Exhibit celebrates 50 years of plant pathology

"Healthy Plants for a Healthy World: 50 Years of Plant Pathology at Penn State,” an exhibit, will be on display June 5 to Sept. 17, in The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, Penn State University Park. General exhibit hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday–Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The exhibit also will be open during the special events times. Call 814-865-1793 to confirm times.

The public is invited to the exhibit grand opening and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the beginnings of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology on from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on June 7,  in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, followed by a reception in Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library. Presentations will be featured by George Abawi, Cornell University professor and president-elect of the American Phytopathological Society; Barbara Christ, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and faculty member and former head of the department; and Frederick Gildow, current department head.

Additional special events throughout the summer are described at the end of this release.

Plant Pathology has a long tradition at Penn State as one of the first of seven undergraduate majors described in the College of Agriculture in 1908. In 1913, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology was formed and the first graduate degree in plant pathology was awarded in 1915. Botany and plant pathology parted ways amicably in 1963, with the formation of the new Department of Plant Pathology, with James Tammen as the first department head. Recently, the faculty elected to broaden the focus of the department to include environmental microbiology, a discipline closely associated with plant pathology concepts and encompassing the research disciplines of many faculty. This year, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the department and its first year as the Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Department.

Today, the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is dedicated to being an international leader in the integration of research, teaching and extension for the protection of food and fiber crops; for the maintenance of a healthy and sustainable environment; and for understanding the role of microorganisms in the environment. The focus of the faculty is on innovative research, excellence in mentoring students, productivity in scholarship and outreach service to society. 

Plant pathology research and practice are vital to human society with the focus on the growth of healthy plants for individual landscaping plants to beautify living spaces, as fields of crop plants for the food supply and as regional populations of plants, such as forests, needed to maintain an inhabitable ecosystem. For additional details, see http://plantpath.psu.edu

Special events:
Note: For all campus tours, members of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology will briefly introduce the public to the exhibit and to the science of plant pathology and then lead a walking tour of plants on campus, highlighting the common diseases of trees, shrubs, and ground covers, what causes them, and how they can be managed.

• June 15, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., “The Elm Story,” Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
Gary Moorman, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, will discuss Dutch elm disease and elm yellows, two diseases that threaten the largest stand of mature American elms in eastern U. S., and past and future plans to protect these icons of Penn State.
2:30 to 3:30 p.m., campus plant tour

• June 22, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., campus plant tour, meet in exhibit area, The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library

• June 29, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., “Phytophthora, the plant pathogen,” Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
Beth Gugino, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, will talk about Phytophthora, the plant pathogen that won't go away. Phytophthora infestans is the plant pathogen that precipitated the Irish potato famine and devastated potato crops in northern Europe in the mid- to late-1800s, and its study led directly to the establishment of plant pathology as a science. This pathogen, which devastated tomato plants throughout eastern North America in 2009, has changed American history and continues to threaten crops worldwide.
2:30 to 3:30 p.m., campus plant tour

• July 17, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., campus plant tour, meet in exhibit area, The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library

July 20, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., “Mushroom production: from art to science,” Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
John Pecchia, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, will discuss the history of mushroom production and detail the important contributions Penn State scientists have made and continue to make to mushroom production as well as Pennsylvania’s role as the major producer of fresh market mushrooms in North America.
2:30 to 3:30 p.m., campus plant tour

• July 24, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Campus plant tour, meet in exhibit area, The Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library

• Aug. 24, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., “Plants get sick too!” Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
Frederick Gildow, department head in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, will discuss the successful efforts made by Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture scientists to save peach production in Pennsylvania from the devastating plant disease, Plum Pox Virus.

For more information or for accessibility accommodations, contact Jackie Esposito at jxe2@psu.edu or 814-863-3791 or Gary Moorman at gmoorman@psu.edu or 814-863-7401.

Contacts: 
Last Updated June 03, 2013