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Department of Plant Pathology

Welcome to the Department of Plant Pathology

We are a department of plant and microbial scientists, teaching and experimenting alongside our students, the next generation of scientists and leaders.

Our internationally recognized programs and faculty, culturally diverse students, state-of-the-art facilities and friendly atmosphere provide an ideal environment for learning.

While browsing our pages, please consider whether joining a community like ours might be the right training experience for you to launch or advance your science career.

Recent News

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Afsana NoorAfsana Noor, PhD graduate research assistant working under the direction of Dr. Chris Little received the Kansas Academy of Science Graduate Research Grant award!  Way to go Afsana!  read more...







Highly Cited Researchers 2018

This list recognizes world-class researchers (Eduard Akhunov) selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science.


K-State doctoral candidate receives 2018 BIFAD Student Award for Scientific Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab

Mohammad Mokhlesur Rahman

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, or BIFAD, has selected Mohammad Mokhlesur Rahman, a doctoral candidate in genetics at Kansas State University, as the winner of the 2018 BIFAD Student Award for Scientific Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab.

Rahman is a member of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics, which is directed by Jesse Poland, associate professor of plant pathology.




Plant pathology researcher attains $700,000 NIFA grant to study bacterial disease in corn

Sanzhen LiuKansas State University, under the lead of Sanzhen Liu, has been awarded funds to study the genetic basis of resistance to bacterial disease in corn by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The goal of the research is to understand the basis of disease and enable the development of improved corn varieties for Goss’s wilt resistance.

Liu, assistant professor of plant pathology at K-State, is the principal investigator for the three-year $700,000 research grant. He will also work with Professors Frank White from the University of Florida and Alison Robertson from Iowa State University.

The bacterial disease called Goss’s wilt has re-emerged in major corn-producing areas of the United States and Canada and represents a threat to maize production. Researchers on this project will pinpoint genetic elements responsible for bacterial virulence and host resistance through genetic approaches. The research will provide implications for other important, yet poorly understood, plant diseases caused by closely related bacteria, including tomato canker and potato ring rot.

At K-State, Liu will also provide a research opportunity to students who are eligible to participate in the Kansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, or KS-LSAMP, through working with the director of the Diversity Programs Office at K-State.

The project, "Analyses of Bacterial Avirulence and Virulence Loci and Host Resistance of Maize Goss's Wilt," was awarded by the USDA through the NSF/NIFA Plant-Biotic Interactions program.


Innovation Lab Renewed for $4.9 Million for 5 Years

Ernie Minton Making Annoucement

Ernie Minton, the interim dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture, welcomes attendees to Thursday’s announcement of $21.9 million being awarded to the university by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The funds will go toward K-State’s work with the Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. government’s effort to reduce global hunger and poverty.

“These awards don’t happen by accident,” said Jennifer "Vern" Long, the acting director for the office of agriculture, research and policy in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security. “We have a very high bar for extending programs, and it’s really a reflection of the innovative approach that these programs have taken and how they bring the best of U.S. science to bear on these global challenges.”




Wheat Code Finally Cracked

Science Magazine Cover: Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome

Kansas State University scientists, in collaboration with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, published today in the international journal Science a detailed description of the complete genome of bread wheat, the world's most widely-cultivated crop.

This work will pave the way for the production of wheat varieties better adapted to climate challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality and improved sustainability. The article is titled "Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome."


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Spring Schedule 

Thursdays @ 3:45pm, 1014 Throckmorton (unless noted otherwise)


Friday - March 22, 2019  1:30pm, 1014 Throckmorton

Kevin Folta, University of Florida

"Genetic and Environmental Control of High-Value Crop Traits"




March 28, 2019

Josh Herr, Univ of Nebr - Lincoln




Edward BucklerApr 11

Edward Buckler, USDA-ARS, Cornell Univ.




Apr 18 - Tania Kim, KSU

Apr 25 - Jared Crain, KSU

May 2 - Jacob Washburn, Cornell University

May 9 - Andrew Friskop, North Dakota State University