Lab Personnel


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.

Google Scholar

Joe Noling                                                                           


As a now retired research nematologist and extension specialist (2018), Dr. Noling is nationally and internationally recognized for his expertise in the diagnosis and management of economically important nematode problems of fruit and vegetable crops. He has authored or coauthored many publications, delivered many presentations, and received many awards for his contributions to pest management research and extension programs. His current research interests still include remote sensing, crop loss assessment, and characterizing the temporal and spatial distribution of nematodes and soil fumigants in soil, and developing new fumigant application technologies which enhance fumigant efficacy and consistency utilizing a vertical management zone approach.

The main goal of his current research at GCREC is to evaluate the suitability of drip applying a water soluble, nonadsorptive chemical tracer to soil to serve as a proxy to demonstrate pesticide and nutrient transport in the waterfront within a Florida fine sandy soil. With a number of new nonfumigant nematicides entering the marketplace (Velum, Majestene, Dazitol, and NematKill), soil movement and distribution data relating the impacts of extending the injection time and of subsequent impacts of sequential irrigation cycles on continued movement and redistribution within the raised plant bed is needed to formalize application and irrigation recommendations. The Probinator, a hydraulically operated deep soil probe is being used to study the movement and spatial distribution of the chemical tracer (sodium bromide as a surrogate for a nonfumigant nematicide) from their points of drip emission, and to demonstrate whether limited outward radial expansion of the tracer from the drip emitter might identify a component cause of treatment inconsistency.  He is hoping that the results from these studies will provide the foundation for developing irrigation schedules, which maximize pest exposure, and efficacy with chemigated soil applied chemicals.

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.

Google Scholar

Biological Scientist III

Hung Bui, Biological Scientist III                            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 Crop Sciences with the specialization in Nematology in May 2019 and then joined the Department of Nematology, the University of California, Riverside as a Staff Research Associate I at Kearney Agricultural Research and Education Center. From January 2020 – October 2021, I was working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Florida GCREC, Wimauma in the Nematology laboratory. Since November 2021, I become a Biological Scientist III in this 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.

Google Scholar

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.

Google Scholar 

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 Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation for Management of Plant-Parasitic Nematodes on High and Low Input Cropping Systems (Florida & Honduras).

Gabrieli Riva, MSc. student

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.



Laura Mayorga, MS student

Laura 1I am originally from Bogota, Colombia, where I did my Bachelor’s in Agronomy engineering. During that time, I worked with cyst nematodes in potatoes and root-knot in Ornamentals. Currently, I am doing a master’s degree at the University of Florida. My project is focused on the comparison of two strains of the fungus Purpureocillium lilacinum, and its effect against Meloidogyne enterolobii


Chenzhao (Bonnie) Xie, MSc – Biological Scientist IIsdr
Lab Manager

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 Carter, BSc – Biological Scientist IIJustinC
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 (currently Asst. Prof. at LSU-USA)
  • Dr. Mengyi Gu (currently PI in insecticide and nematicide discovery group at FMC Corporation-USA)
  • Dr. Churamani Khanal (currently Asst. Prof. at Clemson University-USA)
  • Jacqueline Coburn (currently Field Trial Coordinator and Nematologist at Florida Ag Research-USA)
  • Dr. Paul Dahlin (currently at the National Competence Centre for Nematology at Agroscope-Switzerland)
  • Dr. Homan Regmi (currently Postdoc Research Associate at UF CREC-USA)