.S. in Plant Systematics in 2002 and a Ph.D. in Plant Systematics, Evolution and Conservation in 2010 from the University of Missouri at Saint Louis. Subsequently, from 2012 to 2016, she served as a Postdoctoral Research Associate working on the comparative phylogenomic of several crop species and their wild relatives (e.g., sweet potato, cacao, loblolly pine) at Indiana University and Prairie View, Texas A&M.
Dr. Fuentes-Soriano primary responsibility is to guarantee the future safety and accessibility of the 120,000 plant herbarium specimens. This unique biodiversity collection is the oldest in the State, started by Prof. E.O. Wooton in the late 1880s. Dr. Fuentes-Soriano conducts systematics and taxonomic research, manages, promotes and improves the herbarium, teaches plant science, carries out outreach activities throughout the year, and offers plant identification services to the public.
Some major areas of her research focus on preserving natural history collections, improving biodiversity informatics and cyberinfrastructure, and conducting studies related to plant conservation, systematics and taxonomy. Current research projects address regional and global concerns, such as the effects of climate changes on patterns of the geographic distribution in desert vegetation, synthesis of baseline plant biodiversity data gathered from arid regions, and bioprospecting potential medicinal plant species used traditionally to treat diseases and maintain health in various communities in Southern New Mexico
Jacki Beacham has been an agricultural research scientist in the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science for the past 17 years, working primarily with plant parasitic nematodes associated with agricultural cropping systems in the region. The average day for Beacham may include establishing, monitoring or harvesting a field or greenhouse experiment, spending time in the greenhouse maintaining cultures, or identifying, quantifying and photo-documenting nematode samples at the microscope. She also interacts with growers, crop consultants and homeowners to identify and address their nematode issues. The nematology program that she manages often collaborates with other research programs on campus and has been involved in soil nematode inventories of local natural ecosystems occurring at White Sands National Monument, the Jornada Experimental Range and the Otero Mesa. Beacham earned bachelor's degrees in biology and agronomy and a master's degree in agricultural biology from NMSU.
Dr. Amanda Skidmore is the Extension Integrated Pest Management Specialist (IPM) for New Mexico State University. Her extension and research responsibilities at New Mexico State University are to provide IPM support and education for stakeholders and extension educators. She started at NMSU in the Fall of 2019. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology, where she studied the impacts of IPM on specialty crop production. She continued her research as a postdoctoral research at Purdue University, evaluating the impacts of pest management on natural enemy communities.
Her research program is focused on developing holistic, practical, and sustainable pest management practices for New Mexico farmers and homeowners, with the goal of integrating real-world concerns with scientific research. She is actively engaged in multidisciplinary groups with extension educators, fellow specialists, researchers, and stakeholders across the state to build pest management programs within the State of New Mexico. She is also focused on the promotion of pollinator health across New Mexico in both Urban and Agricultural Landscapes.
You can follow her on Twitter (@NMSUIPM) or Facebook (@NMSU_IPM) or visit https://aces.nmsu.edu/ipm/ for more information and links to pest management guides!
As the NMSU Extension Urban Horticulture Specialist, Marisa Thompson is responsible for active extension and research programs supporting sustainable horticulture in New Mexico. In addition to studying landscape mulches and tomatoes, her research interests at NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas include abiotic plant stressors like wind, cold, heat, drought, and soil compaction.
She writes a weekly gardening column, “Southwest Yard & Garden,” which is published in newspapers and magazines across the state and on her blog. Readers can access the column archives and many other hort-related resources at https://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/. Find her on social media (@NMdesertblooms).