About Plant Pathology

The University of Florida offers excellent opportunities in the area of Plant Pathology. We have faculty throughout the state with comprehensive research programs in applied and basic research. The department is recognized as a national and international leader in many areas of plant pathology. The research programs focus on diseases caused by fastidious microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, and whitefly- and aphid-transmitted viruses. We are known for our research on diseases of diverse crops including citrus; vegetables such as tomato, pepper and cucurbits; ornamentals including foliage plants and flowering and woody ornamentals; field crops including soybean, peanut and sugarcane; and tropical fruits. Our strengths also include expertise in epidemiology, molecular biology of host-parasite interactions, biological control, and post-harvest diseases. Our faculty has also been very active in international programs as evidenced by the many collaborative efforts in Florida and outside the U.S. Together these features provide a conducive environment for working, learning and building a scientific professional career.

Our department, founded nearly 60 years ago, is part of the University of Florida, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS; http://cals.ifas.ufl.edu/) and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS; http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/). The department has 14 Gainesville-based faculty, 23 faculty located at research and education centers at nine different locations serving subtropical to temperate agroecosystems and 14 adjunct, courtesy and/or affiliate faculty. Our department is host to the Plant Medicine program that offers the Doctor of Plant Medicine degree (http://dpm.ifas.ufl.edu/).

Our faculty members also serve in the interdisciplinary Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology program (http://pmcb.ifas.ufl.edu/) that involves several departments of the Health Science Center and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Plant Pathology Department also has a research position in Astrobiology at NASA to study microorganisms under extreme environments such as the Martian environment.

Ours is the lead institution for The Southern Plant Diagnostic Network (http://www.sepdn.org/), one of five regions in the National Plant Diagnostic Network, and serves as the chair of the national subcommittee for Training and Education. The Department is also a leading partner in the University of Florida’s new Emerging Pathogens Initiative (http://epi.ufl.edu/) that was recently funded by the State of Florida. Because of the sentinel nature of Florida, statewide faculty have been heavily involved in programs to deal with outbreaks of recently arrived disease threats such as soybean rust, sudden oak death and citrus greening.

For prospective students, postdoctoral scientists and visiting scholars, our department provides unique opportunities throughout the state to work with a wide variety of crops and plant diseases of national and international importance. In recent past we have had students, postdoctorates and visiting professors from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Ghana, Hungary, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Surinam, Turkey and Venezuela.