International cooperation in research

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Prof. Gary Hein from University of Nebraska – Lincoln visits the Faculty of Biology at AMU

Prof. G. Hein is a laureate of the Fulbright Specialist Program ( organized by the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission ( The Program allows universities and other institutions to host leading U.S. academic or professionals to work on collaborative projects. The aim is to broaden cooperation between Polish and American scientists.

Prof. Gary Hein is a specialist of the biology and ecology of arthropods and epidemiology of arthropod-transmitted plant viruses associated with agricultural landscapes. He is a Director of Doctor of Plant Health Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His main study subject is one of the most economically important organisms exploiting wheat. It is a microscopic mite, Aceria tosichella, which is a vector of plant viruses threatening cereal crops worldwide.

The effort of prof. G. Hein’s team have provided extensive information that has informed the development of improved management tactics and recommendations for North America agroecosystems. They are one of only a few labs that have studied this mite-virus complex in wheat in the United States, and have been the primary lab addressing the applied ecology of the mite in wheat agroecosystems and mite-virus interactions related to transmission. Through these studies they have produced 49 refereed publications in a number of entomology, virology and plant pathology journals along with several related extension materials, including publications and videos and an educational animation on mite dispersal. Altogether, prof. G. Hein is an author of 197 scientific articles and 20 chapters in books ranging from refereed scientific publications to extension educational articles. He is an author of over 500 presentations and demonstrations at professional conferences and extension workshops, and 30 invited research presentations. He managed many scientific projects for a total amount of over 5 mln USD.

The researchers from Faculty of Biology AMU: prof. AMU Anna Skoracka and prof. AMU Lechosław Kuczyński (Population Ecology Lab, and dr Wiktoria Szydło (Center for Advanced Technology) conduct comprehensive ecological and evolutionary research on niche breadth evolution and dispersal of Aceria tosichella, as well as on the potential of the mite to transmit plant viruses. The basic ecological and evolutionary expertise of the AMU team and the applied ecological expertise focusing on agroecosystems of prof. G. Hein’s lab are complimentary.

The goal of prof. Hein’s six-week visit is to expand our interactions in order to find synergy in our efforts through cooperating in projects exploring mechanisms shaping the invasive potential of Aceria tosichella. Additionally, prof. Gary Hein provides lectures and seminars for AMU researchers and students, and consultations for PhD students. The visit will result in joint scientific publications and joint scientific projects.