College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

April in the News

Special Seminar by Dr. Chris Pannkuk, Director CAHNRS Office of International Research and Development

Dr. Chris Pannkuk, Director, CAHNRS International Research and Development was the invited speaker in the department. He gave a talk, WSU’s International Research and Development: “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.  Prior to his seminar, a reception was held in honor of Dr. Pannkuk. He visited with faculty, staff and students.

Seed and Biotech Industry Leader from India Visits the Department

Dr. Usha Barwale Zehr, Chief Technology Officer, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, Jalna, India gave an invited seminar, “Innovation for Indian Agriculture – Research
efforts at Mahyco on pests and abiotic stresses”, at the Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman. Her talk, ‘Innovation for Indian Agriculture – Research efforts at Mahyco on pests and abiotic stresses” highlighted some of the R and D effort in improving productivity of economically important crops. Mahyco is India’s leading seed company and pioneered the development and commercialization of Bt cotton varieties in India. Zehr also serves as the director of the Barwale Foundation. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center, St. Louis, MO, International Rice Research Institute, Manila, Philippines, and CIMMYT, Mexico.  Zehr met with graduate students, staff, faculty and college and university administration during her visit.

Dr. Zehr received her Ph.D in agronomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987. She held positions as a researcher at the University of Illinois from 1983 to 1990. From 1991-1996 she was a geneticist at Purdue University, studying sorghum and millet. Her research interests focus on the application of plant biotechnology for improving agricultural production. During her graduate and post-graduate studies, she worked in the area of tissue culture and transformation. Her group at the University of Illinois was the first to develop a system for soybean regeneration. As a result of her work at Purdue University, the first transgenic sorghum plant was produced. Her work in plant biotechnology is aimed toward implementing emerging technologies in the developing

Dr. Tobin Peever Hosts Visitors from Russia and UKPhilipp Gannibal (left), researcher at the All-Russian Institute of Plant Protection, St. Petersburg, Russia and Andrew Armitage (right), Ph.D. student at the University of Warwick, UK visited Tobin Peever (centre), Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University from April 22 to 25, 2011. Andrew and Philip met with members of Peever’s lab and discussed research of mutual interest including the systematics, ecology and evolution of Alternaria species associated with pome fruits, grasses and solanaceous crops. Andrew and Philipp also spent a day searching for the first morels of the 2011 season in northern Idaho and paid a visit to the Palouse Falls during their stay in eastern WA.

Alumni Recognized by the American Phytopathological SocietyCongratulations to Drs. Mohammad Babadoost and Dr. Judith Brown.

Dr. Judith Brown, professor of plant pathology at University of Arizona, was elected Fellow of APS this year. Dr. Brown received her M.S. degree (1981) in plant pathology from our department with Dr. Stephen Wyatt.
Dr. Brown’s nomination statement.

Dr. Mohammad Babadoost, associate professor in the Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be receiving the International Service Award from APS this year. He received an M.S. degree (1979) in plant pathology from our department under the supervision of Dr. Dick Gabrielson.
Dr. Babadoost’s nomination statement.

They will be recognized with these awards at a special recognition ceremony during the APS annual meeting to be held this August in Honolulu, HI.

Dr. Tobin Peever is the GPSA Faculty Advisor of ExcellenceCongratulations to Dr. Tobin Peever, associate professor in our department.
Dr. Peever was selected to receive the GPSA Faculty Advisor Excellence Award for 2011. He was recognized with this award at the GPSA Appreciation Banquet held in the Ensminger Pavillion on April 22.

Australian Researcher’s Visit to the DepartmentDr. Ralf Dietzgen, Principal Research Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor, QAAFI and University of Queensland, Brisbane, visited our department on April 18-19.  He was hosted by Dr. Hanu Pappu.  Dr. Dietzgen met with faculty, staff and students, and gave an invited seminar, “Negative-sense RNA virus protein localization and interactions in living plant cells”. Dr. Dietzgen’s research interests are in molecular virus-plant-insect interactions and virus biodiversity and evolution. His main focus is on the molecular taxonomy of negative-sense RNA viruses of the family Rhabdoviridae and the characterisation of plant-adapted rhabdoviruses. He has published extensively on plant virus characterisation and genetic variability, RNAi- mediated virus resistance and diagnostic technologies with 20 review articles and book chapters and over 65 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Dietzgen’s other scientific interests are in the areas of biofuel crops and the genomics of papaya and mango fruit colour, flavour and health bioactives. He chairs the Rhabdoviridae study group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Plant Biotechnology Expert from Spain Visits the Department

Dr. Paul Christou, , ICREA Research Professor and Head of the Applied Plant Biotechnology Laboratory, Universidad de Lleida, Lleida, Spain gave two seminars, “Multi-gene and Multi-pathway Engineering for Creating Nutritionally Improved Crops” and “Trials and Tribulations of Transgenic Crops in Europe: A State of Pain or Anguish That Tests Patience, Endurance, or Belief”. Dr. Christou’s visit was jointly sponsored by the Plant Pathology Department along with Departments of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and Crops and Soils.

(Photo from left: Drs. Teresa Capell, Hanu Pappu, and Paul Christou)

Dr. Scot Hulbert invited to deliver the E.S. Luttrell Lecture at University of GeorgiaDr. Scot Hulbert, professor of plant pathology and R. James Cook Chair in Cropping Systems Pathology, was invited to give the 2011 E.S. Luttrell Lecture in the Department of Plant Pathology at University of Georgia, Athens, GA. He will be delivering the lecture on May 4th. This annual lecture series, named after the UGA plant pathology professor, late Dr. E.S. Luttrell, recognizes and honors the seminal contributions made by him to the field of mycology and plant pathology.

Dr Jack Rogers delivered invited lectures at Clemson UniversityDr. Jack Rogers, professor of plant pathology, WSU Regents Professor and Eminent Faculty, was the invited speaker and guest at the Mid-Atlantic States Mycology Conference at Clemson University, SC, April 1-3.  Dr. Rogers gave a two-parted address:  Research Opportunities with xylariaceous fungi in the Southeast; and Origins of studies of Xylariaceae and other pyrenomycetes in the Southeast. Among the attendees were Prof. Larry Grand of NC State, one of Dr. Rogers’ first Ph. D. students, and Dr. Julia Kerrigan of Clemson U., Dr. Rogers’ last Ph. D. student!

Dr Jim Cook, Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology, to deliver the commencement speech at spring commencement. Dr. Jim Cook, Professor Emeritus in our department, will be one of the speakers at this year’s spring commencement on Saturday May 7th beginning at 8 am.

On Solid Ground Feature

The National Clean Plant Network-Hops directed by Dr. Ken Eastwell, professor in our department and located at IAREC, Prosser, was featured in the April 6 edition of On Solid Ground.

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