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2019

Bautista Jalón successfully defends thesis
December 19, 2019
Laura del Sol Bautista Jalón successfully defended her thesis on December 18, 2019.
Interdisciplinary lecture cultivates collaboration, leadership in plant health
December 18, 2019
The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences held its inaugural Eva J. Pell Interdisciplinary Lecture on Plant Health on Dec. 9. The topic for this year’s lecture — “Where do Abiotic and Biotic Stress Overlap?” — focused on research that could mitigate the impacts of climate change on abiotic and biotic stress in plants.
August 2020 graduate assistantships now available
December 12, 2019
Plant Pathology Graduate Research Assistantships beginning August 2020 are now available for highly-qualified applicants.
Mainello successfully defends thesis
December 12, 2019
Amanda Mainello successfully defended her thesis on December 11, 2019.
Inaugural interdisciplinary lecture to address abiotic, biotic health in plants
December 5, 2019
The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at Penn State will host an inaugural lecture on research that could help mitigate the impacts of climate change on abiotic and biotic stress in plants.
Zhao successfully defends thesis
December 2, 2019
Kaixi Zhao successfully defended her thesis on November 26, 2019.
Diseases and Wildlife
November 25, 2019
In the 6th episode of the Reach podcast, we discuss diseases in wildlife. We joined Dr. Kurt Vandegrift in the field to learn how research is conducted using ticks and mice, and how he is trying to prevent the next big epidemic. Next, we speak with Dr. Marilyn Roossinck about white-nose syndrome and it is endangering little brown bats.
World War II paratrooper with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star talks about the war
November 25, 2019
On Dec. 4, 1944, in the jungles of the Philippines during World War II, Penn State alumnus Leon Kneebone, now age 99, found himself leading a platoon of 50 to 60 men on a scouting mission to help locate the Japanese position. With two of these soldiers working as scouts, picking their way through the terrain on the island of Leyte, the group moved very slowly up a hill, surveying their surroundings for any possible signs of the enemy.
Penn State research projects awarded USDA organic agriculture grants
November 18, 2019
Three organic-agriculture projects led by faculty members in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have received grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Penn State's Latinx Agricultural Network aims to help Latinx members of PA's agriculture industry
November 15, 2019
Emma Rosenthal and Ilsa Huerta, both graduate students in the College of Agricultural Sciences, began working together in 2017 because of a shared realization.
Castro Passes Qualifying Exam
November 12, 2019
Congratulations to Johanny for passing his qualifying exam on November 8.
Martin Passes Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam
November 11, 2019
Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Phillip L Martin for passing his comprehensive examination.
Hsieh-Feng Passes Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam
November 8, 2019
Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Vicki Hsieh-Feng for passing her comprehensive examination.
Blooms and Shrooms Club reveals new world at Penn State
October 30, 2019
From the polypores forming on the trees to the white caps emerging from the ground, mushrooms and other fungi abound around Penn State.
Alumnus secures $1.5 million for Start-Up
October 28, 2019
Hunter Swisher, 2016 plant sciences graduate and entrepreneur, recently secured up to $1.5 million in new investment funding for Phospholutions, his startup fertilizer solution company.
Doctoral student in College of Agricultural Sciences creates global connections
October 24, 2019
As a de la Torre Scholar in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Terry Torres-Cruz aspires to foster relationships between the college and Latin America by sharing her connections and experiences.
Lauritzen Passes Oral Qualifying Exam
October 23, 2019
Congratulations to Elisa Lauritzen for passing her oral qualifying exam on October 22.
Approaches Towards Soil Probiotics
October 23, 2019
Microbial inoculants - soil probiotics - is not a new concept, but the challenge remains how to take products from labs to effectively work in the ag fields.
Microbial Inoculants for Agricultural Soils – Potential and Challenges
October 21, 2019
Researchers from the Penn State Microbiome Manipulation Lab are interested in the effects of plant-associated microbiomes on crop productivity.
Shih Passes Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam
October 18, 2019
Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Justin Shih for passing his comprehensive examination.
Students support fusarium research in strategic partnership with Penn State
October 17, 2019
Two graduate students from South Africa recently had the opportunity to expand their research, develop a mentorship network and increase multicultural fluency as a result of a strategic partnership between the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria.
Kaminsky passes qualifying exam
October 11, 2019
Congratulations to Laura for passing her qualifying exam on October 11.
Latinx Agricultural Network formed at Penn State to address community's needs
October 10, 2019
A new strategic planning group at Penn State seeks to enhance engagement and continue to provide support to Pennsylvania’s Latinx agricultural community.
CRISPR/Cas-Mediated Base Editing: Technical Considerations and Practical Applications named one of the best new reviews for October
October 9, 2019
Just in time for major scientific meetings at the end of the year—namely the SFN (Society for Neuroscience) meeting, which is a highlight for neuroscientists, and the ASHG (American Society for Human Genetics) meeting, which is a key meeting for geneticists—this month's editor picks highlight articles that address century-old questions while providing new answers.
Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Welcomes Assistant Professor of Soilborne Disease Dynamics and Management
October 7, 2019
The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will welcome a new faculty member on February 1, 2020.
Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Professor Emerita Eva Pell Pens Children's Book
October 7, 2019
After working at Penn State for 36 years and then retiring as undersecretary for science at the Smithsonian Institution, Eva Pell is writing children’s books. Pell was the senior vice president for research at Penn State and dean of the Graduate School, and a professor of plant pathology. Now, she is taking her background in science and bringing it to the first in a series of books focused on 11- and 12-year-old cousins who, along with their grandmother, use their intellect and passion to rescue animals.
Plant pathologist awarded grant to aid global study of seedborne pathogens
October 3, 2019
A nearly $4 million grant awarded to Penn State will support an interdisciplinary, multi-university team of researchers as they explore bacterial pathogens causing leaf spot diseases that are damaging valuable agricultural crops such as watermelon and pumpkin.
Iturralde Martinez successfully defends thesis
September 23, 2019
Juan Francisco Iturralde Martinez successfully defended his thesis on September 20, 2019.
Trailblazers: Carolee Bull Investigates the Microbiome
September 18, 2019
Interdisciplinary work truly defines Carolee Bull, director of Penn State's Microbiome Center and professor and department head of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology. Her research centers around translational taxonomy which is the use of bacterial systematics, combined with epidemiology, and population biology of bacterial plant and mushroom pathogens and biological control agents to manage plant and mushroom diseases. Bull’s work spans some of the most pressing issues of food security, such as global seed health.
Paukett Passes Qualifying Exam
September 12, 2019
Congratulations to Michelle for passing her qualifying exam on September 12.
Graduate student awarded Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant
August 27, 2019
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program selected Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu as a recipient for the 2019 Graduate Student Research Grant Award.
AG Journeys: Melissa Mercado
August 26, 2019
At Penn State, step out of the classroom and into the greatest laboratory in the world—the Pennsylvania wilds, a hive of agricultural activity in every direction.
Torres-Cruz Passes Qualifying Exam
August 19, 2019
Congratulations to Terry for passing her qualifying exam on August 19.
Vegetable pathology professor receives Excellence in Extension Award
August 15, 2019
Beth Gugino, professor of vegetable pathology in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, received this year’s Excellence in Extension Award presented by the American Phytopathological Society. This year’s meeting, Plant Health 2019, was held in Cleveland, Ohio, from Aug. 3 to 7.
Boudreau Promoted to Associate Teaching Professor
July 29, 2019
Mark Boudreau, professor of biology at Penn State Brandywine, has been promoted to associate teaching professor, effective July 1, 2019. Boudreau also serves as a courtesy faculty member for the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Held Passes Qualifying Exam
July 25, 2019
Congratulations to Jeremy Held for passing his qualifying exam on July 25.
Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes Symposium white paper most read in Phytobiomes Journal
July 22, 2019
A team of researchers at Penn State, in collaboration with other universities and industry across the U.S. and Canada, published a white paper from the Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes Symposium held at University Park, PA, in June 2018. As of July 22, 2019, the paper is the most read paper in the APS journal Phytobiomes.
Ag Progress Days spotlights spotted lanternflies, plant diseases, robots in ag
July 19, 2019
Spotted lanternflies, invasive plant diseases, robots in agriculture and education, and foreign animal diseases will be among the topics highlighted in displays and presentations at the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building and Theatre during Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 13-15.
Penn State scientists expanding work to help farmers learn about industrial hemp
June 27, 2019
With the passage of the 2018 farm bill and new regulations that allow the crop to be grown for sale for a range of uses, hemp production in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has taken off, with more than 300 permits approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture this year.
Grant funds citrus greening resistance research
June 14, 2019
Tim McNellis, an associate professor in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, received a $171,000 grant from the Citrus Research and Development Foundation to research citrus greening resistance.
Industry groups award funding for fruit research and extension projects
June 14, 2019
New and ongoing tree-fruit research in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences received a boost with the recent awarding of funds totaling more than $261,000 by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Apple Program.
Walls successfully defends thesis
June 11, 2019
Joseph Walls successfully defended his thesis on June 10, 2019.
May successfully defends dissertation
June 10, 2019
Sara May successfully defended her dissertation on June 10.
PPEM welcomes new courtesy faculty member
June 7, 2019
The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology recently welcomed Assistant Professor of International Agriculture, Melanie Miller Foster.
Annual Penn State Flower Trials is a labor of love for organizers, volunteers
June 6, 2019
Each May, Sinclair Adam, Alyssa Collins, and a pack of faithful staff and volunteers at Penn State’s Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center pull off a logistical — and exhausting — feat, all for the love of flowers.
NIFA awards grant for microbial stress tolerance research
May 31, 2019
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently awarded Kevin Hockett $453,000 to assist in research focusing on how microbes tolerate distinct stresses.
Faculty Awarded General Education Microgrant
May 28, 2019
The Office for General Education recently awarded a General Education Microgrant to Timothy McNellis, an associate professor of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, in the amount of $500.
Happy 99th Birthday to the Mushroom Master, Leon Kneebone
May 28, 2019
A World War II veteran who nearly died in battle, a world-renowned mushroom researcher and a volunteer who has has had a huge impact on the Centre County community — today Leon Kneebone turns 99 years old.
Workshop series provides foundation for writing
May 24, 2019
The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences recently concluded a seven-session writing productivity workshop on April 28, 2019.
Pecchia Promoted to Associate Research Professor
May 20, 2019
John Pecchia has been promoted to the rank of associate research professor, effective July 1, 2019.
Peter Promoted to Associate Research Professor
May 20, 2019
Kari Peter has been promoted to the rank of associate research professor, effective July 1, 2019.
Collins Promoted to Associate Research Professor
May 20, 2019
Alyssa Collins has been promoted to the rank of associate research professor, effective July 1, 2019.
Klee receives Alumni Association Dissertation Award
May 14, 2019
Sara Klee, a doctoral student in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology and USDA NIFA Predoctoral Fellow, has been selected as a recipient of the 2019 Alumni Association Dissertation Award.
Plant pathology, environmental microbiology doctoral student receives NSF award
May 13, 2019
Laura Kaminsky, a doctoral student in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will be able to advance her research interests in plant pathology after receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Ge successfully defends thesis
May 13, 2019
Siyi Ge successfully defended her thesis on May 10, 2019.
Gugino Promoted to Full Professor
May 10, 2019
Beth Gugino has been promoted to the rank of full professor, effective July 1, 2019.
Student entrepreneur takes blood tests from the waiting room to the living room
May 9, 2019
Using Penn State’s entrepreneurial resources, biology student Sherveen “Shevy” Karbasi is bringing complete blood count testing out of the clinic and onto a smartphone.
Penn State graduate students visit Capitol Hill, discuss science-based policy
May 6, 2019
Members of the Penn State Science Policy Society recently visited Washington, D.C., where they met with officials from several congressional offices and nongovernmental organizations to discuss the promotion of science and evidence-based policy.
Penn State Extension marks milestone in outreach to Spanish-speaking growers
May 6, 2019
For close to a decade, Jorge Manzo has worked at McCleaf’s Orchard, a fifth-generation family farm near Gettysburg in Adams County, where he is responsible for preparing a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for market, including a few of his favorites — kiwi, blackberries and raspberries.
Wallace Passes Oral Qualifying Exam
April 29, 2019
Congratulations to Emma Wallace for passing her oral qualifying exam on April 26.
Ehau-Taumaunu awarded newly established Phytobiomes Fellowship
April 24, 2019
Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu, doctoral candidate in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been selected as the recipient of the Phytobiomes Fellowship for the 2019-20 academic year.
Yang's genome editing technology leads to Research Innovators Award
April 17, 2019
Yinong Yang, professor of plant pathology, is the 2019 recipient of the Research Innovators Award, given by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences to recognize faculty and staff who have commercialized intellectual property generated by their Penn State research.
Klee Successfully Defends Dissertation
April 12, 2019
Sara Klee successfully defended her dissertation on April 12.
Something is rapidly killing young apple trees in North American orchards. Scientists are stumped
April 1, 2019
Six years ago, an unpleasant surprise greeted plant pathologist Kari Peter as she inspected a research orchard in Pennsylvania. Young apple trees were dying—and rapidly. At first, she suspected a common pathogen, but chemical treatments didn't help. The next year, she began to hear reports of sudden deaths from across the United States and Canada. In North Carolina, up to 80% of orchards have shown suspicious symptoms. "Rows of trees collapse for what seems like no reason," says Peter, who works at the Pennsylvania State University Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville.
Remembering Professor Emeritus John M. Skelly
March 25, 2019
John M. Skelly, 78 Sr., Ph.D., 78, passed away Friday, March 22, 2019.
Klee receives College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Dissertation Award
March 18, 2019
Sara Klee, doctoral student in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology and USDA NIFA Predoctoral Fellow, has been selected as a recipient of the 2019 College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Dissertation Award.
PA farm show provides opportunity to network
February 28, 2019
The 103 PA Farm Show took place on January 5 – 12 and was held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg. Members from the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, along with other members of the College of Agricultural Sciences and members of the Mushrooms Framers of Pennsylvania (MFPA) volunteered at the event.
Assessment details impact of pests and pathogens on world’s major food crops
February 27, 2019
Pests and diseases are taking a substantial bite out of the world’s five major food crops — in some cases, up to 40 percent — according to a recently released publication, one of the first to inventory the impact on a global scale.
Plant pathology students embrace science and diversity at national conference
February 7, 2019
Students and faculty members from the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences recently attended the National Diversity in STEM Conference.
'A fungus among us': Penn State Mushroom Spawn Lab aids industry
January 30, 2019
When Tomas Lowenstein of Agricola La Reina, a mushroom farm in Miranda, Venezuela, needs spawn, or "seed," to grow his crops, his chosen point of contact isn't around the corner or even in the country. It's more than 2,200 miles away in a laboratory on Penn State's University Park campus.
May Passes Doctoral Comprehensive Exam
January 18, 2019
Congratulations to doctoral candidate Sara May for passing her comprehensive examination.