Posted: March 1, 2017

Dr. Thomas K. Mitchell, former undergraduate in the Royse Lab, was promoted to full professor at Ohio State in February 2017.

Penn State alumnus Dr. Thomas K. Mitchell (B.S. Plant Science, 1992) was recently promoted to Full Professor at The Ohio State University.

As a Plant Science undergraduate student with a focus on genetics, Mitchell worked in the lab of Dr. Daniel Royse. Under Dr. Royse's guidance, Mitchell cultured mushrooms and was involved in morel sclerotia production and the development of Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. His early departmental claim to fame was being one of the first to get a successful Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), having used a little ingenuity to decrease ramp times by placing the old PCR machine into the basement cold-room.

Miller spent much of his undergraduate career working with bacteria, fungi, fungal viruses, and molecular genetics, and conducted research at the Mushroom Research Center with Dr. Royse and Dr. Peter Romaine. He attributes his passion for science and plant pathology to the influence of Penn State faculty and staff who paved the way for his success.

Dr. Mitchell subsequently earned his M.S. in Plant Pathology at Clemson in 1995 and in 2000 finished his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University. In addition to teaching, Miller's career comprises an impressive fifteen years of major funded projects, more than fifty refereed journal articles, books, book chapters, extension and technical publications, and numerous honors and awards.

Currently, Mitchell advises many students majoring in plant pathology, plant health management, and other STEM fields. He shares with them the same advice his Penn State adviser, Dr. Felix Lukezic, shared with him many years ago: "Get working in your discipline as soon as possible and experience as many different types of research as possible."

Mitchell encourages his students to become well rounded in diverse aspects of the field during and after their graduate careers and highly recommends that they become involved in professional societies such as The American Phytopathological Society (APS), which positively impacted Dr. Mitchell's professional development and identity. He received the 2016 APS Outstanding Volunteer Award and serves as APS Director of the Office of Education.