ARS plant physiologist Hong Lin wrote the top-ranked research proposal in the Agricultural Research Service's 2007 Postdoctoral Research Award Program. Lin will study Huanglongbing, also called citrus greening, an exotic citrus fruit disease that was discovered for the first time in the U.S. in 2005.
Huanglongbing is a bacterium that can weaken or kill citrus trees. The microbe, carried by winged insects called psyllids, occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa, and South America.
ARS will award Lin $120,000 for a two-year postdoctoral position in his laboratory near Parlier, Calif. Lin's project will focus on detecting the microbe early, a task essential to stopping its spread, Lin says.
ARS will also award $100,000 to 49 other scientists for their two-year postdoc positions.