Design, Formulation, Backstopping and Appraisal of Plant Protection Projects

I served as a team member in many projects within and outside the region:
• Lentil and Lathyrus in the Cropping system of Nepal, ACIAR- Australia/ICARDA
• Coordinated Improvement Program for Australian Lentil (CIPAL), Victoria, Australia/ ICARDA.
• Corporated Improvement of Chickpea in Australia-Northern Region Module-GRDC, Australia.
• Breeding Chickpea for Ascochyta Blight Resistance-Off-season evaluation of Ascochyta blight reaction in Chickpea. CDC, Saskatchewan, CANADA/ ICARDA.
• Development and Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources from the Central Asian Republics and Associated Regions. ACIAR, Australia/ ICARDA
• ACIAR Pulse Pathology and GRDC Post Doctoral Legume Pathologist

Collaborative projects with many NARS also included on-farm evaluation of new lines for disease resistance, participation in networks activities and traveling workshops.


1999 to 2006: Full time consultant on food and forage legume pathology. Germplasm Program, ICARDA.

2000 till now: Consulting committee, website

1985-1999: Consultant pathologist on lentil diseases. Germplasm Program, ICARDA.

1992: Consultant for ICARDA to review dry land agriculture research in high elevation areas of north-western Iran.

1985: Consultant Pathologist to the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture on tomato yellow leaf curl virus in the coastal region of Syria.

1984: Consultant in plant protection for the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development in the integrated development project of Hajja district in the Yemen Arab Republic.

1984: Consultant to the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture on the importance of boron deficiency in sugarbeet in Syria.

1980: Consultant pathologist to the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture for olive wilts.



At Aleppo University

The following Courses were taught:

* General Phytopathology, 1974-1999.
* Fundamental Mycology, 1984-1999; 2006 till present
* Diseases of Field Crops, 1983-1999; 2006 till present
* Diseases of Fruit and Vegetable Crops, 1983-1999; 2006 till present
* Advanced Plant Diseases (Diploma level), 1988-1999
* Epidemiology and Ecology of Plant Disease (Diploma level), 2006 till present
* Integrated Pest Management (Diploma level), 2006 till present
* General Microbiology, 1974-1989.
* Scientific Writing/Translation, 1987-1993.
* Plant Quarantine, 2006 till present
* Integrated Pest Management, 2006 till present

At International Center for Agricultural Researches in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and other Institutions

I joined the food legume group at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, Syria, as part-time pathologist in 1986 to develop and conduct research and training activities related to lentil pathology. The Center has appointed me as full-time food legume pathologist in 1999 to carry out research related to diseases affecting cool-season food (faba bean, chickpea and lentil) and forage legumes. My research achievements can be summarized as follows:

Development of Screening Methodologies and Screening for Wilt Resistance in Lentil and Chickpea

Major contributions to both basic and applied research on soil-borne diseases affecting lentil and chickpea in the dry areas of West Asia and North Africa (WANA) in general.
Fusarium wilts are the most important soil-borne biotic stress reducing the crops’ productivity within and outside WANA region and cause complete crop failure in some locations, particularly in lentil. Reducing crop losses incurred by these diseases certainly contributes to the welfare of resource-poor farmers and the realization of the CGIAR goal “alleviating poverty in the developing countries”.

Based on preliminary results on disease epidemiology, screening methods under laboratory, plastic house and field conditions were developed and compared. The “sick” plots that were initiated in 1987 and 1995 for lentil and chickpea wilts, respectively are still maintaining their inoculum purity and homogeneity. Many national agricultural research systems (NARS) from developed and developing countries are benefiting from the “sick” plots as a test sites for the evaluation of their breeding material for resistance to both destructive diseases. Thousands of accessions and breeding materials are being tested every year. In collaboration with breeders, sources of resistance (wild and cultivated) were identified and breeding material screened for resistance. Resistant cultivars were identified and made available to national programs and internationally through the launch of the Lentil and chickpea International Fusarium Wilt Nursery. Some cultivars has been released, the latest being IDLIB 2 (ILL 5883), IDLIB 3 (ILL 6994) and IDLIB 4 (ILL 7201) while others are in pre-release multiplication and on-farm testing stage.

Development of Screening Methodologies and Screening for Resistance to Foliar Diseases in Chickpea and Faba bean

I am managing the Chickpea and Faba bean Nurseries for resistance to foliar diseases. Disease development in these nurseries, was kept uniform and consistent in a manner that enabled breeders to make their selections under high disease pressure without disease escape.

Control Measures

Complementary individual components were identified, including the use of bio-control agents (Bacillus spp., Trichoderma spp., and Penicillium oxalicum) as seed dressings to manage wilt-affected lentil. Other control measures used included soil solarization integrated with adjustment of sowing date and chemical seed treatment and the use of systemic activated resistance all of which are environmentally safe and within the reach of resource-poor farmers.
In-vitro screening for the fungicides available in the local market was carried out and replacement for tecto which is no more available on the market identified.

Experiences in IDM

I was the lead scientist in developing IDM packages to control lentil broomrape and chickpea Ascochyta blight. The two packages were tested in farmers’ fields with their participation for 3 years and are now officially approved and adopted by the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reforms. Experiments to refine and update the packages are continuing.

Disease Surveys

I actively contributed to many chick lists of Plant Diseases (in general) in Syria and those affecting fruit crops in the Arab World.

I was the lead scientist in fungal diseases surveys affecting lentil in Syria, Turkey and Nepal. My collaboration with NARS scientists in these surveys was fruitful. on-site laboratory testing was organized in an extremely efficient and reliable manner. This permitted to identification of major components of the disease complex affecting lentil in both Nepal and Turkey in record time. I also contributed to a disease survey affecting faba bean in Peru. Recently, I carried out fungal disease surveys affecting chickpeas in both Iran and Turkey in order to study pathogenic variability of the devastating Chickpea Ascochyta Blight.

During my work at the Faculty of Agriculture-Aleppo University, I technically managed the Plant Disease Clinic for almost 15 years. My experience goes beyond legume crops and covers Field, Fruit and Horticultural crops.

Involvement in Human Recourses Development

I efficiently contributed to NARS’s capacity building, as the principal instructor in the annual short-term course in “Legume Diseases” ((1985-1998) and one of the instructors in the regular course of “Integrated Pest Management” (1998-2002) at ICARDA.
Training in legume pathology was regularly provided to individual trainees and visiting scientists, covering aspects of isolation, identification, inoculum production, inoculation, screening and evaluation.

Over 50 graduation projects at Aleppo and Lebanese Universities, three PhD and six M.Sc. thesis projects were supervised.

Participated in more than 20 evaluation committees for PhD and M.Sc.

evaluated a number of promotion committees for Syrian, Iraqi, Saudi, Jordanian. colleagues

Scientific Editing

2005 till present Member of the Editorial Board, Asian Academic Journal

2002-till present Member of the Evaluation Board, Tunisian Journal of Plant Pathology

2000- till present Editorial Board, Arab Journal of Plant Protection, Arab Society for Plant Protection

1999-to present: Member of the Editorial Board, Phytopathologia Mediterranea, and The Mediterranean Phytopathological Union.

I994-to 2001 Member of the Editorial Board, Basel El-Assad Journal for Agricultural Science Engineering. Ministry of Higher Education, Damascus, Syria.

1989-to 2000: Editor-in-Chief, Arab Journal of Plant Protection, Arab Society for Plant Protection.

1989-to present: Member of the Editorial Board, Arab and Near East Plant Protection Newsletter, Arab Society for Plant Protection.