Our group

Stefano Musacchi

Stefano Musacchi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Endowed Chair - Tree Fruit Physiology and Management
Principal Investigator

509.663.8181 ext.236 | firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

Stefano Musacchi has been named the Endowed Chair of Tree Fruit Physiology and Management at the Department of Horticulture, Washington State University in August 2013. He previously worked at the University of Bologna where he earned his doctorate in Pomology in 1996 and was appointed Assistant Professor in 2000.

Musacchi's expertise is mainly on apple, pear, and cherry horticulture. He has been involved in pear rootstock evaluation and cultivar breeding and released four new pear cultivars in 2014. He is the author of over 120 publications in both Italian and English. In addition he has served on many scientific committees for international meetings and as reviewer of many refereed journal articles.

Areas of interest

  • Orchard management
  • Training systems
  • Rootstocks and cultivar evaluation
  • Light interception
  • Productive habitus
  • Fruit quality
  • Graft-incompatibility
  • Saline stress
Sara Serra

Sara Serra, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

509.663.8181 ext.251 | firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

Sara is currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Horticulture at WSU. She previously worked as Post Doc fellow at the University of Bologna, Italy, where she earned her Ph.D. in Fruit Tree Science and Forestry and Landscape Ornamental Agro-systems (2009) and her M.Sc. in Agricultural Biotechnology (2004).

Her research experience is mainly on tree physiology, orchard management and fruit quality on several fruit trees: sweet cherry, apricot, peach and especially apple and pear.

Sara integrates field projects management proficiency with laboratory expertise, such as molecular biology, micropropagation, and proteomics techniques.

She is author of several journal publications in both Italian and English.

Areas of interest

  • Orchard management
  • Training systems
  • Rootstocks and cultivar evaluation
  • Light interception
  • Productive habitus
  • Fruit quality
  • Graft-incompatibility
  • Saline stress
Ryan Sheick

Ryan Sheick

Research Assistant

509.663.8181 ext.241 | firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

Ryan Sheick earned his B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan – Flint and his M.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Grand Valley State University.

His previous work focused primarily on the molecular characterization of aquatic invasive plant species and other topics in molecular ecology; however, his career goals are more closely aligned with agricultural applications in plant biology. Ryan is looking forward to exploring the field of tree horticulture and is delighted to be working with the Musacchi research group.

Areas of interest

  • Plant genetics
  • Plant physiology
  • Pathology
  • Horticulture
  • Pomology
Angela Knerl

Angela Knerl

Research Assistant

509.663.8181 ext.258 | firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

Angela earned a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a BS in Business from the University of Colorado. She has a MS in Watershed Management and Ecohydrology from the University of Arizona.

Her interest in the interface between nature and society led her to research stormwater management, plant-soil interactions, science communication and education, and entomology. Angela eagerly anticipates learning about agricultural systems, horticulture, and advancing the management of apple and pear with the Musacchi group.

Alex Goke

Alex Goke

Research Assistant

509.663.8181 ext.241 | firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

Alex earned his B.S. in Botany, Conservation Biology, and Life Science Communications from the University of Wisconsin where he became interested in tree ecology, physiology, and improvement.

With the Musacchi Group, Alex looks forward to exploring these topics in a horticultural context.

Areas of interest

  • Plant Ecology
  • Tree Physiology
  • Global Change Biology
  • Tree Improvement
Joshua Peterson

Joshua Peterson

Research Assistant

509.663.8181 | firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

I earned a BS in Environmental Science at Oregon State University, and worked for one year as Instructional Biology Laboratory Technician at Wenatchee Valley College. My experience includes independent research of fungicidal properties of symbiotic biological films.

In my free time, I run a small-scale organic farm in Wenatchee and sell produce at local farmers' markets.

Stefan Roeder

Stefan Roeder

Ph.D. Student

firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

Stefan comes to the TFREC from Germany. After his graduation (M.Sc. Horticulture Science) in August 2015, he worked one year as a research assistant for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission in Yakima (WA).

He joined the WSU PhD program in August and will work with Stefano Musacchi's group in Wenatchee. His work will focus on new apple pollinizer to replace the Manchurian crabapple.

Brendon Anthony

Brendon Anthony

Grad Student

firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

I did my BS in Environmental Sciences at Biola University in Los Angeles, California. I'm now working on my Masters in Horticulture with Stefano's group focusing on light interception in different netting and training system settings.
I enjoy hiking and camping with my husky, Kasakde, in my off time.

Zachery Fabey

Zachery Fabey

Research Assistant

509 663 8181 ext. 261 | firstname.lastname[at]wsu.edu

Zach earned a B.S. in Biotechnology with a concentration in Nanobiotechnology and Nanofabrication from Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, as well as a certificate in Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology from Penn State University. After gaining an introduction into the Wenatchee area tree fruit industry as the director of a microbiology lab specializing in pathogen detection, he comes to the Musacchi Group eager to research tree fruit horticulture and physiology.

Outside of work, Zach spends his time hiking, playing music, and researching and applying integrated food production systems in order to lead a more self-sufficient and sustainable life.

Jason Jacobson

Jason Jacobson

Master Student

firstname.r.lastname[at]wsu.edu

After completing a BS in Organic Agriculture Systems at WSU Pullman, Jason was accepted to pursue graduate studies with the Musacchi group at the WSU-TFREC in Wenatchee.
Jason joins the TFREC with an extensive and varied background spanning diesel & refrigeration technology, computer systems administration, graphic design, and a few things in between.
Jason's work and research interests include: orchard management, automation and prototyping, and fruit quality.
In his free time, Jason enjoys expanding his knowledge of computer systems and programming languages, tattooing as a semi-retired artist of close to 20yrs, and spending time with his dog, Jack.

Areas of interest

  • Fruit quality
  • orchard systems and automation