Erica Fealko

Professional Profile

Graduate Research Assistant

Ph.D. Candidate

linked in  twitter


I study novel biocontrol products and their efficacy in reducing disease severity tomatoes. I specifically focus on a microbial fermentation product (MFP) in both high tunnel and field tomatoes. In the lab, I examine possible modes of action primarily associated with induced defense response but also possible direct pathogen interactions.

Additional Information


  • B.S. Agroecology, University of Minnesota, 2015

Teaching & Extension Experience

  • Teaching Assistant, Agricultural Biotechnology 120, UK
  • Mentoring undergraduates
  • Legislative Action Days (Participated in a trip to the Kentucky state capitol to speak with state legislators about issues related to discrimination, mental health, and women's health (2021)
  • Workshops for Greg Page Shawneetown Community Garden, UK (Organized and gave plant science related workshops to community gardeners, 2020 to current)
  • Extension Video (Topic related to pesticide mixing, 2020)

Service & Leadership

  • Intern, Public Policy Board, The American Phytopathological Society (APS) (2021-2023)
  • Chair, Graduate Student Committee, The American Phytopathological Society (APS) (2020-2021)
  • Vice-Chair, Graduate Student Committee, APS (2019-2020)
  • Outreach Chair, Midwest Region, National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (2019-2020)
  • Graduate Student Success Team (GSST), College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, UK (2019-current)
  • Chief of Staff and Operations, Graduation Student Congress (GSC), UK (2019-2020)
  • GSC/Forté Mentorship Program Advisory Committee, UK (2019-2020)
  • Committee Coordinator, GSC, UK (2018-2019)
  • Fundraising Chair, Association of Plant Pathology Scholars, UK (2017-2018)
  • Departmental GSC Representative, UK (2017-2018)
  • 'Meet a Plant Pathologist’ (Participated in a virtual interactive activity with students from Carter G. Woodson Academy)
  • Girl's Science Education Experience, UK (Assisted in scientific demonstrations)
  • STEM Tours , UK (For female summer campers.  Answered questions about plant science careers and gave tours of plant science facilities)
  • Volunteer Intern, U.S.A. FDA

Professional Affiliations

  • Graduate Student Congress (University of Kentucky)
  • National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS)
  • Association of Plant Pathology Scholars (APPS)
  • Southern Division of American Phytopathological Society (SD-APS)
  • The American Phytopathological Society (APS)
  • Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)


  • Licensed chemical applicator in the state of Kentucky

Awards & Recognition

Grants recieved

  • Fealko, E., L. Fann, and L. Araújo. ‘Greg Page Community Garden Educational Enhancement Project’ The Student Sustainability Council Student Grant. The University Kentucky, April 2021-2022 (Funded $30,255.00)
  • Student Government Association (SGA) Senators Special Project grant, 2021 (funded $2,000) 
  • Fealko, E., M. Radhi, L. Fann, L. Araújo, and E. Pfeufer. ‘Greg Page Community Garden Educational Enhancement Project’ The Food Connection Student Opportunity Grant. The University of Kentucky, May 2020-2021 (Funded $7,500.00)


  • Graduate Student Congress Service Award (GSC) (2020)
  • Top ten 3MT (Three Minute Thesis competition) for the UKy (2018)
  • 2nd place 3MT for the Department of Plant Pathology UKy (2018)


  • UK Alumni Association Scholarship (2020)
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Travel Scholarship (2019)
  • Fellowship: ORISE-Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow, U.S.A. FDA (2012)

Publications & Presentations


  • Gauthier, N., and E. Fealko. ‘Bacterial Spot of Pepper & Tomato’ University of Kentucky Extension Publication (PPFS-VG-17), 2021
  • Fealko, E., N. Gauthier, H. Graham. ‘Early Blight & Septoria Leaf Spot of Tomato Management for Residential Growers.’ University of Kentucky Extension Publication; (PPFS-VG-26), 2021
  • Fealko, E., and E. Pfeufer. ‘Early Blight and Septoria Leaf Spot of Tomato Disease Management for Commercial Growers.’ University of Kentucky Extension Publication; PPFS-VG-25
  • Fealko, E., and E. Pfeufer. ‘Biologicals for tomato disease management.’ University of Kentucky Extension Publication; PPFS-VG-24 2019
  • Fealko, E., D. Szarka, A. Lamb, B. Amsden, J. Beale, E. Pfeufer. 2019. ‘First report of black dot root rot, caused by Colletotrichum coccodes, on tomato in Kentucky high tunnels.’ Plant Disease; Vol. 103, No. 8, 27 May 2019.


  • Fealko, E., E. Pfeufer. Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Growers Annual Conference. Lexington, KY Jan. 2021. ‘Fungicide Modes of Action’
  • Fealko, E., E. Pfeufer, and P. Kachroo. 2020. Effects of a plant defense-inducing bacterial fermentation media product, ACS-811, on conidial germination and appressorium formation. In APS Plant Health 2020 annual meeting, Aug. 10-14, online
  • Fealko, E., E. Pfeufer. Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Growers Annual Conference. Lexington, KY Jan. 2019. ‘Biologicals for tomato disease management.’
  • Fealko, E., A. Lamb, P. Kachroo, and E. Pfeufer. APS. Annual Conference Aug. 2019. ‘Plant metabolite-based resistance to Oidium neolycopersici in organic- and high tunnel-grown tomato’
  • Fealko, E., W. Barlow, P. Kachroo, and E. Pfeufer. Southern Division-APS (SD-APS). Annual conference Fayetteville, AK Feb. 2018. ‘Pre-harvest induction of plant defense and its influence on postharvest diseases of tomato caused by Colletotrichum species.’
  • Fealko, E., University of Kentucky Department of Plant Pathology seminar. Lexington, KY Oct. 2017. ‘Conventional, organic, and sustainable agriculture and where induced resistance fits in.’
  • Fu, X., E. Fealko, L. Jackson, M. L. Tortorello, H. Lu. International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)Annual Conference, Charlotte, NC. May 2013. ‘Roles of fatty acid composition and cell membrane fluidity in thermal resistance of Salmonella after desiccation’