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Department of Plant Pathology

A Letter From the Department

Welcome to the Department of Plant Pathology at Kansas State University! Our department is composed of a family of scientists and students with diverse interests and expertise but a common goal. We hope you will scan through our web pages and develop feel for the intellectual breadth of our faculty and the exciting cultural diversity of our students.

We have established an internationally recognized excellence in an array of programs including molecular biology, genetics of pathogenesis and host plant resistance, fungal genetics, wheat cytogenetics and improvement, as well as classical and applied plant pathology and extension. The K-State Plant Pathology faculty focus on crops important to the Kansas economy, as well as model systems such as Arabidopsis and rice, interacting with pathogens like Fusarium spp, Magnaporthe grisea, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus and Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus—indeed, some of our faculty were instrumental in transforming these pathosystems into model systems for study.

  • A visit to the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic will illustrate the standards of excellence we apply to the classical areas of our field.
  • 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 Genetic and Genomic Resources Center is a premier and internationally recognized center of excellence for basic and applied research on this essential crop.
  • Researchers are able to study high consequence pathogens in the K-State Biosecurity Research Institute, enabling cutting edge research on threats that are not yet present in the US.
  • The newest addition to the department is the Fungal Genetics Stock Center. It primarily serves the fungal genetics research community by providing strains and other material and is leading the transition into the genome-enabled microbiology era with new approaches to material and information resource integration and management.
  • We also sponsor the International Fusarium Workshop. This is an annual event, held alternately in Manhattan and an overseas location. It is a workshop 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.

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 conduct research projects across a broad spectrum of plant pathology and genetics that is continuously evolving as science advances. 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:

  • Computational or ecological biology of plants or microbes
  • Disease diagnostics and plant breeding
  • From applied research like disease control
  • To more basic areas of molecular

Our state-of-the-art facilities will likely support any project you can envision. 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.

We 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.

Contact Us


Megan Kennelly

Dr. Megan Kennelly

Department Head
Email Dr. Kennelly