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Alumnus Castaño-Zapata Recognized by Colombia's Ministry of Education

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Posted: March 10, 2017

Alumnus Dr. Jairo Castaño Zapata (Ph.D., 1981), was recognized by Colombia's Ministry of Education on March 10.
Image: Jairo Castaño Zapata, Universidad de Caldas

Image: Jairo Castaño Zapata, Universidad de Caldas

On March 10, 2017, the Ministry of Education of Colombia conferred on Penn State alumnus Dr. Jairo Castaño Zapata (Ph.D. Plant Pathology, 1981) an institutional recognition for the qualified registration of the master's degree program in Plant Pathology at the Universidad de Caldas, in Manizales. Since 2000 Dr. Castaño Zapata, Distinguished Professor and Researcher in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, has successfully directed this program, which is the only one of its kind in Colombia.


The Masters in Phytopathology of the University of Caldas, has obtained the renewal of its qualified record by means of Resolution 04201 of March 10, 2017, of the Ministry of National Education. For this reason, from the Academic Vice-Rectory we want to make a special recognition to the teacher Jairo Castaño Zapata-Coordinator of the program, the Committee of Self-Evaluation and the academic community of the Masters for this important achievement. We are sure that, due to its proven quality conditions, the program will continue to be a national reference in advanced training for professionals in the agricultural and biological sector, always focused on training processes with excellence and social commitment. | Image: Jairo Castaño Zapata, Universidad de Caldas

Career Markers

1968 B.S. Agricultural Engineer, Agronomy Faculty of the Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia.

1970 Internal Postgraduate in the rice program, International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Palmira, Colombia.

1973 M.S. Plant Pathology, Colegio de Postgraduados de Chapingo, Mexico.

1975 Researcher, CIAT cassava program.

1981 Ph.D. Plant Pathology, Penn State. Drs. David R. MacKenzie and Richard R. Nelson were co-advisers. Castaño Zapata’s thesis was titled, “Identification and testing of rate-limiting resistance of rice (Oryza sativa L.) to blast disease caused by Pyricularia oryzae Cav.”

Castaño Zapata has two fond anecdotes of Dr. Nelson. First, before Castaño Zapata’s oral exams, Nelson advised him, "Any time you are asked something, and you are not sure of the answer, respond, 'I do not know.' Never try to guess!"

Second, Nelson always invited Castano-Zapata to his office five minutes before exams to give him one penny from his pocket and say, "Good luck, Jairo." Castano-Zapata always keeps one of those lucky pennies in his wallet. He writes, "I am in debt of that loved department, whose great teachers prepared me intellectually; and consequently, I love that great university, which allowed me to be a successful professional."

1981 Postdoctoral Fellowship, CIAT rice program. Castaño Zapata developed a field method for screening germplasm of rice against blast disease and conducted research on the main diseases of rice, especially grain discoloration caused by Helminthosporium oryzae.

1983 Visiting Postdoctoral Scientist, CIAT bean program.

1985 Associate Professor, Escuela Agrícola Panamericana (EAP), Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Castaño Zapata worked as the main researcher in Plant Pathology and led the Diagnostic Center, a leading center in Central America. He wrote several books, the most important being a treatise on Plant Pathology (two editions) and prepared ten tutorials on topics related to plant pathology.

1986 National Prize "Rafael Obregón" of the Colombian Association of Plant Pathology and Related Sciences (ASCOLFI).

1987 Plant Protection Specialist, Sukarami Reseach Institute (SARIF) in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Castaño Zapata trained the institute staff in plant pathology and developed a field method for screening germplasm of rice against blast (Magnaporthe grisea, anamorph Pyricularia oryzae).

1991 Associate Professor, Escuela Agrícola Panamericana (EAP), Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

1994–present Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia. He formed a research group on plantain, one of the most important staple foods of Colombia. Since the creation of the group, he has authored or co-authored 45 scientific publications on etiology, epidemiology, and management of diseases of plantain. At the Faculty, he has been President of 51 students conducting thesis research: 28 in the Agronomy Program and 23 in the Master Degree Program. He has published more than 290 scientific publications on themes related to Plant Pathology.

1996 Prize Universidad de Caldas to the Scientific Activity.

1997 National Prize Rhone Poulenc, Agro Sector, Colombia.

1997-present Founder and Editor, Fitotecnia (ISSN 0124-7581). As of February 2017, he has published 240 consecutive monthly issues (March 1997-February 2017).

1998 Distinguished Professor of the Universidad de Caldas, Manizales.

2000-present Director, M.S. program, Universidad de Caldas, Manizales. Castaño Zapata teaches Research Methodology, Advanced Plant Pathology, Mycology, Epidemiology, and Integrated Disease Management, and in the Agronomy Program: Etiology of Plant Diseases, Plant Protection, Phytoepidemiology, and Profundization in Plant Health.

2003 Correspondent Member of the Colombian Academy of Exact Sciences, Physical and Naturals (ACCEFYN).

2006 Prize to the Integral Work of a Scientist, granted by the Colombian Academy of Exact Sciences, Physical and Naturals (ACCEFYN).

2007 Meritorious Graduate of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Universidad de Caldas and awarded the “Order Humberto Gallego Gamboa” as the most outstanding graduate of the Universidad de Caldas, Manizales.

2008Golden Shield to the Merit Teacher” of the Universidad de Caldas, Manizales.

2011 Prize to the Life and Work of a Researcher in Plant Pathology and Related Sciences in Colombia–Héctor Delgado Zambrano-2010, of the Colombian Association of Plant Pathology and Related Sciences (ASCOLFI).

2015 Nominated to the XXV National Prize of Scientific Merit category “Life and Work” of the Colombian Association for the Advancement of Science (ACAC).

2017 Recognized by the Colombian government for the qualified registration of the master's degree program in Plant Pathology at the Universidad de Caldas, Manizales.

Photos

Dr. Castaño Zapata sent these pictures from Colombia, "this beautiful country, where we produce the best coffee of the world and have the highest biodiversity also of the world."


Image: Jairo Castaño Zapata, Universidad de Caldas


Image: Jairo Castaño Zapata, Universidad de Caldas


"Snowy del Ruiz and active Volcano Arenas," located in front of the Castaño Zapata home in Manizales, the heart of the coffee area | Image: Jairo Castaño Zapata, Universidad de Caldas