College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

May in the News

Invited Guest Speaker at Sixth Annual Plant Pathology Departmental Retreat at Iowa State University

Dr. Lindsey du Toit was one of two invited speakers at the Sixth Annual Plant Pathology Departmental Retreat at Iowa State University, held at McFarland Park in Ames, IA on May 30th, 2008. Lindsey’s presentation was titled “Seeds Sown & Harvests Reaped: Vegetable Seed Pathology at Washington State University”. The other guest speaker was Dr. James Alfano from the University of Nebraska of Lincoln, who spoke on “The molecular basis of plant immunity suppression by the Pseudomonas syringae type III effector HopU1″. Lindsey and Jim each enjoyed the opportunity to meet with graduate students and faculty of the ISU Department of Plant Pathology. The retreat was organized by the graduate students, and also included a plant pathology quiz bowl, a BBQ dinner, and a memorable canoe race by faculty and graduate students. The two guest speakers formed a canoe team and ended with a very wet finishing heat!

Faculty Named Senior Editor for Plant Diease

Dr. Debra Ann Inglis was recently named senior editor for Plant Disease, an international journal of applied plant pathology. Visit the journal online at

WSU Plant Pathology at the 2008 University of Washington Undergraduate Research Symposium

Two student researchers working with Plant Pathology Department mycologist Dr. Dean Glawe presented results of their research at the 2008 University of Washington Undergraduate Research Symposium on May 16.  Elle Kramer’s presentation “Characterization and identification of fungi associated with Hedera helix leaf spot” described her research using morphological and rDNA sequence data to characterize fungal parasites of this introduced, invasive plant.  A Mary Gates Scholar, Elle’s research was supported by her funding from the Mary Gates Endowment.  Juliana Suarez’s presentation “Isolation and characterization of  xylose-utilizing yeasts and filamentous fungi for bioethanol production” described her work to isolate, evaluate, and characterize with morphological and molecular data several fungi she isolated that exhibited the ability both to use xylose as a carbon source, and to produce ethanol.  An honors student in Microbiology, Juliana’s project was co-supervised by Sharon Doty of the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources.

End of Semester Celebration

The Schroeder Laboratory celebrated the end of the semester and the beginning of summer with a pizza party.  Undergraduates, Eric Thyren and Pat Legler, received WSU plaques as graduation gifts. Participants included left to right in back row :Josh Miller, Pat Legler, Juan Pena and Eric Thyren.  Front row: Brenda Schroeder, Jenny Sires and Monika Such.

Washington Magazine Feature

Dr. Hanu Pappu is featured in the May issue of Washington Magazine for his research on dahlias.

Visitor from Nunhems

Dr. Peter Rogers, Plant Pathologist with Nunhems, Brooks, OR, visited Dr. Hanu Pappu, May 12-13 and discussed research projects with Dr. Pappu and his group, Keri Druffel, Sahar Eid, and Yu-Hsuan Lin. During his visit, Dr. Rogers also met and held discussions with Dr. Brenda Schroeder.

From left: Hanu Pappu, Sahar Eid, Peter Rogers, and Yu-Hsuan Lin

Travel Grants Awarded

Evans Njambere, Jason Ingram and Renuka Attanayake all received the Graduate School travel grants to support their travel to the upcoming Annual APS Meeting. A total of 63 students submitted proposals and just 35 students were selected to receive awards.

Olufemi Alabi was selected as the receipient of the Gustaaf A. de Zoeten Student Travel Award and Jeremiah Dung was selected as the receipient of the Albert Paulus Student Travel Award. Both these awards were presented by the APS Foundation for travel to the upcoming Annual APS Meeting. Renuka Attanayake and Evans Njambere also received the APS Foundation Student travel awards, in addition to the WSU Graduate School Student travel awards.

Sahar Eid, PhD student with Dr. Hanu Pappu, was selected to receive the Nellie Townley Heald Memorial Scholarship to support her attendance at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society in Minneapolis, MN. Sahar will be presenting results of her ongoing research on the molecular characterization of plant pararetroviruses in cultivated and wild Dahlia spp.

Congratulations to all!

WSU Plant Pathology at Mushroom Maynia

On May 4 the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle hosted “Mushroom Maynia”, an event covering all things mycological.  Several hundred natural history enthusiasts of all ages enjoyed a wide range of activities ranging from mycophagy to mycophilately and viewed lectures and displays on the roles of fungi in natural and urban ecosystems.  The Department of Plant Pathology was represented by faculty member Dr. Dean Glawe and WSU Master Gardeners Wanda Booth, Marilyn Tilbury, and Jane Tobin who hosted a display on the role of fungi as plant pathogens.  In addition to providing information on Master Gardener clinics and activities in western Washington, the display featured research projects of Dr. Glawe and undergraduate student researchers in his program at the University of Washington.

Department of Plant Pathology mycologist Dean Glawe and WSU Master Gardeners Wanda Booth and Jane Tobin (not pictured: Marilyn Tilbury

WSU News Feature

Ralph Young, a general physical sciences graduate mentored by Dr. David Weller, was featured in WSU News for his work with the USDA-ARS Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit’s biofuels project and Native American outreach efforts. Way to go Ralph!

WSU Today Feature

To celebrate Public Service Recognition Week, May 4-10, seven WSU employees will be awarded certificates from the Washington Secretary of State for four decades of service, amoung them is our very own Dr. Jack Rogers. Congratulations Dr. Rogers! Full story

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