College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

August in the News

Welcome to the Department!

Welcome to the 2009 batch of plant pathology graduate students! We are glad to have you and we wish you all the best in your course work and research!

Faculty Visits University of Queensland

Dr. Hanu Pappu visited University of Queensland, St. Lucia Campus in Brisbane, Australia on August 31 and held discussions with scientists at the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F)on research areas of mutual interest. At the DPI&F’s campus in Indooropilly, a suburb of Brisbane, he gave a seminar that included an overview of the various departmental programs and his ongoing research on viruses of vegetables and ornamentals.

Fall Picnic

The annual fall picnic was held at Sunnyside Park, hosted by Fun Committee.

More photos, click here.

Safety on Campus

The Provost has released a memo regarding safety on the WSU Campus. Please read here.

Faculty Featured on Agwired

Dr. Tim Murray, Professor of Plant Pathology was featured in Agwired about his work on stem rust Ug99. Listen to the podcast here.

Welcome to the Department!

Dr. Jodi Humann joined Dr. Brenda Schroeder’s phytobacteriology program on July 15, 2009.  Dr. Humann received a B.S. degree in Microbiology and a B.S. degree in Agricultural Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from WSU in 1999, and her Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from Oregon State University in 2005.  Dr. Humann was a postdoctoral research associate at WSU in the Institute of Biological Chemistry with Dr. Michael Kahn prior to joining Dr. Schroeder’s program.  Dr. Humann is well versed in the molecular genetics of bacteria and will be working on developing a genetic system for the study of the mechanisms of pathogenesis of Enterobacter cloacae on onion.

Dr. Kent Evans joined Dr. Xianming Chen’s program in the USDA-ARS Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology, and Disease Research Unit on August 2, 2009 as a supporting plant pathologist. Dr. Evans received his B.S. degree in Agronomy from the Department of Plant and Soil Science in 1983, M.Sc. in Plant Breeding from the same department in 1988, and Ph.D. degree in Plant Pathology from the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in 1995, Oklahoma State University.  Dr. Evans was a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Minnesota from 1995 to 2004 and was an Assistant Professor and Plant Pathology Specialist in Utah State University from October 2004 to July 2009.  Dr. Evans has significant experience on diseases of cereal crops and ornamentals.  At the USDA-ARS and Washington State University, he will conduct research and service for the national stripe rust monitoring and germplasm screening programs.  Welcome Dr. Evans!     

Highlights from the APS annual meeting, Portland, OR

One of the biggest contigents at the recent annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society in Portland, OR (August 1-5, 2009) was from our department.  Many of our faculty, staff and graduate students presented their research at this meeting. Dr. Tim Paulitz received the APS Fellow Award.  Dr. Dennis Johnson was recognized for his service to the Pacific Division. 2nd and 3rd place awards in the Best Student Paper Competition were bagged by our students. Our alumni social was a huge success.
For pictures from some of these events, click below (Big thanks to shutter bugs, Renuka Attanayake, Sudeep Bag, Sarah Dossey, Sahar Eid, Bhadra Murthy, and Sudarsana Poojari):

APS meeting
Our alumni social
APS Pacific Division Student Awards Presentation
Dr. Tim Paulitz receiving the APS Fellow Award


APS Award Winners

Plant Pathology graduate students brought home several awards from the Best Student Paper Competition during the Pacific Division Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society held in Portland, OR, August 1-5.

Jeremiah Dung (PhD student with Dr. Dennis Johnson) won the second place and the 3rd place was a tie and went to Laura Costadone (MS student with Dr. Gary Grove) and Evans Njambere (PhD student with Dr. Weidong Chen).

Grant Poole (PhD student with Dr. Tim Paulitz) and Hongyan Sheng (PhD student with Dr. Tim Murray) were recognized at this event for winning competitive travel awards.

Congratulations to the winners and all other students who took part in this competition!

APS Tree Fruit Diseases Field Trip held on July 31 and August 1

The 2009 APS Tree Fruit Diseases Field Trip was held on July 31 and August 1 prior to the annual APS meeting.  The tour was organized by Dr. Chang-Lin Xiao (WSU) and Dr. Robert Spotts (Oregon State Univ.) and was well attended with 47 participants from across the nation and some other countries.  On July 31, the group visited apple, pear, and sweet cherry orchards as well as a fruit packinghouse in the Yakima area.  Local scientists, including Mark Mazzola (USDA/ARS, Wenatchee), Tim Smith (WSU Extension, Wenatchee), David Granatstein and Chang-Lin Xiao (WSU TFREC, Wenatchee) spoke at the tour about the fruit production, orchard diseases, organic fruit production, and postharvest handling of tree fruits and storage diseases.  The group has been very impressed by the innovation and production scale of the fruit industry (both orchard and packinghouse operations) in Washington State.  On August 1, the group visited orchards in Hood River, OR and also enjoyed visiting the Bonneville Dam and Multnomah Falls on the way back to Portland (see pictures).

Faculty Awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership Award

Dr. Dennis Johnson, Professor of Plant Pathology, has been selected to receive the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award from the Potato Assocation of America (PAA).

The award was presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting in Fredericton, NB, Canada, Aug 9-13, 2009.  The award recognizes Dr. Johnson’s outstanding contributions to the potato industry and to the organization, and is the highest award bestowed upon an individual by the PAA.

Dr. Johnson has one of the most productive and highly impactful research and extension programs dealing with potato and mint diseases and several aspects pertaining to disease resistance, disease forecasting, spatial patterns of diseased plants, disease etiology, and disease management.

Dr. Johnson is highly successful in integrating his research and extension programs that contributed to a better understanding of the biology and epidemiology of several important potato diseases and resulted in practical disease management strategies. His research is highly valued and cited by his peers, and his disease management recommendations are followed and adopted by the potato growers.

Besides his research and extension activities, Dr. Johnson contributes to graduate teaching (PlP 551 Epidemiology and Management of Plant Diseases), and has been successful in attracting highly qualified graduate students into his program.

Congratulations Dr. Johnson for this well-deserved recognition!

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