Department of Entomology
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Voice: (203) 974-8474 Fax: (203) 974-8502

Dr. Smith has expertise in diseases of landscape plants, bedding plants, and invasive insects. She has conducted research on biological control of certain vegetable diseases, and has described and documented the occurrence of tomato powdery mildew in Connecticut. She has experience in state and federal regulations concerning plants, plant pathogens, exotic insects, and export issues.


B.S. Ohio Northern University (1981); Biology and Chemistry
M.S. The Ohio State University (1983); Plant Pathology
Ph.D. North Carolina State University (1987); Plant Pathology and Soil Science
MBA University of New Haven (1998); The Executive Program


Station Career:

State Entomologist: 2022-present

Agricultural Scientist: 2022-present

Acting Chief Scientist/Department Head: March-May 2024 

Associate Agricultural Scientist: 2014-2022

Deputy State Entomologist: 2003-2022

Assistant Agricultural Scientist II: 1990-2003


Past Research:
Dr. Smith is a plant pathologist by training and has experience in the detection and diagnosis of diseases of ornamental plants. In addition, she has considerable experience at the state and national level concerning policy decisions on regulated pests and plant diseases. Public outreach for reporting of invasive pests and diseases has resulted in increased stakeholder interest and rapid response to potential outbreaks.


Current Research:
Dr. Smith is involved in survey and inspection for exotic pests and diseases, including boxwood blight, Asian longhorned beetle, Phytophthora ramorum, and spotted lanternfly. She is past-President of the Eastern Plant Board and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Plant Board. She has served on numerous National Plant Board committees and cooperates with USDA-APHIS-Plant Protection and Quarantine and with the US Forest Service.


Selected publications available from author,

  • Smith, V. L. 2013. Winter Moth: A New Survey Target. The Connecticut Arborist XXIV:1-3.
  • Smith, V. L. 2012. Aerial Survey: an Assessment of Forest Health. The Connecticut Arborist XXIII:1-3.
  • Smith, V. L. 2011. TCD: The Latest Addition to the Alphabet Soup. The Connecticut Arborist XXII:1-4.
  • Smith, V. L. 2010. Chrysanthemum Diseases 101: An Inspector’s Review. Horticultural Inspection Society Spring 2010 Newsletter.
  • Smith, V. L. 2010. The North East Forest Pest Survey and Outreach Project: Working Together to Find Forest Pests. The Connecticut Arborist XXI:1-4.
  • Smith, V. L. 2009. Natural Enemies: The Best Hope for Control of Exotic Pests of the North East Forests. Newsletter of the CT Botanical Society. 2009.
  • Smith, V. L. 2009. Forest Health Outlook for 2009: Some New Threats and the Usual Suspects. The Connecticut Arborist XX:1-4.
  • Smith, V. L. 1996. Fungistatic effects of insecticidal soap in vitro and prevention of damping off of snap bean. Phytopathology 86:S29-S30.
  • Smith, V. L. 1996. Enhancement of snap bean emergence by Gliocladium virens. HortScience 31:984-985.
  • Smith, V. L. 1994. Suppression of Phytophthora cactorum in vitro by volatiles from canola residues. Phytopathology 84:1138.
  • Smith, V. L. 1994. First report of anthracnose caused by Discula destructiva on Cornus florida X kousa hybrid dogwood. Plant Dis. 78:100.
  • Smith, V. L. 1993. Canker of Japanese maple caused by Colletotrichum acutatum. Plant Dis. 77:197-198.