College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

April in the News

New Facility at WWREC Puyallup:

A new biocontainment facility for use in conducting research on plant pathogens, specifically, Sudden Oak Death, Phytophthora ramorum, was officially opened on April 25 at the WSU Puyallup Western Washington Research and Extension Center. First identified in California in 2000 after killing thousands of trees, Sudden Oak Death is a deadly and easily spread plant pathogen. In Washington State, SOD-infected plants have been found and destroyed in nurseries since 2003. Numerous plants common in Washington landscapes are susceptible, including rhododendron, grand fir, Douglas fir and big leaf maple. An outbreak in the natural environment would have a major negative impact on the State’s forest products and nursery industries. At this time, eradication efforts appear to have prevented its spread to plants in Washington’s forest and urban landscapes. Read more about the facility opening and the WSU Sudden Oak Death Program.

Student Recognition:

Three Plant Pathology graduate students were recognized by the WSU Graduate and Professional Student Association during a luncheon and award ceremony on April 20. Leigh Ann Harrison and Vihanga Pahalawatta were honored as Excellence Award Winners for their role as teaching assistants (story below), and John Goetz received a Wiley Research Award for a poster presentation of his research.

New Course Announcement:

Dr. Naidu Rayapati has developed a new course for Fall 2006 – PlP 300 Diseases of Fruit Crops. This is a 2-credit course designed to provide undergraduate students with a comprehensive understanding of the diseases of fruit crops grown in Washington State. The course will originate in the Tri-Cities and be broadcast via WHETS to Pullman.


Tim Murray, Department Chair, hosted the graduate students for lunch with a Mexican Fiesta on April 21. It was an opportunity to meet informally, discuss business, and enjoy good food and conversation together.

A department-wide social gathering to celebrate the end of term was sponsored by the Plant Pathology Graduate Students and the Fun Committee. The event took place at the Pullman Grill and Bar. Special recognition of faculty and graduating students was presented.

Earthquake Preparedness:

The Pullman Office Staff participated in the Statewide Earthquake Drill on April 6. Safety Officer Martin Chilvers notified the department of the importance of “drop, cover, and hold” in the event of an earthquake. The drill was a platform for discussion of essential earthquake safety actions with our staff and students. For more information, go to the State of Washington Emergency Management Division web site. see photo

Alumni News:

Jennifer (Buren) Carson, M.S. 2004 with Lee Hadwiger, visited Pullman with her husband Scott. They are expecting their first child in November. see photo

Research Highlight:

Meet Dr. Lori Carris, Associate Professor and Scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology, a mycologist whose research focuses on the biology and systematics of smut fungi, specifically the genus Tilletia, and read about her current research program. (click here)

Mentor Recognition:

Five members of the department were recognized for mentoring at the 11th Annual Women and Leadership Forum. The Outstanding Mentor Awards give students, staff, and faculty an opportunity to recognize a WSU employee who has filled the special role of mentor in their academic and/or professional career. The program recognized both formal and informal mentoring accomplishments at WSU. The following mentors received honorable mention: Marion Andrew, Lori Carris, Kristene Gedye, Pat Okubara, and Ekaterini Riga.

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Department of Plant Pathology, PO Box 646430, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6430, 509-335-9541, Contact Us
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