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Plant Pathology

A Letter From the Department Head

Welcome to the Department of Plant Pathology at Kansas State University. We are a family of scientists and students with diverse interests and expertise but a common goal. As you scan through our web pages, I hope you will get a feeling for the intellectual breadth of our faculty as well as the exciting cultural diversity of our students. We have an established and internationally recognized excellence in programs in molecular biology and genetics of pathogenesis and host plant resistance, fungal genetics, wheat cytogenetics and improvement, as well as classical plant pathology and extension. K-State Plant Pathology faculty focus on crops important to the Kansas economy, as well as model systems such as Arabidopsis, rice, Fusarium, Magnaporthe grisea, and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae —indeed, some of our faculty were instrumental in transforming these into model systems. Our extension and disease diagnostics group leads the Great Plains Diagnostic Network, one of five national centers for detection and rapid response to introductions of potentially destructive pathogens. Our Wheat Genetics Resources Center is a premier and internationally recognized center of excellence for basic and applied research on this essential crop. We also sponsor the International Fusarium Workshop. This is an annual event in which Fusarium researchers from around the world can come for a week of intensive activities to bring themselves up to date on the latest techniques and thinking. A visit to the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic and the Wheat Page will illustrate the standards of excellence we apply to the classical areas of our field.


For those of you interested in pursuing graduate education at K-State, you would embark on an exciting and challenging intellectual adventure that will change your life and, hopefully, how you view the world. Our excellence and commitment to research, extension, and teaching will provide you with a stimulating learning environment and prepare you for a career in academia, industry, and/or government service. An essential ingredient in our educational philosophy is to provide students with broad exposure to concepts, to encourage creativity, and to insist upon critical thinking and analysis. We believe that with this preparation you will be able to choose among a wide variety of career paths and will be able to adjust readily to changes in the professional environment that will continue to emerge.


Our diverse group of graduate students operate a very diverse and continuously evolving series of research projects. Many of these projects are collaborative, cooperating with scientists from around the world. Our degree programs allow students to specialize in virtually any area of pathology or genetics: from applied research like disease control, disease diagnostics and plant breeding, to more basic areas of molecular, computational or ecological biology of plants or microbes. Our state-of-the-art facilities will likely support any project you can conceive. As a genomics and biotechnology leader in Kansas, our department houses facilities for plant transformation, DNA sequencing and physical mapping of chromosomes, robotic manipulation of DNA clones, and analysis of gene expression. Our 30 greenhouses attached to the building, and a 10-acre experimental farm adjacent to campus allow busy students and faculty to conveniently conduct field and greenhouse experiments between classes and appointments.


I hope you will enjoy your visit to Plant Pathology at K-State. Prospective students should feel free to contact any faculty members with questions about their programs or the Department. You may access on this web site our guidebook to graduate education in plant pathology at K-State.


Department Head