Perspectives Online

Moyer receives research and education award

Dr. James Moyer, who researches viruses affecting floral and vegetable crops, received the 2007 SAF Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education in September.
Photo by Herman Lankford

Dr. James W. Moyer, head of N.C. State University’s Department of Plant Pathology, received the 2007 Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education in September during the Society of American Florists’ 123rd annual convention in Palm Springs, Calif.

The Alex Laurie Award, established in 1948, is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to research and education in the floriculture industry. The award is named for Alex Laurie, who, throughout a career that spanned more than 60 years, laid the groundwork for research that revolutionized the floriculture industry and who left a lineage of students, teachers and researchers continuing to provide the information necessary to ensure the industry’s future.

Active in both teaching and research on viruses affecting floral and vegetable crops, Moyer’s expertise is recognized and relied upon worldwide. In the 1980s, Moyer discovered the existence of a new virus, the impatiens necrotic tospovirus (INSV), which others had assumed to be merely a strain of the tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV).

The INSV became extraordinarily important to the floriculture industry because it is spread by the difficult-to-manage Western flower thrips.

Moyer’s work on the biology of INSV supplied research that was the basis for developing test kits industry members use to diagnose INSV. He has continued to investigate both INSV and TSWV, conducting research to help solve growers’ problems, and is currently investigating ways that viruses are able to adapt to new hosts and to overcome resistance in plants.

— Natalie Hampton