Mary Palm, a U.S. Department of Agriculture plant pathologist based in Riverdale, Md., has been chosen to lead the agency's Huanglongbing Multi-Agency Coordination Group.
The group, comprising representatives from California, Florida and Texas citrus industries, respective state departments of agriculture and the USDA, met for the first time last week.
Members discussed roles and responsibilities, identified promising research and began developing the process for making funding decisions, according to Palm's blog.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the formation of the committee Dec. 12, 2013, in response to the citrus industry's call for a more unified response to the devastating citrus disease.
The 2014 federal budget includes $20 million for HLB research, and the USDA provided an additional $1 million when Vilsack announced the group's formation in December.
Palm began working for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in 184 after earning a doctor's degree in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota.
She has held various roles from identifying plant diseases to serving as the technical expert in bilateral negotiations.
She also was senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology.
Read more about Vilsack's Dec. 12 announcement on TheGrower.com.