Virginia Tech® home

Jon Eisenback

Jon Eisenback
103 Price Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061


I have a three-way appointment in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences including 75% research, 10% teaching, and 15% extension.  1. Authority on the taxonomy of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) that focuses on the practical identification of the economically most important group of plant-parasitic nematodes utilizing light microscopy, SEM, and molecular techniques. 2. Specializing in the development of tools for teaching nematology. 3. Directs the VT Nematode Assay Lab making recommendations on the effective use of nematicides or other management tactics. 4. Evaluates effectiveness of nematicides, including non-fumigants and seed treatments, in greenhouse trials.


  • Plant Parasitic Nematology


  • Ph.D. Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, 1979
  • B.A. Biology, Bryan College, 1974

My research focuses on the practical identification of the economically most important group of plant-parasitic nematodes – the root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne species). My lab also focuses on the mechanisms of resistance to the root-knot nematodes, survival mechanisms of nematodes, and the plant responses to infection by the lesion nematodes, Pratylenchus species. More recently, I am developing methods to control the pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophylus, in whole logs to reduce the barriers for the export of pine products from Virginia.

As Director of the Nematode Diagnostic and Assay Lab, we process more than 2,500 nematode assays and diagnostic samples each year in order to provide timely management advice to growers and other agricultural scientists at Virginia Tech. I also collaborate with several extension plant pathologists to evaluate the effectiveness of nematicides and other management practices.

  • PPWS 5004 – Seminar
  • PPWS 5054 – Plant Disease Agents

Professor | 1994 – Present
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Associate Professor | 1990– 1994
Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Assistant Professor | 1985 – 1990
Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Ninth Grade Science Teacher | 1974-1975
Rhea County Highschool, Evansville, Tn.

  • Fellow. Society of Nematologists, 2019
  • Service to the Society Award. Nematology Newsletter Editor, Society of Nematologists, 2019
  • Most Read Author in the Institution for the week of June 26th, 2016,
  • Recognition of Outstanding Service. President, Society of Nematologists, 2014
  • Certificate of Excellence. Extension Education Materials Award, Publications over 16 pages, Soybean Nematode Management Guide, The American Society of Agronomy, 2012
  • EUMANE Scholar. EUropean MAsters in NEmatology program, Univ. of Ghent, Belgium, 2011
  • Certificate of Recognition. Board Member. The Council for Agricultural Science & Technology, 2011
  • First Prize. American Phytopathological Society Potomac Division, Logo Design Contest, 2011
  • Image of Distinction. Nikon’s Small World International Photo Contest, 2010
  • Image of Distinction. Nikon’s Small World International Photo Contest, 2010
  • Certificate of Excellence. Society of Agronomy, 2008
  • Third Prize. (Portuguese Competition for Scientific Photography) "Concurso de Fotografia Cientifica Laboratório de Imagens/ Associação Viver a Ciência, CCB, Lisboa, Fevereiro 2006,", 2006
  • First Prize. Biocontrol Photo Contest, Society of Nematologists, 2005
  • Eighth Prize. Nikon’s Small World International Photo Contest, 2003
  • Outstanding Supporter. Minority Academic Opportunities Program, 2000
  • Service Award. Minority Academic Opportunities Program, 1999
  • Recognition of Outstanding Service. Secretary 1995-1997, Society of Nematologists, 1997
  • Ciba-Geigy Award. For Outstanding Contributions to Agriculture, 1996
  • Certificado. Congresso International De Nematologia Tropical, 1995
  • Henderson Award. Outstanding Faculty, Dept. PPWS, Virginia Tech, 1991
  • Finalist. AAAS Living World, 1986
  • Honorable Mention. Nikon’s Small World International Photo Contest, 1985
  • Diploma, Professor del Curo Internacional, Chapingo-Montecillos, Mexico, 1985
  • First Prize. Nikon’s Small World International Photo Contest, 1985
  • Fifth Prize. Nikon’s Small World International Photo Contest, 1984
  • Research Fellowship. South Africa Dept. of Agriculture, 1984
  • First Prize. Nikon’s Small World International Photo Contest, 1982
  • Best Student Paper. Society of Nematologists, 1979
  • Best Ph.D. Dissertation. North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, 1979
  • Biology Departmental Award. Bryan College, 1974
  1. Eisenback, J. D., and Paulo Vieira. 2019. Additional notes on the morphology of Meloidogyne kikuyensis. Journal of Nematology 51: accepted.
  2. Eisenback, J. D., J. L. Schroeder, S. H. Thomas, J. M. Beacham, V. S. Paes-Takahashi, and Paulo Vieira.  2019. Meloidogyne aegracyperi n. sp. parasitizing yellow and purple nutsedge in New Mexico.  Journal of Nematology 51:1-16.
  3. Vieira, Paulo, Joseph Mowery, Jonathan D. Eisenback, Jonathan Shao, and Lev G. Nemchinov. 2019. Resistant and susceptible response to root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans) in alfalfa. Frontiers in Plant Science, section Plant Microbe Interactions.
  4. Cláudia S.L. Vicente, Lev G. Nemchinov, Manuel Mota, Jonathan D. Eisenback, Kathryn Kamo, Paulo Vieira. 2019. Identification and characterization of the first pectin methylesterase gene found in the root lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans. PLoS One.
  5. Vieira, Paulo, Thomas Mayer, Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, Inga Zasada, Thomas Baum, Jonathan D. Eisenback and Kathryn Kamo. 2018. Identification of candidate effector genes of Pratylenchus penetrans. Molecular Plant Pathology 19(8):1887-1907.
  6. Pollock, J. R., C. S. Johnson, J. D. Eisenback, and T.D. Reed. 2017. The effect of temperature on reproduction of root-knot nematodes in flue-cured tobacco homozygous for Rk1 and/or Rk2 resistance genes. Journal of Nematology.
  7. Vieira, Paulo, Joseph Mowery, James Kilcrease, Jonathan Eisenback and Kathyrn Kamo. 2017. Histological characterization of Lilium longiflorum cv. 'Nellie White' infection with root lesion nematode, Pratylenchus penetrans. Journal of Nematology 49:2-11. (Cover article)
  8. Paulo Vieira, Kathryn Kamo, and J. D. Eisenback. 2017. Characterization and silencing of a fatty acid- and retinoid-binding Pp-far-1 gene in Pratylenchus penetrans. Plant Pathology 66: 1214-1224.
  9. Eisenback, J.D., L. S. Graney, and P. Vieira. 2016.  First report of the apple root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne mali, in North America found parasitizing Euonymus in New York. Plant Disease 101(9):510 November 2016.
  10. Pollok, Jill R., Charles S. Johnson, J. D. Eisenback, and T. David Reed. 2016. Reproduction of M. incognita race 3 on flue-cured tobacco homozygous for Rk1 and/or Rk2 resistance genes. Journal of Nematology.
  11. Vieira, Paulo, Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, Ruchi Verma, Sarah Wantoch, Margaret Pooler, Jonathan D. Eisenback and Kathryn Kamo.  2015. The Pratylenchus penetrans transcriptome as a source for the development of alternative control stratgeies: mining of putative nematode genes involved in plant parasitism and evaluation of in planta RNAi. PLOS ONE 10(12):1-25 e0144674.
  12. Eisenback, J. D., V. dos S. Paes-Takahashi*, and L. S. Graney. 2015. First Report of the Pecan Root-Knot Nematode, Meloidogyne partityla, Causing Dieback to Laurel Oak in South Carolina. Plant Disease 99(7): May, 2015.
  13. Mallez, Sophie, Chantal Castagnone, Margarida Espada, Paulo Vieira, Jonathan D. Eisenback, Mark Harrell, Manuel Mota, Takuya Aikawa, Mitsuteru Akiba, Hajime Kosaka , Philippe Castagnone – Sereno, Thomas Guillemaud. 2014. Worldwide routes of invasion routes of the pinewood nematode: What can we infer from population genetic analyses?  Biological Invasions 17(4):1199-1213, September 2014.
  14. Shaohui Wu*, Roger R. Youngman, Loke T. Kok, Jonathan D. Eisenback, Curt A. Laub, Sally L. Paulson. 2014. Defensive interaction of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae) infective juvenile nematodes against Metarhizium anisopliae (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae). Journal of Entomological Science 49:215-217.

Research Community Memberships