Content from the June 2017 SporePrints e-newsletter.

Welcome from Carolee

Dear PPEM Faculty, Students, Staff, Retirees, Alumni, and Industry Partners,

In the first few months of 2017, PPEM has begun to reap the rewards of work we did in 2016.

The department is growing. Two new faculty members, Drs. Terrence Bell and Kevin Hockett, joined the department on February 1 to fill positions in Phytobiomes and Microbial Ecology. They are growing our Environmental Microbiology emphasis with new research and classes as well as helping our department lead the Microbiome Center, which became an official Center in The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences in January. Dr. Paul Esker agreed to join us as an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Field Crop Pathology on July 1 and will revitalize our efforts and traditional strength in epidemiology. We successfully recruited a 2017-2018 class of six outstanding, highly-competitive graduate students who won top college- and university-level awards.

Our current students won awards this spring that demonstrate that they are getting the training they need to be highly competitive. Students won awards at regional meetings, local student competitions, and in several prominent national competitions. We are particularly impressed by Ph.D. student Phillip Martin, who won the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.

Our exchange program with the University of Pretoria (UP) in South Africa came to fruition with my visit to South Africa in January and UP members' arrival at Penn State in April. Dr. Brenda Wingfield is a sabbatical visitor in Dr. David Geiser's lab, Her participation strengthens our department, as evidenced in part by her popular Friday breakfast-and-research discussion with students, postdocs, and faculty. Visiting Ph.D. student Andi Wilson works with Brenda in the Geiser lab until June 30, and visiting Ph.D. candidate Khumbuzile Bhophela joined the department on Friday, May 26, to stay for the summer.

Unfortunately, we have also had our share of losses this spring. In March fire destroyed the home of Office Manager Diane Yoder. The department, college, and broader community rallied to support Diane and her family, who are grateful to all who pitched in to help. We also mourn the passing on May 10 of dear colleague, friend, former Dept. Head (1975-1976), and Professor Emeritus Dr. James Bloom. Jim was 93 years old and, thanks to his daughter and son-in-law Gretchen and Paul Rebarchak, was able to be a special guest at our winter party in January.

The events of the year and some very special visits with alumni this spring have reminded me that it is a privilege to serve this department. Please continue to stay in touch, send updates, and be sure to visit our Alumni web section for alumni news and information about our recent graduates. I hope you all have a great summer.

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


Latest News

  1. Faculty to Present at Microbiome Center Workshop
  2. Professor Emeritus James R. Bloom, Sr., Dies
  3. Joint Genome Institute Awards Sequencing to Bell
  4. Minkenberg Selected for Alumni Association Dissertation Award
  5. Rosenthal Receives NASA PSGC Graduate Fellowship
  6. Student-Invited Staskawicz Gives R.R. Nelson Memorial Lecture
  7. Visiting Professor Brenda Wingfield Joins PPEM
  8. Gamma Sigma Delta Chapter Recognizes Beyer for Extension Excellence
  9. Wodzicki Places Second in Gamma Sigma Delta Research Expo
  10. Safari's Research Poster Places Second in Grad Exhibition
  11. Elena Christian Wins APS Poster Competition
  12. Penn State Creates New Center for Microbiome Research
  13. New Facility Spawns Enhancements to Penn State Mushroom Research
  14. Roossinck and Thapa Research May Save Bats


Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology


211 Buckhout Lab
University Park, PA 16802