Discover the impact of microbes on life.

The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology conducts critical research on the impacts of microbes in agricultural and natural ecosystems essential to sustaining life and the environment. We are proud to be part of a collaborative Tier 1 Research University, devoting the resources needed to maintain world-class facilities and attract talented faculty, staff, and students.

Microbial Diversity and Ecology

This area of research investigates the genomics, systematics, and evolution of fungi, bacteria, and viruses; the interactions of these organisms with each other, their environment including important hosts; and the evolution of these interactions.

Mushroom Science and Technology

Research focuses on improving commercial mushroom production through disease control and studying and manipulating microbial ecology and population dynamics during the composting process. The Penn State Mushroom Research Center (MRC) is one of the few research facilities in the world dedicated to mushroom research.

Plant Disease Management

This research is focused on translating knowledge about the biotic, abiotic, and environmental causes of plant diseases into effective, economically feasible, and environmentally sound disease management strategies.

Plant-Microbe Interactions

Research in this area aims to understand plant-microbe and plant-environment interactions associated with plant growth, health, and disease.

Faculty Labs

Faculty engage in collaborative research efforts with other departments, institutes, colleges, universities, and nations and provide leadership in interdisciplinary research and education through intercollegiate programs.

International Agriculture

The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology has a strong commitment to international agricultural research, extension, and education. We work to apply science to solve the most important problems of our times through global engagement.

Centers and Institutes

Our department collaborates on critical research, education, and outreach at facilities located throughout campus and across the Commonwealth.