Dr. Harvinder S. Bennypaul, PhD
Conduct research on etiology, epidemiology, taxonomy, diagnostics and genetic diversity of plant pathogens like viruses, viroids, virus-like diseases, and nematodes to support CFIA's Plant Health mandate
Current research and/or projects
1. Evaluation of temporal and spatial distribution of the regulated pathogen, Candidatus Phytoplasma rubi, in Rubus spp. to choose the best time and sampling matrix for its sensitive and reliable detection.
2. Evaluation of MinION sequencing platform for rapid and cost-effective detection and identification of tree fruit viruses.
3. Evaluation of Next generation Sequencing (NGS) for multi-locus based detection and identification of regulated phytoplasma species.
Research and/or project statements
- Developed real-time assay for the detection and identification of Grapevine Leafroll-associated virus 7 (GLRaV-7).
- Developed real-time assay for the detection and identification of Rubus Stunt Phytoplasma, Candidatus Phytoplasms rubi.
- Developed high-throughput SNP-based genotyping techniques for true-to-type check for sweet cherry (Prunus avium).
- Developed and validated a rapid and reliable multiplex qPCR for detection of stem and bulb nematode, Ditylenchus dipsaci, Ditylenchus weischeri, and potato rot nematode D. destructor.
- Investigated diversity of Wheat streak Mosaic virus in southern Alberta showing occurrence of various North American and European isolates of this virus in the surveyed area.
- Identified two new weeds hosts of Wheat streak Mosaic virus in southern Alberta, Canada.
- Detected and identified two important emerging cereal viruses (Triticum Mosaic virus and High Plain virus) in Canada by genomic analysis.
- Developed of a quicker method for extraction of Ditylenchus dipsaci from pulse seeds.
- Pioneered optimization of Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) tool for functional genomics studies in reproductive and root tissues of wheat and showed transmission of silencing phenomenon over generations.
- Played a significant role in cloning of most important gene in wheat, the Ph1 gene
Professional activities / interests
- Editor of Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection
- Editor of New Disease Reports, British Society of Plant Pathology
- Reviewer of manuscripts for journals: Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture, Journal of Nematology, Journal of Plant Breeding, Functional and Integrative Genomics, Turkish Journal of Biology, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection.
- Member, Canada's Mirror Committee MC/ISO/TC 34/SC 16 - Horizontal methods for molecular biomarker analysis (2017 – Present)
- Member, Diagnostic Committee, American Phytopathology Society (2016 – Present)
- Chair, International Quadrilateral Working Group on Diagnostic Tools (2014)
- Co-Chair/Canadian Chair, International Quadrilateral Working Group on Diagnostic Tools (2013)
Education and awards
PhD (Molecular Plant Pathology)
MSc (Plant Pathology)
- 2015 Nominated for CFIA’s President’s National Award
- 2013 Nominated for CFIA’s President’s National Award for Handling Potato Wart Crisis
- 2010 CFIA’s President’s National Award for excellence in service delivery
- Roscoe and Cox Scholarship in Crop Science 2004-2005, WSU
- Lindhal Memorial Scholarship in Wheat Diseases 2004-2005, WSU
- Roscoe and Cox Scholarship in Crop Science 2003-2004, WSU
- Roscoe and Cox Scholarship in Crop Science 2002-2003, WSU
- Othmer Graduate Fellowship for recruiting exceptional scholars at UNL
- Charles C. Cooper/ Emma I. Sharpless Fellowship at UNL
- University Merit Certificate for maintaining highest grade point average in plant pathology department for M.Sc. degree
1. Bennypaul, H. S., Abdullahi, I., Harding, M.W., and Aboukhaddour, R. (2021) First report of Triticum mosaic virus infecting wheat in Canada. Journal of Plant Pathology.
2. Harvinder Bennypaul and Upinder Gill (2020) Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV)-based virus-induced gene silencing to functionally characterize genes in wheat and barley (invited book chapter)
3. Abdullahi, I., Bennypaul, H. S., Harding, M.W., and Aboukhaddour, R. (2020) First report of High Plains wheat mosaic emaravirus infecting foxtail barley and wheat in Canada. Plant Disease: https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-04-20-0872-PDN
4. Bennypaul, H. S., Abdullahi, I., Harding, M.W., and Aboukhaddour, R. Genetic diversity of Wheat streak mosaic virus in the wheat growing regions of Western Canada (2020). Annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society, August 10-14, 2020 Denver, Colorado, USA. ID: 16570 (Abstr).
5. Bennypaul, H. S. (2020) Viral Diseases of wheat: Diseases of Field Crops in Canada. Canadian Phytopathological Society (invited book chapter).
6. Bennypaul, H. S., Abdullahi, I., Harding, M.W., and Aboukhaddour, R. (2019) First detection of European isolates of Wheat streak mosaic virus in Canada. Plant Disease, 103: 6, 1442-1442.
7. Bennypaul, H. S., Abdullahi, I., Harding, M.W., and Neeser, C. (2019) First detection of Wheat streak mosaic virus in two perennial weed species, Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn. and Hordeum jubatum subsp. intermedium Bowden, in Canada. Plant Disease 2019 103:6, 1441-1441.
8. Harding, M.W., Chatterton, S., Aboukhaddour, R., Bennypaul, H., Strelkov, S. E., and Grafenhan, T. (2019). Disease trends in wheat, canola and pea in Alberta from 2015 to 2018. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, https://doi.org/10.1080/07060661.2019.1583477
9. Harding, M. W., Bennypaul, H., Aboukhaddour, H. R., Graf, R.J., Derksen, H., Ziesman, B. and J. Feng, J. (2019) Wheat streak mosaic virus on the Canadian Prairies – disease update. Submitted: Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology.
10. Bennypaul, H. S., Abdullahi, I., Harding, M.W., and Aboukhaddour, R. (2019) First report of Triticum mosaic virus in Canada (in preparation).
11. Levy, L., Shiel, P., Dennis, G., Levesque, A., Clover, G., Bennypaul, H., Barr, N., Roda, A., Young, R., Pazinski, J. and Moran, J. (2014) Molecular diagnostic techniques and biotechnology in plant biosecurity. In: Gordon, G. and McKirdy, S. Eds. The Handbook of Plant Biosecurity: Principles and Practices for the identification, containment and control of organisms that threatens agriculture and the environment globally: Springer, pp. 375-416
12. Bhullar, R., Nagarajan, R., Bennypaul, H. S., Sidhu, G. K., Sidhu, G., Rustgi, S., Wettstein, D. V. and Gill, K.S. 2014 Silencing of a metaphase I-specific gene results in a phenotype similar to that of the Pairing homeologous 1 (Ph1) gene mutations. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences U S A; 111(39):14187-92.
13. Bennypaul, H. S., Mutti, J. S., Rustgi, S., Kumar, N., Okubara, P. and Gill, K. S. 2012. Virus-induced gene silencing for functional analysis of genes expressing in various wheat tissues. Functional and Integrative Genomics 2012: 12(1): 143-156.