Lab Personnel

Group pic

Lead Faculty

Johan Desaeger, PhDJohan
Principal Investigator

Born and raised in Belgium, I graduated as an agricultural engineer from the University of Ghent. I started working with nematodes in 1994 in Kenya at the International Center for Research in Agroforestry. I completed my PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of Leuven in 2001 after which I moved to the US to work on nematode management in vegetables at the Universities of Florida and Georgia. I made the leap to industry in 2005 when I joined DuPont to start up a nematology program at their former research facility in Delaware.I came back to Florida and joined the UF/IFAS faculty in the summer of 2016 to build a new nematology research group at the GCREC. I now live in a quiet home backed by a large swath of wetlands with my wife Karla and my new Florida brown dog, Toby.

Joe Noling                                                                           


Principal statewide responsibilities for nematology extension programs in all fruit and vegetable crops. Identify and evaluate chemical and nonchemical soilborne pest and disease management alternatives to methyl bromide for Florida vegetable cropping systems. Nematode population dynamics, nematode management, crop loss assessment .

Assistant Research Scientist

Fahiem EL-Borai Kora, Ph.D. Fahiem

I received undergraduate and graduate (MS) education in the Plant Protection Department, College of Agriculture at Zagazig University, Egypt. I received my Ph.D. degree from the UF Entomology and Nematology Department in 2001. I entered my Ph.D. program while maintaining a lecturer position at the Plant Protection Department in Egypt. I was hired as an Assistant Professor there and advanced to Full Professor in April 2017.

I worked as a post-doc at UF, then as a Biological Scientist IV (CREC) until December 2018. In December 2018, I transferred to Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) to join “Strawberry Breeding and Genetics” program and nematology program to be the “Director of International Outreach” for the “Strawberry Breeding and Genetics” program. My job duties include: 1) International outreach and dissemination of information to academic and private institutions worldwide involved in the research and/or propagation of UF strawberry varieties, 2) research on strawberry and other vegetable plant parasitic and entomopathogenic (insect parasitic) nematodes, microbial interactions including (nematodes, fungi and bacteria), general plant pathology, and biological control. I also work to assure the IFAS and UF Strawberry Variety Development Program’s rights are protected when utilized by growers abroad and to prevent any future illegal propagation. I regularly meet with foreign government officials/growers and exporters, giving lectures and holding various workshops to increase the awareness of UF/IFAS strawberry varieties and to help strengthen IBR enforcement.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Hung Bui, Postdoctoral Research Associate                              Hung Bui 1

I grew up in Can Tho City, located in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, which is the main area of agricultural production of Vietnam, mostly rice, vegetables, and tropical fruits. This nourished me to study BSc in Agronomy at Can Tho University, where I finished this program in 2009 and became a researcher at the Department of Plant Protection, Can Tho University after I had a one-year internship at the ARAVA Center in Israel. In 2012, I graduated MSc in Agriculture at Szent Istvan University, Hungary funded by FVM-FAO Scholarship. In 2014, I joined the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Illinois under a Ph.D sandwich program granted by Lee Foundation Rice Research Fellowship which I had 3 years at UIUC and 2 years at the International Rice Research Institute, the Philippines to conduct my Ph.D research. I earned the Ph.D in Nematology/Plant Pathology in May 2019 and then joined the Department of Nematology, the University of California, Riverside as a Staff Research Associate at Kearney Agricultural Research and Education Center. Since January 2020, I am working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Florida GCREC, Wimauma in the Nematology laboratory. My research program is to study non-fumigant nematicides, bio-fumigation, bio-control, and cover crops as the alternatives for the chemical soil fumigants on strawberry and vegetables.

Graduate Students

Clemen De Oliveira, PhD StudentClemen De Oliveira
I’m on: LinkedIn

I grew up on a farm and graduated from Federal University of Goias in central Brazil with a BS in Agronomy (2017) and MS in Plant Pathology from Federal University of Vicosa (2019). I have been working in the field of Nematology since 2011. In Brazil, I worked on bio-controls and genetic resistance against lesion nematode in soybean. In USA, I also conducted bio-control experiments at the University of Minnesota – Waseca, and at the University of Florida I explored molecular and morphological tools for nematode characterization. Currently, I am a PhD student at the University of Florida in the Entomology and Nematology department working on Nematode Biology and Management. I plan on pursuing a position that gives me the opportunity to connect science and farmers in order to help the development of sustainable and profitable food production.

David Moreira Calix, PhD studentDavidMoreira1000x1000

I am a PhD Student in Nematology and a Research Assistant at the Nematology Laboratory at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. Originally from Honduras, I received my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 2016 from the Pan American Agricultural School “El Zamorano”.

Currently my research as a PhD student is focused on the effect of novel nematicides on different trophic groups of nematodes both in the field and under in-vitro conditions.

Gabrieli Riva

I was born in Rio Grande Do Sul, a southern state in Brazil. Growing up in the Gabrielia Riva farm, I was always in contact with agriculture production. This experience inspired me to enroll the Agronomy BS degree at the University of Passo Fundo, where I graduated in 2020. Currently, I am a MS student at the University of Florida in the Entomology and Nematology department in charge of a Meloidogyne enterolobii project, conducing nematode survey and identification among South and Central Florida.



Chenzhao (Bonnie) Xie, MSc sdr
Lab Technician

I’m originally from China and received my BS & MSc there. I came to the US in 2008 and obtained a second MSc degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida in 2012. I joined the Nematology lab in March of 2017 and am happy to be learning about nematodes, which is new to me. This is a happy and friendly lab, I love it.

Justin CarterJustinC
Field Manager

I was born in Arizona, and have also lived in Okinawa, Japan and Guam, but Florida is my home. I graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s in General Business Administration in spring 2019. I previously worked for the Entomology lab here at GCREC from August 2012 until January 2018. I have been working in the Nematology lab since then. My goal actually is to work on becoming a personal trainer and I hope to own my own gym one day.

Past Personnel

  • Dr. Tristan Watson (current at LSU)
  • Mengyi Gu (current at FMC)
  • Marco Suarez
  • Dr. Churamani Khanal (current at Clemson)
  • Jacqueline Coburn (current at Florida Ag Research)
  • Marc Santos
  • Dr. Paul Dahlin
  • Homan Regmi (current at UF CREC)