Research Faculty & Staff


The FARM is permanently staffed with research scientists specializing in tree-fruit horticulture, plant pathology, and entomology. Each scientist is a member of their respective department at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, which is part of Cornell University.            


Peter J. Jentsch

Station Director                                                                                              
Senior Extension Associate
Department of Entomology
Ph.  (W) 845.691.7151 (Cell) 845.417.7465
Jentsch Lab WebSite

Research and extension efforts on pome fruit, small fruit, grape and onion has been focused on the efficacy of newly developed pest management tools for invasive insects and native insect pest complex. Employing them in a cost-effective, environmentally sound approach provides fruit growers with the knowledge to improve insect pest management strategies. Read more about pest management at the Jentsch Lab Blog Site.   

Dr. Srdjan Acimovic

Extension Associate
Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Research
Ph.  (W) 845.691.7231
Acimovic Lab Blog Site

Dr. Srdjan Acimovic is a tree fruit plant pathologist at FARM. Srdjan accepted the position replacing Dr. Dave Rosenberger, who retired in February 2014. Srdjan recently completed his PhD program at Michigan State University Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences.

Dana Acimovic.png

Dana Acimovic

Research Support Specialist
Department of Entomology

HVRL Horticulture Blog Site

Working in the Entomology Department, Dana has a Masters of Science degree in Horticulture from Michigan State. Dana’s research and extension concentration is on innovative grape, apple, and stone fruit production in Eastern New York.  Currently she is working with invasive species colony development, biological control studies and vineyard development of clone / root stock combinations of Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.

Employed at the FARM since April, 2016       

David Rosenberger.png

David A. Rosenberger

Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology
Hudson Valley Laboratory
Rosenberger WebSite.

As the Plant Pathologist at Cornell University’s Farmer's Alliance for Research & Management in Highland, NY, Dr. Rosenberger’s research program focused on finding immediate solutions to disease problems on tree fruits. Field tests were conducted each year to evaluate new fungicides and management strategies for apple diseases. Fungicides were evaluated for effectiveness against apple scab, powdery mildew, rust diseases, sooty blotch, flyspeck, black rot, and bitter rot. Research reports and outreach can be found on Rosenberger Blog Site.



Facilities & Staffing

Plant Pathology Lab2b.jpg
Photo of FARM Faculty/Staff in 1998

Photo of FARM Faculty/Staff in 1998

FARM is permanently staffed with research scientists specializing in tree-fruit horticulture, plant pathology, and entomology. Each scientist is a member of their respective department at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, which is part of Cornell University. In addition to the three scientists, full-time employees at the lab include the support staff listed below.

Administrative Assistant. Erica Kane


A Hudson Valley native, Erica grew up surrounded by the orchards and crops of the area and has been a U-Pick regular since she helped her grandmother gather peaches and apples for pies as a child. Erica completed her MS in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in 2014 and comes from a background of working with nonprofits and in the state legislature, including on agricultural policy

Albert Woelfersheim.png

Farm Manager / Facilities Coordinator. Albert Woelfersheim

Albert Woelfersheim has been employed at the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory since 1991.

During this period his role has transitioned from field assistant to multi-trade technician, & presently serves as the Facilities Coordinator with additional responsibilities as the Department Safety Representative (DSR).

His work includes facilities maintenance of CSLED and Pesticide Building, station vehicles, laboratory equipment and research orchard maintenance, support for facilities safety through inventory, inspection and facilities updates, staff education and reporting, upgrades of computing and video conferencing equipment, maintenance of NEWA weather data collection equipment, and training and limited supervision of faculty and full-time and temporary technical support staff in both field and laboratory facility.

Entomology Technical Staff. Chris Leffelman

Field & Laboratory Technician


Received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Plant Biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with a minor in German Language and Culture from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Chris was previously employed with DuPont plant breeding facilities testing and developing disease-resistant traits in Ag. systems.


Plant Pathology Technical Staff: Fatemeh Khodadadi

Post-Doc Researcher


Fatemeh received her PhD in Plant Pathology at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran in 2016. Her research concentrated on plant- bacterial and fungal disease interaction and has conducted research on molecular study of polyphenol oxidase in the interaction between walnut and bacterial blight disease (Xanthomonas arboricola pv. juglandis), and detection and genetic variability of toxigenic and nontoxigenic isolates of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus by RAPD marker on pistachio. 

Plant Pathology Technical Staff: Ricardo Delgado Santander

Post-Doc Researcher


Ricardo completed a doctorate in Biomedicine and Biotechnology at the Universitat de València, Spain. Most of his research has focused in the characterization of unknown aspects of the life cycle of the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora, including environmental stress responses, survival in insects and infection of host plants through the roots. He has been employed at the HVRL since October 2017

Entomology Technical Staff: Lucas Canino

Field & Laboratory Technician


Lucas is a 2017 graduate of SUNY Potsdam with a BA in Biology and a minor in Wilderness Education. He plans on finish his BS in the spring of 2018. Lucas joined HVRL in May 2017.

Entomology Technical Staff: Lydia Brown

Field & Laboratory Technician


Lydia earned an MS in Entomology from the University of Arizona and a BS in Horticulture from Oregon State University. Lydia worked for University of Arizona Cooperative Extension for 7 years in agronomic crops integrated pest management (IPM). She moved to the Hudson Valley in 2016 and joined HVRL in 2017.