Welcome To Plant Pathology

Unraveling plant-microbe interactions, inspiring students, and supporting agricultural industries in Florida and around the globe …

The Plant Pathology Department at the University of Florida is an exciting place to study all aspects of plant disease and plant-microbe interactions! The richness of Florida agriculture and the many emerging pathogens provides unparalleled opportunities to work at the cutting edge of this field. We conduct research on a broad range of subjects including plant defense responses, plant genetic engineering, disease management, and microbial evolution, ecology, epidemiology, systematics, and functional genomics. Many of us participate in the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate program, the Emerging Pathogens Institute, and the Doctor of Plant Medicine Program.
Learn more about the world of Plant Pathology and the Gator Nation.

Welcome Limagrain

The 2015 FPS biennial meeting will be held May 4-6th, 2015 in Gainesville, FL at Fifield Hall on the University of Florida campus.

What's New?

      • Spring 2015 Plant Pathology Seminar Schedule

        Tuesdays, Room 2316, 4:00 p.m.

        Date Speaker Topic
        Jan. 13 Asoc. Prof.  Zhonglin Mou,  UF Microbiology Dept. MED16, a central regulator of resistance to necrotrophic fungal pathogens in Arabidopsis.
        Jan. 20 Ms. Amanda Strayer, UF Plant Pathology Dept. Diagnostic and Disease Management Strategies For Bacterial Spot of Tomato.
        Ja. 27 Dr. Scott Harper, UF/IFAS Citrus REC, Lake Alfred Get in, get around, and get along - Citrus tristeza virus as a model system for virus-vector, virus-host, and virus-virus interactions.
        Feb. 3 Asoc. Prof. Megan Kenelly, Kansas State U Dept. of Plant Pathology Fertility, fungicides, and germplasm evaluation - Applied studies on the biology and management of large patch in zoysiagrass.
        Feb. 6 Dr. Nelson Wulff, Fundecitrus, Arraraquara, BRAZIL Secial Seminar: TBA
        Feb. 17 Dr. Keisuke Obase,  UF Plant Pathology Dept. (recently from Mie University, Tsu city,  JAPAN) Ecology and phylogenetic diversity of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Cenococcum geophilum sensu lato.
        Feb. 24 Prof. Philippe Rott, UF/IFAS Everglades REC, Belle Glade Progress of brown and orange rusts during sugarcane growing seasons in Florida.
        Mar. 10 Dr. John Hernandez Nopsa, UF Plant Pathology Dept. (recently from Kansas State U.) Evaluating invasion risk for emerging pathogens and pests in postharvest and cropland networks.
        Mar. 17 Asoc. Prof. Nian Wang, UF/IFAS Citrus REC, Lake Alfred Insight into the critical traits of Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus and control of HLB.
        Mar. 24 Ms. Sanju Kunwar, UF Plant Pathology Dept. Integrated management of bacterial wilt disease of tomato.
        Mar. 31 Prof. Marc Cubeta, Soil Mycology and Plant Disease Ecology, N. Carolina State U. The dynamic and complex genome heterogeneity of the plant pathogenic soil fungus Rhizoctonia solani.
        Apr. 7 Prof. Ron Walcott, U. Georgia Dept. Plant Pathology Factors that influence seed to seedling transmission of seedborne bacterial diseases.
        Apr. 14 Asoc. Prof. Yinong Yang, Pennsylvania State U. Plant Pathology and Environ. Microbiol. Precise genome editing and crop breeding using CRISPR-Cas9.
        Apr. 21 Ast. Prof. Shouan Zhang,  UF/IFAS Tropical REC, Homestead An overview of research on downy mildew of basil – how much do we know?
        Apr. 22 Prof. Sally Miller, Ohio State U. Dept. Plant Pathology Special Seminar: The role of food safety in modern plant pathology.
    • University of Florida Plant Pathology hosts ZygoBlitz

      Dr. Matthew E. Smith, Dr. Gerald Benny, and Ms. Katy Lazarus of the Department of Plant Pathology hosted the first ZygoBlitz meeting at the University of Florida. The ZygoBlitz included planning, discussion, and fieldwork at the University of Florida Ordway-Swisher reserve in support of the NSF-funded ZygoLife project, a collaborative and multi-institutional research effort focused on the evolution and biology of zygomycete fungi. (See: www.Zygolife.org).

      Graduate Symposium August 16-17, 2013

      Microbiology & Cell Science Dept.
      Plant Pathology Dept.
      CALS, IFAS

      4th International Symposium on Tomato Diseases & 28th U.S. Annual Tomato Disease Workshop

      Group Photo

      June 24-27, 2013
      Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, Walt Disney World® Resort Orlando, Florida

      UF/IFAS team part of NSF effort to study least understood, oldest fungi

      A University of Florida team is part of a group of scientists from 11 institutions that will tackle some very ancient history as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to understand the evolution of zygomycetes, fungi thought to be among the first terrestrial organisms. Read more.

      UF/IFAS study: Strawberry monitoring system could add $1.7 million over 10 years to some farms

      A University of Florida-developed web tool can bring growers $1.7 million more in net profits over 10 years than a calendar-based fungicide system because it guides growers to spray their crop at optimal times, a new UF study shows.

      UF/IFAS finding could help stop potato, tomato disease

      The potato late blight pathogen was introduced to Europe in the 1840s and caused the devastating loss of a staple crop, resulting in the Irish potato famine and subsequent diaspora. Research on this disease has engendered much debate, which in recent years has focused on whether the geographic origin of the pathogen is South America or central Mexico. Read More.

      Department Newsletter Spring/Summer 2014

      The fall newsletter for 2013 is out. View it here.

      Fungus Threatens Banana Supply

      The fruit is under assault again from a disease that threatens the popular variety that Americans slice into their cereal or slather with chocolate and whipped cream in their banana splits. But aside from its culinary delight, the banana is the eighth most important food crop in the world, and the fourth most important one for developing nations, where millions of people rely on the $8.9 billion industry for their livelihood.

      Congratulations Nicholas Machado, recipient of the 2014 Frank L. Howard Fellowship

      Nicholas Machado, a UF undergraduate majoring in Plant Science, is the recipient of the 2014 Frank L. Howard Fellowship awarded by the American Phytopathological Society. 

      Graduate Students initiate macrofungi inventory for the University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Lab

      This inventory of macrofungi (mushrooms) in the various ecosystems of the NATL was conducted by a team of four graduate students who took Mycology in 2012 from University of Florida Assistant Professor Matthew E. Smith. Read more.

      UF Develops first high-altitude device to help detect health threats from the sky

      A University of Florida researcher is exploring whether the latest plant, animal or human health threats will come from the sky. Read more.

      UF/IFAS Scientist’s Work with Brazilian Citrus Greening Genome Could Aid Florida Industry

      A University of Florida researcher has mapped the DNA genome of a new strain of citrus greening that could further threaten Florida’s beleaguered $9 billion citrus industry.

      Department Newsletter Fall 2013

      The fall newsletter for 2013 is out. View it here.

      New psylid-proof greenhouse

      The Department of Plant Pathology and the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science will be sharing a new psylid-proof citrus greenhouse. Pic1, Pic2, Pic3

      The UF PDC is now open

      The NPDN’s southern hub lab at the University of Florida celebrated the grand opening of its new facility with a ribboncutting ceremony on April 25.

      UF, Peace Corps offer new program through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

      Demand for Peace Corps volunteers with agricultural skills has helped create a new degree program available from the University of Florida. Known as the Peace Corps Master’s International program, it allows students to travel internationally and earn a master’s degree in one of nine graduate programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.  More...

      Welcome Dr. Rosemary Loria

      Welcome Dr. Rosemary Loria We are pleased to welcome Dr. Rosemary Loria as Chair to our department. Dr. Loria comes from the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell University, where she has had experience in extension, research and administration. Her research on the molecular genetics of plant pathogenic Streptomyces species is world-renowned. Dr. Loria will bring her nationally funded research program on the molecular genetics of Streptomyces with her when she assumes her role as Chair of our department on August 19, 2011. More...

      Welcome Dr. Brantlee Spakes Richter

      We are pleased to welcome Dr. Brantlee Spakes Richter to our department. Dr. Richter comes to us from a postdoc in the labs of Drs. James Clark and Rytas Vilgalys at Duke University. Dr. Richter received her Ph.D. from the Dept. of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, under the direction of Drs. Mike Benson and Kelly Ivors. Dr. Richter has an appointment as Lecturer and will be teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in our department.  More...

      Welcome Dr. Mathews Paret

      We are pleased to announce the addition to our faculty and to the faculty of the North Florida Research and Education Center – Quincy, Dr. Mathews Paret. Dr. Paret has an research and extension appointment. His program focuses on the study and management of diseases related to vegetable and ornamental plant production. Dr. Paret was a post-doctoral researcher at the NFREC following his doctorate in Tropical Plant Pathology at the University of Hawaii. In Hawaii he worked with bacterial wilt on edible ginger and continued similar work while at NFREC.  More...

      Welcome Dr. Nicholas Dufault

      We are pleased to announce the newest addition to our faculty, Dr. Nicholas Dufault. Dr. Dufault was chosen as the successful candidate from among more than 40 excellent applicants. He will have a split extension and research appointment and state-wide responsibility for vegetable and agronomic plant pathology. Dr. Dufault comes to UF from The Pennsylvania State University where he held a post-doctoral research appointment focusing on aerobiology. Please join the UF IFAS Department of Plant Pathology in congratulating and welcoming Dr. Dufault into our department. Follow this link for Dr. Dufault’s Curriculum Vitae  More...

      Welcome Dr. Erica Goss

      We are pleased to announce another new addition to our faculty, Dr. Erica Goss. She will have a dual appointment in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Emerging Pathogens Institute. Dr. Goss has been a post-doctoral research scientist at the USDA ARS in Corvallis, Oregon where she has worked on the population genetics and evolution of the sudden oak death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, and other emerging and re-emerging Phytophthora pathogens. Please join the UF IFAS Department of Plant Pathology in welcoming Dr. Goss into our department.Follow this link for Dr. Goss' Curriculum Vitae  More...

      Welcome Dr. Matthew E. Smith

      We are pleased to announce a new addition to our faculty, Dr. Matthew E. Smith. Dr. Smith started as assistant professor in mycology at UF in November 2011. He has a research (60%), teaching (10%) and extension (30%) appointment. Dr. Smith will teach mycology and continue his research on fungal molecular ecology and the systematics and ecology of ectomycorrhizal fungi and truffle-like fungi. He will also identify fungi for poison control and curate the mycological herbarium in collaboration with the Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herbarium/). Dr. Smith obtained his Ph.D. in Ecology under the guidance of Dr. David Rizzo from the University of California at Davis in 2006. He has completed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Bruce Jaffee (UC Davis, 2007), Dr. Donald Pfister (Harvard University, 2007-2009) and Dr. Rytas Vilgalys (Duke University, 2009-2011). More about Dr. Smith is available on his website: http://plantpath.ifas.ufl.edu/People/Faculty/smith/smith.html

      Laurel Wilt

      Laurel wilt is a deadly disease of redbay (Persea borbonia) and other tree species in the Laurel family (Lauraceae). The disease is caused by a fungus (Raffaelea lauricola) that is introduced into host trees by a non-native insect, the redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus).  More...

      Southern Wilt/Ralstonia

      Ralstonia solanacearum is one of the most destructive plant pathogenic bacteria, with thousands of strains affecting more than 200 plant species throughout the world, including a wide range of crop plants, ornamentals and weeds. One subgroup of R. solanacearum, Race 3 biovar 2, is a highly-regulated quarantine pest in North America and Europe with the potential to disrupt trade... More...

      Citrus Greening

      Huanglongbing (HLB) or Citrus Greening is a bacteria that affects all types of citrus plants. It is commonly transmitted to the plant by the Asian citrus psyllid.  More...

      • None at this time.
      • Transmitting Plant Viruses Using Whiteflies

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