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SporePrints 2017-01

Content from the Jan 2017 SporePrints e-newsletter.

Welcome from Carolee

Dear PPEM friends, alumni, emeriti, and members,

2016 was a banner year for the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology (PPEM). As a group, we accomplished a great deal this last year that will set us up for continued growth and success in 2017. We are thrilled to have two talented new faculty join us on Feb. 1, 2017. Microbial Ecologist Dr. Kevin Hockett and Professor of Phytobiomes Dr. Terrence Bell are the first hires in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ contribution to the university-wide Microbiome Initiative. The Microbiome Initiative has been led by our college and PPEM from its inception, and having the first new hires in this area is the result of a massive recruitment effort by the PPEM faculty, staff, and students. There will be more information about the Microbiome Initiative coming soon. We also hope to be able to announce another fruitful recruitment in the coming months.

We are purposefully increasing the value of the PPEM graduate educational experience for graduate students by adding opportunities. This year a Dual-Title in Plant Pathology and Biogeochemistry was established that portends to be a huge recruiting asset. This complements our very successful Dual-Title in Plant Pathology and International Agriculture and Development. Our investment in our exchange program with the University of Pretoria in South Africa blossomed, and as a result, four South Africans will make their way to our department for research this year. Students from PPEM likewise have the opportunity to travel to and research at the University of Pretoria. Additionally, we have started a professional development program that will help students be well prepared for a variety of careers. Incoming students have the opportunity to be trained in Crucial Conversations and mentorship. The new departmental Foundations for Leadership and Innovation Endowment was established to support these types of educational enhancement opportunities and currently any donations to the fund are being matched.

The value of the Penn State education was crystal clear this last year as our graduates were top picks for prestigious positions. Our graduate students won awards, published papers, received grants, and taught us and each other a great deal. These successes helped us to welcome a new passel of energetic and positive graduate students to our program. Additionally, undergraduates from our laboratories joined us at meetings and made their own splashes by presenting research.

The long-term value of a PPEM education was brought home to us with a visit from Dr. Kira Bowen. Current Vice President of the American Phytopathological Society, Dr. Bowen, like many others, got her start in plant pathology through an outstanding research experience in our department. Dr. Bowen has been an ardent supporter of the department, and her visit allowed me to encourage the students, faculty, and staff to continue to invest in the undergraduate researchers in our laboratories because they may just turn out to be the APS president one day.

I hope that you set your 2017 goals to be worthy of your precious time and outstanding preparation. Best wishes for good health in the New Year.

Carolee T. Bull
Head | Professor
Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

Spotlight

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  2. Capasso Accepts UPenn Biosafety Officer Position
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  4. Aynardi Accepts Research Scientist Position
  5. Goodbye to Postdoc Paolo Margaria
  6. Geiser a 2016 Highly Cited Researcher
  7. McNellis Lab and Alumni News in 2016
  8. Alumna Bowen PPEM Workshop and Colloquium Speaker
  9. Blooms and Shrooms Is Blossoming
  10. Getson Reports on NED-APS Annual Meeting
  11. Minkenberg to Iowa for Leadership Course and World Food Prize
  12. Isard Among Experts at National Forum on Climate and Pests

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