The American chestnut tree survived all adversaries for 40 million years, then disappeared within 40. The chestnut blight has been called the greatest ecological disaster to strike the world’s forests in all of history. Bruce Levine from the Maryland Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation will tell the story of the tree – its past glories, its demise, and the struggle to build its future.

Bruce Levine is a PhD student in Plant Science at the University of Maryland, as well as the Maryland chapter president of the American Chestnut Foundation.   Bruce has been a volunteer with the American Chestnut Foundation since the mid-1990s.  Previously a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, Bruce took an early retirement in 2016 to pursue a degree in Plant Science at the University of Maryland.  He got his masters in 2019 and is currently in the PhD program.  Bruce’s research is on the molecular interaction between host and pathogen, and he is currently working under a grant to develop a mean to use CRISPR gene editing to facilitate genetic research into the chestnut blight fungus.


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