Faculty Profiles

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Background & Experience

Selected Publications (Return to top)

Liu, Y, I de Bruijn, ALH Jack, K Drynan, AH van den Berg, E Thoen, V Sandoval-Sierra, I Skaar, P van West, J Dieguez-Uribeondo, M van der Voort, R Mendes, M Mazzola and JM Raaijmakers (2014, online first 27 March 2014) "Deciphering microbial landscapes of fish eggs to mitigate emerging diseases." ISME J. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2014.44

Chen, M-H, ALH Jack, IC McGuire, EB Nelson (2012) Seed-colonizing bacterial communities associated with the suppression of Pythium seedling disease in a municipal biosolids compost. Phytopathology 102(5) 478-489. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-08-11-0240-R

Jack, ALH, A Rangarajan, SW Culman, T Sooksa-Nguan and JE Thies (2011) "Choice of organic amendments in tomato transplants has lasting effects on bacterial rhizosphere communities and crop performance in the field." Applied Soil Ecology 48(1): 94-101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2011.01.003

Jack, ALH (2010) The suppression of plant pathogens by vermicomposts. in “Vermiculture Technology: Earthworms, Organic Wastes and Environmental Management” Edwards, CA, Arancon, NQ, and Sherman, RL eds. CRC Press Boca Raton, FL Pp. 165-181 http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781439809877

Jack, ALH and SJ Peters (2010) “A Sense of Communion” A Profile of Anu Rangarajan in “Democracy and Higher Education: Traditions and Stories of Civic Engagement” Peters, SJ Michigan State University Press, p. 291-311. http://msupress.msu.edu/bookTemplate.php?bookID=4059

Peters, SJ, DJ O’Connell, TR Alter, and ALH Jack eds. (2006) Catalyzing Change: Profiles of Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators from Greene, Tompkins, and Erie Counties, NY. Cornell University 190 pgs. http://srdc.msstate.edu/tide/files/resources/catalyzingchange-peters.pdf

Presentations (Return to top)


Soil Metagenomics (2013) Comparative metagenomics of disease suppressive soils. 2nd Thünen Symposium on Soil Metagenomics in Braunschweig, Germany December 11-13. (Presenting author with E Chapelle, K Siegel, V. Edel-Hermann, C Steinberg, P Lemanceau,JM Raaijmakers)

BAGECO (2013) The host microbiome and plant health: Seed colonizing microbes from disease suppressive vermicompost alter zoospore chemotaxis, encystment and germination of Pythium aphanidermatum. Bacterial Genetics and Genomics meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia June 9-13 (Poster with EB Nelson)

ISME (2010) International Society for Microbial Ecology meeting in Seattle, WA “Seed colonizing microbes alter zoospore chemotaxis and encystment of the oomycete plant pathogen Pythium aphanidermatum” (Poster with E. Nelson)

EEID (2010) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease international meeting, Cornell University “Seed colonizing microbes alter zoospore chemotaxis and encystment of the oomycete plant pathogen Pythium aphanidermatum” (Poster with E. Nelson)

APS (2008) American Phytopathological Society Minneapolis, MN “Modification of seed exudates by seed-colonizing microbes from vermicompost alters pre-infection behavior of Pythium aphanidermatumzoospores” (Talk, E. Nelson co-author)

SoilACE (2004) Soil and Compost Eco-biology 1st annual conference Leon, SPAIN: “Human pathogens in compost tea: development of a PCR-based assay for the detection of shiga-toxin producing human pathogens” & “Potting mix amendments for organic tomato production: Bacterial rhizosphere communities” (2 posters with J. Thies)


NOFA-NY (2012) Northeast Organic Research Symposium, Saratoga Springs, NY “Disease suppressive composts and liquid compost extracts: The importance of microbial ecology in product development and use” (Invited talk) http://youtu.be/wXyy3qaDmgY

Elzinga-Hoeksema (2011) Greenhouse business, Kalamazoo, MI “Suppression of Pythium aphanidermatum with vermicompost and non-aerated liquid vermicompost extract” (Invited greenhouse industry talk)

MOSES (2010) Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service 21st annual Organic Farming Conference, La Crosse, WI “Disease suppressive soils and composts: what does the science tell us?” (Invited talk with A. Stone, Oregon State University)

Ag Forum (2010) Cornell Cooperative Extension Suffolk County 29th annual Long Island Agricultural Forum, Riverhead, NY “Vermicompost use in greenhouse production: Nutrient management and disease suppression” (Invited talk)

NC State (2006,8,9) North Carolina State University Vermicomposting Workshop, Raleigh, NC “Vermicompost-mediated suppression of Pythium damping off” (Invited presentations)

Pen-Del IPM (2005) Pennsylvania – Delaware Integrated Pest Management: Soil Health Conference, Villanova University, PA “Compost and compost tea: the nuts and bolts of biological control” (Invited talk)

USCC (2004) Las Vegas, NV: “Microbial ecology of vermicompost and compost teas” (Compost industry talk)

Research (Return to top)

Allison's research focuses on understanding the role of organic amendments in sustainable soil management and specificially how the microbes present in organic amendments can suppress crop diseases.

  • The role of seed colonizing microbial communities in the suppression of infection by the oomycete plant pathogen, Pythium spp.
  • The development of Pythium suppressive non-aerated liquid vermicompost extracts
  • The impact of transplant media amendments on rhizosphere microbial communities in organic tomato production

In the field of Adult and Extension Education, Allison has worked to understand the role that cooperative extension educators play in community development and civic engagement using practitioner profiles created from transcribed interviews.

Awards, Grants, & Honors (Return to top)

2012 NSF International Research Fellowship Program Harnessing biodiversity for sustainable agriculture: The metagenomics of disease suppressive soils (ALH Jack) to work as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Jos Raaijmakers’ lab at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

2010 American Phytopathological Society (APS) Office of Public Relations and Outreach video contest, grand prize winner Vermicompost and Pythium suppression (ALH Jack, J Bonhotal, A Michel and P Wilde producers)

2008-2010 USDA SBIR Small Business Innovation Research Phase I & II (ALH Jack, EB Nelson, TE Herlihy) Development of plant protection products based on vermicomposted dairy manure In collaboration with RT Solutions, makers of Worm Power vermicompost

2007-2010 NYSTAR NY State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (ALH Jack, EB Nelson, TE Herlihy) matching funds for USDA SBIR project

2008 NYFVI New York Farm Viability Institute (ALH Jack, EB Nelson, A Rangarajan, C Nicholson, J Bonhotal) Potential use of vermicompost as a substitute for synthetic inputs to horticulture and nursery production 

2008 CU Center for Life Science Enterprise First prize poster at the Public Engagement and Science Communication event hosted by the Cornell Center for Life Science Enterprise (ALH Jack, TE Herlihy, EB Nelson) Developing plant protection products from vermicomposted dairy manure

2007-2008 OFRF Organic Farming Research Foundation (ALH Jack & EB Nelson) Suppression of Pythium damping off with compost and vermicompost

2007 OCIA Organic Crop Improvement Association – Student Research Scholarship to ALH Jack

2006 CALS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Andrew W. Mellon Student Research Grant to ALH Jack

2004-5 TSF Toward Sustainability Foundation: Research grant (JE Thies, A Rangarajan, AL Hornor, T Pilinaro [2005 only]) Evaluating impacts of organic transplant media on plant growth and root rhizosphere bacterial communities

2003-4 OFRF Organic Farming Research Foundation: Research grant (AL Hornor & JE Thies): Detecting and monitoring human pathogens in vermicompost and compost tea

Education (Return to top)

PhD Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

MS Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - Soil Science

BA Reed College, Portland, OR - Biology

Expertise (Return to top)

Spermosphere and rhizosphere microbial ecology

Plant Pathology

Soil Science

Disease suppressive soils and composts

Sustainable agriculture

Coverage in News & Media (Return to top)

Interviewed in: Cherney, M (2013) Society of the Quarter: Sustainable Agriculture Education Association. Journal of Agricultural and Food Information 14(2): 98-102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10496505.2013.776457

Interviewed in: Ungerman, G and Wear, S (2013) Respectful Revolution [documentary film project] Allison Jack – The Art and Science of Compost http://respectfulrevolution.org/#/road/videos/allison_jack_art_science_compost

Quoted in: Robbins, T (2013) Worms produce another kind of gold for growers. New York Times: Science Section. January 1 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/01/science/worms-produce-another-kind-of-gold-for-farmers.html

Quoted in: Munzer, A (2011) Worm compost can suppress plant disease, regulate nutrients, research finds. Cornell Chronicle Online. December 21 http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Dec11/Vermicompost.html

Brief television interview: Rochester PBS affiliate WXII’s “Innovation Trail” Seward, Z (November 9, 2010) Worm Power: High tech composting? http://www.innovationtrail.org/post/worm-power-high-tech-composting

Interviewed in: Jin, J (November 3, 2010) Earthworm compost prevents crop diseases. Cornell Daily Sun http://cornellsun.com/node/44518

Quoted in: Stinson, J (October 8, 2010) Business keeps worms “fat, dumb and happy” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Business section http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/businesskeepsworms.pdf

Interviewed for: Redwormcomposting.com by Christie, B (November 7, 2008) Interview with Allison Jack http://www.redwormcomposting.com/interviews/interview-with-allison-jack/


Academic Involvement at Prescott College (Return to top)


Areas of Study


Virtual Campus Tour

Prescott College Events

Oct 3
06:00 PM – Working With Our Hands: Artists' Opening Reception
Oct 9
05:00 PM – Working With Our Hands: Curator's Talk
Oct 9
07:00 PM – Screening of the Documentary Film 'DAMNATION'

See All Events >

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