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Washington Luís da Silva

Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
P.O. Box 1106
New Haven, CT 06504-1106
Voice: (203) 974-8546


Dr. da Silva is a plant virologist with expertise in diagnoses, bioinformatics, and molecular biology.  He uses state of the art technologies (e.g., high throughput sequencing) to study the biology and ecology of viruses infecting fruit crops.


Cornell University                                                       Ph.D.   2018    Plant Pathology

Louisiana State University                                           M.Sc.   2013    Plant Health

Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Brazil)                        B.Sc.   2010    Agronomy Engineering

Station Career:

Assistant Agricultural Scientist II, Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology 2018-present

Past research:
Dr. da Silva worked on Potato virus Y (PVY), the major virus pathogen of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.).  He investigated the changes in the genetic diversity structure of PVY populations introduced during vertical and horizontal transmission of the virus.  His other research focus was to identify molecular markers in potato genome that were linked to genes correlated with the expression of potato tuber necrotic ringspot disease (PTNRD), a tuber deformity associated with infections by necrotic strains of PVY.

Current research:
The top two priorities of his research program are to develop and improve molecular diagnostics for plant viruses and to investigate plant-virus-vector interactions with the ultimate goal of translating findings into virus disease management.  He is currently investigating the incidence, prevalence, and genetic diversity of grapevine viruses in the state of Connecticut.

Outreach Focus:

Outreach activities in the da Silva Lab are designed to reach all segments (i.e., growers, lawmakers, extension agents, and consumers) needed to effectively implement a virus disease management plan in Connecticut. The goal is to develop a long-term disease management plan that will focus on three major points: 1) create awareness among growers of the significant impact of viruses on their production, 2) mitigate crop damages based on preventing the introduction and spread of viruses and vectors, and 3) use plant disease integrated management strategies that are economically viable and sustainable within the constraints of Connecticut agricultural systems.

Selected publications available from author, 

    • Paula G. M. L. Nascimento, Beatriz L. S. Cruz. Andrea M, M. Dantas. Francisco C. L. Freitas, Márcia M. Q. Ambrósio, Rui S. Júnior, Washington Luis da Silva.  2018. Incidence of root rot of melon in different soil management practices.  Eur J Plant Pathol.
    • Cari Schmitz Carley, Paul Bethke, Joseph Coombs, Mark Clough, Washington da Silva, et al.  2018. Genetic Variance Partitioning and Genome-Wide Prediction with Allele Dosage Information in Autotetraploid Potato. Genetics. vol. 209 no. 1 77-87.
    • Washington da Silva, Jason Ingram, Christine Hackett, David Douches, Walter De Jong, and Stewart Gray.  2017. Mapping Loci that Control Tuber and Foliar Symptoms Caused by PVY in Autotetraploid Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.).  G3 - Genes | Genomes |Genetics – Vol. 7, pages 3587- 3595. DOI:
    • Ruqiang Cui, Lei Zhang, Yuyan Chen, Wenkun Huang, Chengming Fan, Qingsong Wu, Deliang Peng, Washington da Silva, Xiaotang Sun.  2017.  Expression and evolutionary analyses of three acetylcholinesterase genes (Mi-ace-1, Mi-ace-2, Mi-ace-3) in the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita.  Experimental Parasitology. Vol. 176, pages 75-81. DOI:
    • Nascimento, K. J. T., Araujo, L., Resende, R. S., Schurt, D. A., da Silva, W. L., Rodrigues, F. A. 2016. Silicon, acibenzolar-S-methyl and potassium phosphite in the control of brown spot in rice. Bragantia vol. 75 no. 2.  DOI:
    • da Silva, W. L., Cruz, M. F. A., Fortunato, A. A., Rodrigues, F. A. 2015.  Histochemical aspects of wheat resistance to leaf blast mediated by silicon.  Scientia Agricola. 73:322-327.  DOI:
    • Fortunato, A. A., da Silva, W. L., Rodrigues, F. A. 2014.  Phenylpropanoid Pathway is Potentiated by Silicon in the Roots of Banana Plants During the Infection Process of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense. Phytopathology 104:597-603.  DOI:
    • Clark, C. A., da Silva, W. L., Arancibia, R. A., Main, J. L., Schultheis, J. R. van-Esbroeck, Z. P., Jiang, C., Smith, J. 2013.  Incidence of End Rots and Internal Necrosis in Sweetpotato is Affected by Cultivar, Curing, and Ethephon Defoliation. HortTechnology 23:886-897.
    • da Silva, W. L., Schoereder, J. H. 2008.  Leaf-Cutting Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Soil Classes: Preference, Survival and Nest Density. Sociobiology 52 (2): 403-415.
    • Sousa-Souto, L., Schoereder, J. H., Schaefer, C. E. G. R., da Silva, W. L. 2008.  Ant nests and soil nutrient availability: the negative impact of fire. Journal of Tropical Ecology 24:639–646.  DOI:
    • Sousa-Souto, L., Guerra, M. B. B., Schoereder, J. H., Schaefer, C. E. G. R., da Silva, W. L. 2007.  Determination of the conversion factor in colonies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and its relationship with the quality of harvested leaf substrate. R. Árvore, Viçosa-MG, v.31, n.1, p.163-166.  DOI: