Jump to menu
DASNR logo

Entomology and Plant Pathology

Dr. Francisco M. Ochoa Corona, Professor. NIMFFAB. Thomas E. Berry Faculty Fellow 2015-2017

Ochoa Corona 2014 Ph.D. Plant Pathology , University of Florida, Gainesville.

M.S. Major in Plant Protection, Universidad Central de Venezuela 
(University of Central Venezuela), Venezuela.

Agriculture Engineer, Major in Agriculture,
Universidad del Zulia (University of Zulia), Venezuela.


Room/Lab 130F HBRC


Biographic sketch:

Dr Francisco M. Ochoa Corona is an Professor at the National Institute for Microbial Forensics & Food and Agricultural Biosecurity (NIMFFAB), and Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University since August 2008. Dr. Ochoa Corona is a forensic plant pathologist, specializes in developing and delivering reference diagnostics for exotic, naturalized, and indigenous plant viruses and other phytopathogens of relevance to agricultural biosecurity and microbial forensics. His work is applicable to plant pathogens, and more recently to waterborne plant viruses, insects that can be intercepted at borders, or detected by general surveillance of field settings or within transitional facilities. Ochoa Corona's research in plant pathology contributes scientific input to regulatory officials regarding plant health emergencies and focuses on targeted aspects of forensic plant pathology that are relevant to agricultural biosecurity in Oklahoma, the southern plains, the United States and other regions of the world such as the South Pacific and Central and South America. Dr Ochoa Corona joined OSU from the Investigation and Diagnostic Centre (IDC) at Biosecurity New Zealand (BNZ), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), where he was Principal Adviser Virology.




- Spring 2021 -

'Global Issues in Agricultural Biosecurity and Forensics'

PLP/ENTO/ 2143

3 credits hours, No Pre-requisites
We all are interconnected through biosecurity, all students are welcome!
Lectures are Tuesdays & Thursdays: 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Room: 216 NRC 

 ENTO/PLP 2143 is offered the spring of odd years only 

Would you like to know about Biosecurity, biosafety, bioterrorism, biowarfare, biocrimes, microbial forensics, emerging organisms, invasive species, food safety, food biosecurity, quarantine, responses, surveillance, detection, diagnostics, and how all are related with elements of a biosecurity system and how biosecurity and microbial forensics integrate to science, to Ag specialties, animal and human health, economics, justice and defense? This is a new attractive, and interesting professional option that complement any major and/or prepare for a career in biosecurity and microbial forensics, related research, science or roles in biosecurity agencies. This course meet the needs of a new group of students seeking for a component of biosecurity and/or microbial forensics in their major and/or carrer. ENTO/PLP 2143 introduces concepts and topics regading biosecurity, forensics, research, consultancy, and offers a global biosecurity vision interconnecting roles of different careers with biosecurity. Students learn from class work, readings, reporting, study cases of global significance including pathogenic microorganisms, insects and weeds, guest experts, and a final comprehensive simulation exercise. This new course enhances the Ag and Forensics science programs and offers a new educational perspective not covered by current Ag and Forensics science currilulums.


The way I visualize and teach Biosecurity in ENTO/PLP 2143 . (Ochoa-Corona, F.M. 2011. Australasian Plant Pathol. 40:335-338). Interacting elements of a biosecurity system showing natural and globalized anthropogenic pathways through which exotics are introduced into a biological system, region or country. This diagram also shows scientific output moving toward policy and biosafety systems from scientific disciplines to encompass science policy and other instruments and activities that allow biosecurity to react, remediate and manage risks through deliverables to different sectors of the society.

Teaching Phylosophy

I follow the Coach:Athlete model which is more appealing to me than the Teacher:Student model. There is nothing wrong with the Teacher:Student model, but I believe the Coach:Athlete fit better my purposes and goals. The Teacher:Student is a nice classic. The teacher teach and the student listen and study, teacher and students play their roles interacting around a given subject. The communication tends to be in a single direction, although not always. The 'status quo' includes students have to make merits to pass. Although matter of controversy, some think the harder the course the better, and opinions are frequently divided about the learning outcome. The Coach:Athlete model has an innovative perspective, both coach and athletes interact around the subject with a common goal, winning! The victory (getting a 'A') is equally shared. The communication is commonly bidirectional. The hard work become a standard (like an Olympic qualifying threshold to beat), and the coach will do the best in his capacity to mentor and 'inspire' the team (the whole class) to win (knowledge = 'A'). At the end the athlete get the medal and the coach its recognition. Got the message? Don't think it twice come on board to win and learn!


"Great class! Fantastic for anyone interested in learning more about biosecurity, diagnostic technology, and government quarantine policies. Topics include: Bioterrorism, International Trade, Insect Vectors and Plant Diseases, Quarantine and Surveillance, Diagnostics, and so much more! Learn more from a professor that has worked in this area!"

Kelsy Thompson

"Global Issues in Agricultural Biosecurity and Forensics" really opened my eyes to a whole new world of cutting edge research and relevance to government policies. This class covers everything you will need to know from global government Biosecurity to the diagnostic labs that first discovers the problem. Dr. Corona does a wonderful job at tracing the processes and mechanics of each step of the response, while making it fun and relevant to the students.

Samantha Sanders

2010-ENTO/PLP 2143 program. Click here to see the last spring course program.


Research interest:

The research in our laboratory focuses on inventing, innovating and/or improving tools for collection of microbial specimens applicable in biosecurity and microbial forensics. We also center our attention upon the development and/or improvement of detection-discrimination and/or diagnostics procedures for microbes and insects. Our research also targets the identification of molecular landmarks and signatures of value for detection, and the implication of this genetic data on taxonomical relationships, such as host-pathogen associations. Our research is applied to regional pests, regulated organisms, select agents or high consequence microorganisms. Mi research program is also interested in decision support tools for prioritization, emergency management, and prediction of biosecurity threats. We are also interested in monitoring dynamics of relevant plant pathogens, tracking their pathways, global dispersal routes, and delimiting the bio-geographic distribution.

Research Phylosophy

The way I understand and teach research defines "Invention as the first ocurrence of an idea for a new product or process, while innovation is the first attempt to carry it out into practice" (Jan Fagerberg, Innovation: A Guide to the Literature": "The Many Guises of Innovation: What we have learnt and where we are heading", Ottawa, October 23-24.2003). Therefore innovation is not inventing, both are dynamic, time lapsed, and complementing processes. Invention is the idea and innovation is the realization of an invention. In practice my research program invent to solve own or given problems and innovate own or given ideas. The assumption of this concepts makes my team an effective and flexible science provider. Similarly, I believe extraordinary ideas are out of the ordinary and so what may apparently look as a conventional, extravagant or a silly idea is never put away inmediatly but given equal considerarion and analysis. As a consequence we prioritize ideas, some are innovated and some other archived, 'further munched' then innovated at the right time.

Research Posters

Click on the following links to check some of our recent research posters.


  • OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (DASNR) 
  • OSU Office of the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer 
  • Sitlington Enriched Graduate Scholarships 
  • OSU Multispectral Lab - D.O.D.

Laboratory members:



Left to right: Francisco M. Ochoa Corona, Ian Moncrief, Jon Daniels, Sharon Andreason, Donna Caasi, Kerstien McMurl, and Arif Mohammad.

Arif, Mohammad. Ph.D.
Arif, Mohammad is original of Agra, India and is conducting a Post Doctoral research at the Ag Biosecurity and Forensic Laboratory. Dr. Arif obtained his Bachelor degree in Agriculture and Master degree in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology from G. B. Plant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar. During his master program, he worked on population genetics of Fusarium sp. associate with malformation disease in mango. He finished his Ph.D. in Biosciences at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. His doctoral research focused on molecular marker assisted screening for disease susceptibility in shisham seeds and pathogenic variability in Fusarium solani. He was nominated for three different young scientist and M. J. Narsimhan merit academic awards for his doctoral research. He was recipient of a merit scholarship during master and fellowship doctoral program from the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India. He also worked for a short period of time as Research Associate at the Central Rice Research Institute in allele mining and expression profiling of resistance -and avirulence- genes of the Rice-Blast pathosystem seeking the development of race non-specific disease resistance. During his Post doctoral research Dr. Arif is developing novel detection-discrimination methods based on, real time PCR and multiplex PCR. Arif also conducts research on thermodynamic parameters of 5'A/T rich non complementary primer extensions seeking increasing sensitivity of traditional assays. Dr. Arif share part of his appointment at the OSU, EPP, Insect Vectors of Pathogens lab lead by Dr Astri Wayadande. Dr. Arif joined NIMFFAB from the OSU, EPP, Soilborne Plant Pathology Laboratory lead by Dr. Carla Garzon where he conducted studies in population genetics and molecular plant - microbe interaction.

Caasi, Donna. M.S.
Donna Ria J. Caasi is original of the Republic of the Philippines and is following a doctoral program at the Ag Biosecurity and Forensic Laboratory. Donna obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a Major in Plant Pathology from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna, and worked on biological control of bacterial wilt-caused by Ralstonia solanacearum using Streptomycetes during her undergraduate thesis. After finishing college she worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines, Los Baños, and completed two years of teaching experience in two state universities in the Philippines prior joining OSU. She finished a M.S. Plant and Soil Sciences at OSU. Her M.S. research focused on fecal bacterial detection in water and sediments. During her doctoral research Donna assesed new biomaterials, contributed innovating an Elution Independent Collection Device and a new generation of artificial positive controls. She is also developing detection procedures for plant viruses, bacterias and waterborne microorganisms. Donna is an outstanding recipient of a Sitlington Enriched Graduate Scholarship.

Daniels, Jon. B.S.
Jon Michael Daniels is an Oklahoma native who served four years in the United States Marines and during his service received a Good Conduct Medal for acting honorably. Jon obtained his Bachelor of Science in Medical Molecular studies at Rogers State University, where he graduated Cum Laude and was selected by the Department of Biology faculty as the Outstanding Graduate for 2009-2010. During his undergraduate studies, Jon led independent research that investigated the use of bacteriophages as a means to combat dental biofilm and disease. Jon also gained experience in both diagnostics and treatment of patients with sleeping disorders. Jon is bringing a dynamic military and scientific perspective to our team. He has been very active participating in the development of a massive parallel sequencing system for plant bacteria that will contribute in the detection and diagnostics of suspicious specimens of relevance for agricultural biosecurity and microbial forensics. Jon is also developing PCR detection methods for bacteria and novel Self Organizing Maps (SOM) for biosecurity and microbial forensics applications.

McMurl, Kerstien
Kerstien McMurl is from Broken Bow, Oklahoma, where he attended Broken Bow High School. Kerstien came to OSU in late 2007 and will be graduating in the spring of 2012. Kerstien Bachelors of Science is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Kerstien attended ENTO/PLP2143 (Ag biosecurity & Forensics) and got motivated to explore this field. Kerstien is still studying and considering other multiple options in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and deciding what to do career-wise. Kerstien started a summer research project and enjoying his research contribution through NIMFFAB. His research project explores molecular landmarks and their thermodynamic characteristics aiming developing a broad detection method for viruses in the genus Nepovirus from a novel perspective.

Graduate students and professional interactions

Additional graduate students within NIMFFAB and the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department I interact and cooperate are:

  • Mindy James, DHS project/Dr. Jaqueline Fletcher 
  • Ian Moncrief, DHS project/ Dr. Jaqueline Fletcher 
  • Tony Stobbe, MPS/USDA, CSREES/ Dr. Ulrich Melcher 
  • Sharon Andreason, Whitefly biodiversity/USDA, NNF/Dr. Astri Wayadande 
  • Kelsey Paras, Mosquito-borne pathogens/Michael Reiskind 
  • Andres Espindola, MPS/USDA, CSREES/ Dr. Carla Garzon


  • Chenxing, Niu, Transport of proteins in plants/ Dr .Verchot 
  • Stephany Rogers, WSMV/ Dr. Jaqueline Fletcher 
  • TeeCee West, WSMV-SNPs/ Dr. Ulrich Melcher 
  • Sophia Kamenidou, FBI/Rosetta Stone/ Dr. Jaqueline Fletcher 
  • Nalinda Wasala, Tick-Host interaction project/ Dr. Deborah Jaworski


The NIMFFAB Ag Biosecurity and Forensic Laboratory maintain contact and exchange with:

  • Scientists at the Investigation and Diagnostic Centre (IDC), Biosecurity New Zealand (BNZ), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) located in Auckland, New Zealand. 
  • Dr Louise Winder from the Biosecurity Group, Biocontrol, Biosecurity and Bioprocessing Section of AgResearch Limited, Lincoln, New Zealand and M.Sc. Sandra Visnovsky from Plant & food Research, Environmental Microbiology, Christchurch , New Zealand. 
  • Drs Stanley Bellgard and Sarah Dodd from Landcare Research, Auckland, New Zealand, on the biosecurity aspects of using viruses for the manufacture of Bioherbicides as an innovative, inundative biocontrol option to manage forest weeds. 
  • Drs Rosa la Rosa and Gabriella Cirvilieri from Università degli Studi di Catania, Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agroalimentari e Ambientali, former DISTEF, Sicily, Italy. 

Visitors and former members

Click here to check our distinguished visitors.

Click here to check our distinguished former Team Members.


Click here for a complete PDF list of my publications.


Document Actions