Paul Backman Named Associate Dean For Research In Penn State's College Of Agricultural Sciences

January 14, 1998

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Paul Backman, director of the Biological Control Institute at Auburn University since 1993, has been named associate dean for research and graduate education and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station in the College of Agricultural Sciences, effective January 15.

"Dr. Backman has extensive administrative experience relating to federal and state policy," says Dean Robert Steele. "He also has an extensive record of generating interdisciplinary grants, particularly from such nontraditional sources as industry. We feel he will be an outstanding asset to our research program and to our administrative team."

As the Biological Control Institute director, Backman was responsible for developing ecologically sound alternatives to pesticides while supervising the activities of 27 faculty members in three colleges and five departments. He also developed funding sources within the university and from outside agencies and industries, and organized faculty research teams to address specific issues. He administered more than $2 million in funds for institute projects. He also served as the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinator.

His accomplishments include organizing an "IPM Forum" at Auburn University to study and discuss a plan to meet USDA requirements for IPM by the year 2000.

His principle areas of research include "vaccination" or induced systemic resistance of plants to pathogenic microorganisms; biological control of plant pathogens; and biological controls for the kudzu plant, peanut diseases, cotton diseases and other crop diseases. He has been instrumental in attracting top graduate students to the Biological Control Institute and also has worked extensively with graduate students on his own research projects.

Backman has extensive international experience, serving as a researcher at the European Biological Control Laboratory in 1997 and making numerous research trips to Central and South America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. He also served as a consultant for the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations from 1989 to 1991. In addition, he worked as a senior plant pathologist for the United Nations in Uruguay in 1978 and 1979.

He has published more than 100 articles in such journals as the Handbook of Pest Management, Weed Science, Plant Disease and Phytopathology. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Center for Biotechnology from 1994 to 1995.

Backman joined the Auburn faculty in 1971 as an assistant professor and moved up the academic ranks to full professor by 1983. He has served on numerous professional and university committees throughout his career. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses.

He also worked as a research plant pathologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Clemson University in 1970 and 1971. He earned his A.A. in biological sciences from Yuba College in Marysville, Calif., in 1964 and went on to receive a B.S. and a doctorate in plant pathology in 1966 and 1970, respectively, from the University of California, Davis.

Among his honors are the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station's Director's Senior and Junior Award for Research in 1991 and 1981, respectively. He was named a National Defense Education Act (NDEA) Fellow in 1966. He is a member of a number of professional societies such as Sigma Xi, the New York Academy of Sciences, Gamma Sigma Delta and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


EDITORS: To contact Paul Backman, please call Jennifer MacIsaac at 814-865-3636.

Contacts: John Wall 814-863-2719 814-865-1068 fax

Last Updated March 19, 2009