Gildow named head of Penn State Plant Pathology Department

University Park, Pa. — Frederick Gildow, professor in Penn State's Department of Plant Pathology, has been named head of the department, effective immediately. He succeeds Barbara Christ, who assumed the post of senior associate dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences in January.

"Fred Gildow is the embodiment of the land-grant scholar," says Robert Steele, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "Over the past 25 years, his research has generated knowledge that has placed him at the forefront in combating major plant-disease outbreaks in Pennsylvania and nationally, and his skill in the classroom has led to his recognition as one of our finest teachers. We're delighted to have someone of his experience and caliber to lead the Plant Pathology Department."
 
Gildow received his bachelor's degree in zoology and master's degree in botany from Ohio University and his doctorate in plant pathology from Cornell University. From 1980 to 1983, he was assistant professor of plant pathology at the University of California at Berkeley.
 
He joined the Penn State faculty as assistant professor of plant pathology in 1983, advanced to associate professor in 1989 and achieved the rank of full professor in 1998.
 
Gildow's research focuses on plant virology and insect transmission of plant viruses, with an emphasis on virus transmission by aphids. During the early 1990s, he collaborated with Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture scientists to tackle an emerging tomato spotted wilt virus epidemic in vegetable and ornamental greenhouses.
 
More recently, he worked with state and federal agriculture officials to identify the primary aphid vectors of plum pox virus — a new invasive pathogen in Pennsylvania — and verified a method of transmission through infected fruit. This research provided critical information needed to develop control strategies for plum pox, which could decimate Pennsylvania stone fruit crops, such as peaches.
 
Gildow teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses in plant pathology and is faculty advisor for the Plant Pathology minor. He won the Department of Plant Pathology Teaching Award in 2008 and the Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Agricultural Sciences in 2007.
 
A member of the American Phytopathological Society and the Entomological Society of America, he has authored more than 80 articles in scientific journals and books.
 
Gildow will oversee a department with more than 50 faculty and staff, and more than 40 graduate students and post-doctoral associates.
 
The mission of the Department of Plant Pathology is to engage in quality research, education, cooperative extension and outreach in phytopathology, mycology and mushroom science, with emphasis on the management of plant diseases and the understanding of relationships among plants, pathogens and the environment.
 
The department offers the Plant Pathology graduate program and participates in interdepartmental graduate programs in Ecology, Environmental Pollution Control, Genetics and Plant Physiology. The department also offers courses in the interdepartmental Agroecology undergraduate major and is home to minors in Plant Pathology and Mushroom Science.
Contacts: 
Last Updated March 19, 2009