$350,000 donation supports dahlia virus research at WSU

By Kate Wilhite, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

dahlia-Marcella-LouisePULLMAN, Wash. – A $350,000 donation from an avid dahlia grower will support Washington State University research into viruses that afflict the ornamental flower crop.

“My brother clearly recognized that the knowledge in place at WSU made it the only practical place to solve the virus problem,” said James Chuey, who made the gift from the Scheetz Chuey Charitable Foundation in honor of his late brother, Carl Chuey.

Hanu Pappu leads WSU’s dahlia virus research program where scientists characterize viruses that infect dahlias, create virus detection tools and materials, develop virus management strategies and prepare educational materials about virus diagnosis and control.

Chuey’s gift will accelerate the research, said Pappu, the Sam Smith distinguished professor of plant virology at WSU.

Native to Mexico, dahlias are prized for their beautiful flowers and are an important ornamental crop grown around the world. Washington state has more than a dozen dahlia societies.

Carl Chuey, a professor of biology for 47 years at Youngstown State University, and his brother hybridized a number of dahlias, including one named for their mother, Marcella Louise Scheetz Chuey.

Carl Chuey became concerned about the effects of dahlia viruses, which not only diminish the appearance and health of the plant but pose a serious quarantine issue that negatively impacts sale and trade. With his expertise in biology, he recognized the need for expanding dahlia research conducted at WSU.

“This gift will have a far-reaching impact for dahlia growers worldwide and will target our most pressing problems in dahlia viruses,” said Ron Miner, past president and trustee of the American Dahlia Society.

To learn more about dahlia research at WSU, visit http://dahlia.wsu.edu.


Hanu Pappu, WSU plant pathology, 509-335-3752, hrp@wsu.edu