Plant & Nematode Screening Services


Our Mission:
SCN diagnostics is a partnership with the University of Missouri and the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources and aims to provide timely, high quality plant and nematode screening services to different parties related to the seed and biotech industries, researchers, crop advisors, and farmers.

While our focus is on soybeans and soybean cyst nematode, we also conduct soil testing for other plant-parasitic nematodes. Why us?

  • Experience:
    We are founded on 30 years of combined nematology research expertise.
  • Tailored screening:
    We maintain the United States largest SCN culture collection.
  • Relevant:
    We monitor the SCN landscape to stay ahead of population shifts.
  • High quality testing:
    We are committed to producing quality results for our clients.
  • Reduced internal costs:
    We offer a cost-effective outsourcing solution.
  • Competitive edge:
    We use a validated, high-throughput plant phenotyping pipeline.

Dr. Melissa. G. Mitchum,
Director and Chief Executive Officer

SCN Diagnostics is founded on 20 years of plant nematology research experience of Melissa G. Mitchum at the University of Missouri. Melissa grew up in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. She earned a B.S. degree in biology from the University of Puget Sound in 1993, an M.S. degree in plant pathology from the University of Nebraska in 1995, and a Ph.D. degree in plant pathology with an emphasis in nematology from North Carolina State University in 2001. She conducted post-doctoral studies at Duke University before being hired as an assistant professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri in 2003 to develop a program in plant nematology. Mitchum studies SCN and other nematodes to understand how these parasites communicate and interact with their hosts. She and her colleagues were the first to clone a soybean gene with an important role in resistance opening new avenues to create soybean varieties that fight off the parasite, as well as streamline the process for evaluating soybeans for SCN resistance. Mitchum also investigates how SCN adapts to overcome the soybeans natural defenses in an effort to develop better management practices for farmers. She has acquired more than $5 million in research funding since 2004 to support her program. Dr. Mitchum is a professor in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources and a resident faculty member of the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. More information about Dr. Mitchum’s research program can be found on the Mitchum Lab website.

Amanda Howland,
Research Specialist I and Coordinator of Nematode Testing

Amanda has a strong nematology background with nearly five years of research experience, mostly in applied nematode management. Amanda earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Mary Washington in 2011 and a M.S. degree in Horticulture with a focus on nematology and a minor in Soil Science from Oregon State University in 2014. During this time, she conducted and assisted in nematology laboratory, greenhouse, and field research. Her thesis research was part of a multi-state collaborative project on the spatial dynamics and host status of plant-parasitic nematodes in the Pacific Northwest to identify ways to manage economically important plant-parasitic nematodes in this region. She is the first author of several research studies published in the Journal of Nematology. After graduating, Amanda worked for a short time as a Biological Science Technician at the USDA-ARS in Corvalis, Oregon furthering her experience in working with plant-parasitic nematodes before joining Dr. Mitchum's program in 2015 at the University of Missouri as a Research Specialist and Coordinator of Nematode Testing.

Clinton Meinhardt,
Research Specialist I and Coordinator of Plant Testing

Clinton has a strong plant sciences background with more than fifteen years of research experience, mostly in applied crop management. He earned a B.S. in Agricultural Science from Western Illinois University in 2001 and a M.S. degree in Entomology from the University of Missouri in 2006. During this time, he investigated how arthropods are affected by soybean weed management. After graduating, he worked for five years as a research specialist at the MU Greenley Research Center in Northeast Missouri where he assisted with a diversified crop production research program addressing agriculture issues in soybean, corn, and wheat production systems. He is a co-author of several research studies published in journals such as Plant Science, Agronomy Journal, Crop Management, and Theoretical and Applied Genetics. For the past 5 years, he has been evaluating soybean for response to soybean cyst nematode for the soybean genetics and breeding programs at MU. He joined Dr. Mitchum's program in 2016 as Research Specialist I and Coordinator of Plant Testing.

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