Matt Fatino, WSSA graduate student of the month

From the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) Graduate Student Organization newsletter (Oct. 2023)

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Graduate Student of the Month

Matt Fatino, Ph.D. Candidate, Hanson Lab, UC Davis
Matthew (Matt) Fatino, Ph.D. Candidate with the Hanson Lab at UC Davis, is the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) graduate student of the month.

What is your long-term goal?
My long-term goal is to land a career in industry or the public sector that enables me to work with growers and stakeholders and help address the issues they face. I have been fortunate to see the positive impacts on growers while working in the industry as well as working with extension professionals of the University of California throughout the state, and would be honored to serve my local stakeholders in either setting.

What drew you to weed science?
My introduction to weed science was through an internship during my undergraduate degree doing applied research for a chemical company. The applied nature of weed science was very appealing to me, as well as the intricacies of managing weeds in the various specialty cropping systems we have in California.

What is your favorite weed and why?
Branched broomrape, and broomrapes in general, are a very unique and challenging species to work with and I really enjoy the dynamic challenges they present. My least favorite weed by far is field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis.)

What is your favorite thing about the WSSA or your regional society?
My favorite thing about WSSA is its ability to connect scientists from all over the world. Working with a unique weed in a unique cropping system, it is often hard to meet with folks regionally with experience studying or managing branched broomrape in tomatoes. Attending a WSSA conference enabled me to meet with researchers from across the nation and the globe who have experience working with branched broomrape, and our discussions and connections were invaluable to my research and career in weed science.

What university do you attend and what is your research focus?
I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Davis, and my research focus is on in-season management of the invasive noxious weed, branched broomrape (Phelipanche ramosa). It is a parasitic plant that attaches to a host plant's roots and presents a major threat to the California processing tomato and seed industries.

To contact Matt Fatino, email him at


By Gale Perez
Posted by - Public Education Specialist