Bell Accepts Phytobiomes Asst Prof Position

Posted: October 4, 2016

Terrence Bell has accepted the offer to become PPEM's new Assistant Professor of Phytobiomes on February 1.
Image: Terrence Bell, Cornell University

Image: Terrence Bell, Cornell University

Dr. Terrence Bell will join Penn State’s Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology (PPEM) as Assistant Professor of Phytobiomes starting February 1, 2017. The phytobiome is a relatively new field of research inquiry in which plants and their many associated microorganisms are considered as distinct, yet interdependent, entities which interact with the environment. Phytobiome research has been fueled by new high-throughput sequencing technologies.

Dr. Bell is a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University and is funded by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. His research focuses on the application of high-throughput sequencing technologies to illuminate in the context of human-caused disturbances the dynamics of plants and microorganisms and on guiding the development of microbiomes that enhance plant health in the context of agriculture and soil remediation. He is particularly interested in why introduced microorganisms (such as bioinoculants) succeed or fail in different biotic and abiotic contexts.

Dr. Bell received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, and a master’s degree in biology (specializing in ecology and evolution) from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. He earned his doctorate in natural resource sciences (specializing in environmental microbiology) at McGill University in Montreal, working on contaminated samples from throughout the Arctic, with fieldwork concentrated at Canadian Forces Station (CFS)-Alert, Nunavut, the most northern permanently inhabited site in the world.

Before moving to the Department of Horticulture at Cornell, Dr. Bell worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Montreal Botanical Gardens (affiliated with l’Université de Montréal). He worked within a large collaborative project (GenoRem) that focused on accelerating the effectiveness of phytoremediation by combining multiple high-throughput sequencing-based approaches.

PPEM is excited to have Dr. Bell join Penn State because he values teaching and mentoring. He recently developed a course on microbiomes that he hopes to expand and adapt for Penn State’s new university-wide Microbiome Initiative spearheaded by the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Contact Information

Carolee T. Bull, Ph.D.
  • Department Head, Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
Phone: 814-865-7448