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Washington State University Factsheets

Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Pathology

Faculty working with Students: 32
Students: 36
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 97.22%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall January 10
  • Spring July 1
Campus:
  • Pullman: Yes
Tests required:
  • 7.0 IELTS Minimum score
  • 550 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 80 TOEFLI Minimum score

Degree Description:

Doctorate in Plant Pathology requires graded course work and completion of dissertation research. The degree involves study in mycology, bacteriology, nematology, virology, disease physiology and biochemistry, molecular biology of host-parasite relationships, etiology, ecology and epidemiology of plant diseases, disease resistance, and integrated disease management by developing and deploying cultural, chemical, biological, and biotechonological approaches.

Admission Requirements:

Submit all of the materials listed below to the WSU Graduate School:
Three letters of recommendation;
Statement of Purpose explaining why you wish to earn a Ph.D. at WSU Plant Pathology;
Official Transcripts for all colleges and universities attended.

Student Learning Outcome:

All graduates will be able to:

    1.  To enable students earning the M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology to understand and apply the scientific method to plant pathological problems, to develop critical thinking and  professional skills needed for successful careers in public and private sectors, the program provides training and coursework to help students develop the following skills:
        1.  Understanding, interpretation and synthesis of scientific literature pertaining to plant pathology and related disciplines.
        2.  Formulating hypotheses; developing experimental designs to test these hypotheses; establishing and maintaining experiments.
        3.  Collecting data in an objective way and conducting appropriate statistical analyses.
        4.  Interpretation and presentation of research results in oral and written formats.
        5.  Presentation of research at professional meetings and local commodity meetings.
        6.  Publication of research in peer-reviewed scientific journals and other discipline-appropriate outlets such as commodity newsletters.
    2.  To maintain a leadership role in plant pathology and related disciplines at the state, national and international levels, the program aims to:
        1.  Attract, retain and train high quality graduate students.
        2.  Place students earning the M.S. into positions including extension agents, state and federal plant pathologists, instructors at the community college level, support  scientists in public or private sector research programs, and Ph.D. programs.
        3.  Place students earning the Ph.D. as leaders of scientific research programs in the public or private sector including industry, and faculty positions at the University  level.

Faculty Members:

Carris, Lori Marie, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

The biology and systematics of plant pathogenic fungi, with emphasis on smut fungi (Tilletia and allied genera). Research on Tilletia species focuses on species complexes infecting cultivated (Triticum, Lolium, Poa, Festuca, etc.) and wild grass hosts (Apera, Bromus, Poa, Vulpia, etc.) using morphological, cytological and molecular methods. Current research also on diversity and mitosporic stages of morels, false morels and allied taxa in the Pacific Northwest.

Chastagner, Gary A, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum), management of diseases of ornamental bulb crops and Christmas trees, and factors that affect the postharvest quality of Christmas trees.

Chen, Weidong, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Fungal diseases of grain legumes, ecology and epidemiology of grain legume diseases, genetics of host-pathogen interactions

Chen, Xianming, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Rusts of cereal crops, epidemiology and control of rusts, disease resistance, and host-pathogen interactions

Dugan, Frank Matthews, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Ascomycetes and associated anamorphs, fungi endophytic in higher plants

Dutoit, Lindsey J, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Epidemiology and management of diseases affecting vegetable seed crops (primarily small-seeded vegetables) in the Pacific Northwest

Eastwell, Kenneth C, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Gleason, Cynthia, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Plant parasitic nematodes, root-know nematodes, interactions with host plants.

Grove, Gary, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Epidemiology and forecasting of fungal diseases of cherries, peaches/nectarines, and grapes: epidemiology of powdery mildews, and electronic information transfer

Hadwiger, Lee A, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Genetic engineering of disease resistance in plants, gene activation in fungi and plants, signaling in host- parasite interactions

Harper, Scott, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

My research program focuses on viruses and other systemic pathogens of perennial crops in the Pacific Northwest, particularly those infecting fruit trees (Malus and Prunus spp.), grapevine (Vitis sp.), and Hops (Humulus lupus). Aspects of my research include:

-The interaction of viruses with one another, and how this affects basic biological processes such as virus movement, transmission, and the expression of disease; I have a particular interest to see whether we can use virus-virus interactions to control diseases in perennials.
-The viral infection process, tissue tropism and how this relates to disease – and to our ability to detect and eradicate viruses.
-The detection and identification of novel viruses, as well as the development of new assays and tools for virus diagnosis.

Hulbert, Scot Howard, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Management of diseases and pests through genetics and modifications of cropping systems. Genetic and molecular basis of race specific and nonspecific resistance in cereal crops. Methods for the development of cultivars with resistance that remains effective. Molecular mechanisms used by fungal pathogens to attack cereal crops. Development of cropping systems that are profitable but conservation oriented.

Inglis, Debra Ann, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Diseases of specialty vegetable crops, and their control.

Johnson, Dennis A, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Epidemiology and disease management of potato diseases, mint diseases, and extension plant pathology

Klopfenstein, Ned, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

forest pathology, molecular diagnostics of forest microbes, population genetics of forest hosts and pathogens, phylogenetics of forest pathogens, environmental influences on genetic structure of forest hosts and pathogens, woody plant defense systems, host/parasite interactions, expression of plant defense genes, and plant symbioses.

Mazzola, Mark, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Development of biologically-based sustainable methods to enhance overall plant health and control soilborne diseases, with emphasis on organic agro-ecosystems.

Murray, Timothy Daniel, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Small grain diseases (foot and root rots of wheat), ecology and epidemiology of soilborne pathogens, genetics of disease resistance, and chemical control

Navarre, Duroy, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Okubara, Patricia, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Host genes governing plant-microbe interactions, molecular basis of disease resistance and biological control of cereal root pathogens

Pappu, Hanu, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Virus genomics and proteomics, plant-virus interactions, molecular epidemiology, crop biotechnology/virus resistant transgenic plants

Paulitz, Tim, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Soilborne pathogens of cereals, mycology

Peever, Tobin, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular, population and evolutionary genetics of plant pathogenic fungi, fungal mating systems, molecular systematics of fungi, fungal ecology and epidemiology, legume diseases

Porter, Lyndon D, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Rayapati, Naidu A, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Plant virology, molecular biology of plant viruses, genomics of virus-vector-host interactions, virus diagnostics and management strategies, virus diseases of horticultural crops with emphasis on grapes and vegetables, virus diseases in international agriculture.

Rogers, Jack, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Biology of fungi, especially Ascomycetes; taxonomy of Ascomycetes; pathology of forest trees

See, Deven Robert, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Wheat genetics, genomics, pre-breeding discovery of agronomically important traits including stripe rust (Puccinia striformis f. sp. tritici) resistance in wheat.

Tanaka, Kiwamu, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular plant-microbe interactions and plant innate immunity

Thomashow, Linda S, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular genetics of bacterial-plant and bacterial-fungal interactions.

Vandemark, George J, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Legume germplasm and basic and applied investigations of problems associated with legume improvement.

Weller, David M, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Biological control, influence of bacteria on take-all of wheat, cereal diseases, bacteriology

Xiao, Chang-Lin

Serves as: co-chair or member on graduate committee

Yu, Long-Xi, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Applying genomic tools for enhancing resistance to biotic and abiotic stress in forage crops.

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