College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

December in the News

Plant Pathology Staff Recognized for 20 years of service to WSU

Congratulations to Mary Stormo, Program Coordinator in our department.  Mary has been presented with a certificate of appreciation from WSU President Elson Floyd for her 20 years of service to WSU.  

Congratulations to our Winter Graduates!

Kathleen McKeever completed her MS program under the supervision of Dr. Gary Chastagner.

Shridhar Jarugula completed his PhD program under the supervision of Dr. Naidu Rayapati.

Xiaodong Bao completed his PhD program under the supervision of Dr. Lori Carris.


Student Featured in California Oak Mortality Task Force Newsletter

Research by Katie McKeever, MS student with Dr. Gary Chastagner, professor in our department, was the “Featured Research” in the December issue of the California Oak Mortality Task Force newsletter.

Holiday Gathering

The annual holiday gathering was hosted by the department December 3. As part of this year’s festivities, a food drive to support the local food bank was held. One hundred and eighty seven pounds of food was donated by the department. CAHNRS Dean, Dan Bernardo, generously matched our donation as well as all other department donations in CAHNRS. See more photos

Faculty Recognized for 45 years of Service

Dr. Lee Hadwiger, professor in our department, was recognized for his 45 years of service to Washington State University. At an annual, university-wide event held on December 9, 2010, Hadwiger was recognized by WSU President, Dr. Elson Floyd. Dr. Hadwiger’s research has been on the molecular genetics of host-pathogen interactions with special emphasis on disease resistance.  A native of Oklahoma, Dr. Hadwiger received BS and MS degrees from Oklahoma State University and the PhD degree from Kansas State University.  At WSU initial research was on non-host resistance in pea tissue induced by a bean pathogen Fusarium solani f. sp. phaseoli and on race specific interactions between Flor’s flax isolines and races of Melampsori lini.  He proposed the “Induction Hypothesis” based on his data and knowledge at that time about gene activation and host parasite interactions.  The pea endocarp was challenged with hundreds of known biologically active compounds to identify those that activated the pea defense response as indicated by pisatin accumulations and effects on secondary plant enzymes. Using specific inhibitors, Hadwiger with his co-workers showed that resistance was dependent on RNA and protein synthesis.  Chitosan and fungal DNase were found to induce defense genes and total immunity to pea pathogens. A group of disease response genes (DRR genes) now referred to as PR genes were first cloned in his lab and evaluated transgenically in tobacco, potato, and canola plants.  Research directed towards their promoters, first implicated chromatin remodeling genes in the induction of the defense response, such as the gene for the architectural transcription factor, HMG A, and nucleosome proteins, histones H2A and H2B.  Recently, he discovered that there is an enhancement of ubiquitination and depletion of nuclear proteins associated with the transcription of PR genes in pea tissue within two hours after inoculation with the bean pathogen. Dr. Hadwiger will continue to further characterize the DNases released by plant pathogenic fungi  and their role as major signals of non-host disease resistance.

Faculty featured on

Research by Dr. Gary Chastagner, professor in our department and located in Puyallup R and E Center, was featured on is a U.S.-based science news website that syndicates some of their content to aol, yahoo, msnbc, cbs and other sites.


New T-Shirt Design Revealed

Congratulations to Jodi Humann, Post Doc for Dr. Brenda Schroeder! Jodi’s design won a department-wide competition to design a new Plath Pathology t-shirt. The new t-shirts are available in either crimson or dark green for just $10!

The second runner-up for the competition was Kathy Klos, Associate in Research for Dr. Tim Murray, who’s design was used to create a note card. The note cards are printed on ivory embossed paper and are available in packages of 10 for $4.

A big thank you goes out to all of our participants who entered wonderful, artistic designs for the competition: Jodi Humann, Kathy Klos, Christie Almeyda-Becerra, Megan Robinson, Honyan Sheng and Hina Ali.

Please see our Merchandise page for more information.

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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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