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The developing Texas wine industry could save millions of dollars annually thanks in part to Lisa Morano's research into deadly grapevine ailments.
"This research has great financial concerns for Texas vineyards because replanting new vines after an infection can be economically devastating for growers," Morano said.
Morano, an associate professor in UHD's Department of Natural Sciences, works with students to research how various microbes interact with grapevines and to conduct an in-depth analysis of this destructive disease and bacteria.
"We are genetically fingerprinting Xylella fastidiosa cultures from Texas and across the United States in an effort to understand how it spreads," Morano said. "This information will determine how we address the problem going forward."
Six to 10 undergraduate UHD students assist Morano each semester in her research. The students are able to gain hands-on experience in the lab and contribute to published research papers and journal articles.
"They work so hard and I love working with them here," Morano said. "I'm doing a little piece of a larger puzzle and my students get to do real work that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do in a larger school."
In 2007, Morano received the UHD Award for Excellence in Scholarly and Professional Activity in light of her dedication to her position and research.
"With small class sizes and a great faculty, I believe that UHD is the best kept secret in town," Morano said. "I love working here and love what I do."
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Last updated or reviewed on 8/9/11