Washington Luís da Silva

Washington Da Silva

Department of Plant Pathology and Ecology
Jenkins-Waggoner Laboratory, Office 105
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Voice: (203) 974-8546
Fax: (203) 974-8502
E-mail: Washington.daSilva@ct.gov
Twitter: https://twitter.com/daSilvaLab1


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



Cornell University                                                           Ph.D.   2018    Virology

Louisiana State University                                             M.Sc.   2013    Mycology and Bacteriology

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


Station Career:

Associate Agricultural Scientist: 2022-present

Assistant Agricultural Scientist II: 2018-2022


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. He also identified molecular markers, in the 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. His other research focus was to investigate the incidence, prevalence, and genetic diversity of grapevine viruses in the state of Connecticut. 


Current Research:

The top two priorities of his research program are to develop and improve molecular diagnostics for plant viruses and to develop virus control strategies with the ultimate goal of translating findings into plant virus disease management. He is currently investigating the potential of using nanoparticles as carriers of virus-derived dsRNA to control virus infections via RNA interference (RNAi). This same strategy is being tested, with collaborators from USA and Brazil, to control important fungal diseases of staple crops.


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 (for reprints, please contact Washington.daSilva@ct.gov):

    • Gomes, I. R. F., Silva, J. L. S., Costa, T. E., Pinto, P. S. L., da Silva, W. L., Ambrósio, M. M. Q., and Holanda, I. S. A. (2023). First Report of Cladosporium tenuissimum causing spot diseases on leaves and fruits of cucurbits in Brazil. Plant Disease. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-10-22-2388-PDN 

    • Borges, D. F., Nogueira, G. A., Cruz, G. A., Silva, S. G. A., da Silva, W., and Ambrósio, M. M. Q. (2023). Changes in soil microbiota induced by the use of commercial products and the incorporation of plant materials. Rev. Caatinga, Mossoró36(2), 300-309.

    • Almeida, N. G., Conrado, V. S. C., Freires, A. L. A., de Souza, J. J. F., Figueiredo, F. R. A., Barroso, K. A., Araújo, M. B. M., Nascimento, L. V., de Lima, J. S. S., Neto, F. B., da Silva, W., and Ambrósio, M. M. Q. (2022). Aggressivity of different Fusarium species causing fruit rot in melon in Brazil. Plant Disease. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-04-22-0728-SR 

    • Dumas, M., Borges, D. F., Priesing, S., Tippett, E., Ambrosio, M. M. Q., and da Silva, W. (2022). Gathered from the vine: a survey for seven grapevine viruses within New England vineyards. Plant Disease. 10.1094/PDIS-03-22-0668-SR 

    • Shidore, T., Zuverza-Mena, N., White, J. C., and da Silva, W. (2021). Nano-Enabled Delivery of RNA Molecules for Prolonged Antiviral Protection in Crop Plants: A Review. ACS Applied Nano Materials. DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.1c03512 

    • Farooq, T., Adeel, M., He, Z., Umar, M., Shakoor, N., da Silva, W., Elmer, W., White, J. C., and Rui, Y. (2021). Nanotechnology and Plant Viruses: An Emerging Disease Management Approach for Resistant Pathogens. ACS Nano. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c10910 

    • Preising, S., Borges, D. F., Ambrósio, M. M. Q., and da Silva, W. (2021). A Fig Deal: A Global Look on Fig Mosaic Disease and its Putative Associates. Plant Disease. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-06-20-1352-FE 

    • Shidore, T., Zuverza-Mena, N., and da Silva, W.  (2020). Small RNA profiling analysis of two recombinant strains of potato virus Y from infected tobacco plants. Virus Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.virusres.2020.198125

    • da Silva, W., Kutnjak, D., Xu, Y., Xu, Y., Giovannoni, J., Elena, S. F. and Gray, S. (2020). Transmission modes affect the population structure of potato virus Y in potato. PLOS Pathogens. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008608 

    • Borges, D. F., Preising, S., Ambrósio, M. M. Q., and da Silva, W. (2020). Detection of multiple grapevine viruses in New England vineyards. Crop Protection. DOI: 10.1016/j.cropro.2020.105143

    • da Silva W. L., Yang, K. T., Pettis, G. S., Clark, C. A.  2019. Characterization of Clostridium Isolates That Cause Flooding-Associated Soft Rot of Sweetpotato. Plant Disease. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-03-19-0548-RE

    • Xu, Y., da Silva, W., Qian, Y., and Gray, S. M. (2019). An aromatic amino acid and associated helix in the C-terminus of the potato leafroll virus minor capsid protein regulate systemic infection and symptom expression. PLOS Pathogens. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007451

    • Nascimento, P. G. M. L., Cruz, B. L. S., Dantas, A. M, M., Freitas, F. C. L., Ambrósio, M. M. Q., Júnior, R. S., and da Silva, W. (2018). Incidence of root rot of melon in different soil management practices. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. DOI: 10.1007/s10658-018-1488-6

    • Carley, C. S., Bethke, P., Coombs, J., Clough, M., da Silva, W., et al. (2018). Genetic Variance Partitioning and Genome-Wide Prediction with Allele Dosage Information in Autotetraploid Potato. Genetics. DOI: 10.1534/genetics.118.300685

    • da Silva, W., Ingram, J., Hackett, C., Douches, D., De Jong, W., and Gray, S. (2017). Mapping Loci that Control Tuber and Foliar Symptoms Caused by PVY in Autotetraploid Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.).  G3 - Genes | Genomes | Genetics. DOI: 10.1534/g3.117.300264

    • Cui, R., Zhang, L., Chen, Y., Huang, W., Fan, C., Wu, Q., Peng, D., da Silva, W., and Sun, X. (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. DOI: 10.1016/j.exppara.2017.01.008

    • Nascimento, K. J. T., Araujo, L., Resende, R. S., Schurt, D. A., da Silva, W. L., and Rodrigues, F. A. (2016). Silicon, acibenzolar-S-methyl and potassium phosphite in the control of brown spot in rice. Bragantia. DOI: 10.1590/1678-4499.281

    • da Silva, W. L., Cruz, M. F. A., Fortunato, A. A., and Rodrigues, F. A. (2015). Histochemical aspects of wheat resistance to leaf blast mediated by silicon. Scientia Agricola. DOI: 10.1590/0103-9016-2014-0221

    • Fortunato, A. A., da Silva, W. L., andRodrigues, 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. DOI: 10.1094/PHYTO-07-13-0203-R

    • Clark, C. A., da Silva, W. L., Arancibia, R. A., Main, J. L., Schultheis, J. R. van-Esbroeck, Z. P., Jiang, C., and Smith, J. (2013). Incidence of End Rots and Internal Necrosis in Sweetpotato is Affected by Cultivar, Curing, and Ethephon Defoliation. HortTechnology. http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/23/6/886.full

    • da Silva, W. L., and Clark, C. A. (2013). Infection of sweetpotato by Fusarium solani and Macrophomina phaseolina prior to harvest. Plant Dis. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-05-13-0514-RE

    • da Silva, W. L., and Singh, R. (2012). First report of Alternaria alternata causing leaf spot on Aloe vera in Louisiana. Plant Dis. DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-04-12-0343-PDN

    • da Silva, W. L., and 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. DOI: 10.1017/S0266467408005464

    • 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. DOI: 10.1590/S0100-67622007000100018