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Research

The research programs in the Department of Plant Pathology ensure the economic viability of agriculture, the largest sector of Georgia’s economy, and contribute to national and global food security through reduction in crop losses. Equally important, our research increases the understanding of basic biology through new discoveries on pathogen biology, resistance genetics and host-pathogen interactions.

The department is recognized internationally for its comprehensive and integrative research portfolio, spanning basic, translational and applied programs. The breadth and depth of these programs is summarized in the following table.   


Etiology, Epidemiology, and Disease Management 

Phil Brannen – fruit disease management           

Tim Brenneman – pecan and soilborne peanut diseases

Ellen Bauske – urban agriculture

Clive Bock (adjunct) – fruit and nut research  

Jason Brock – disease diagnosis and pecan disease management

James Buck – diseases of soybean, wheat and ornamentals

Alex Csinos (emeritus) – tobacco diseases

Albert Culbreath – foliar peanut diseases and Tomato spotted wilt virus

Richard Davis (adjunct) – nematode management

Bhabesh Dutta – vegetable disease management

Ron Gitaitis (emeritus) – bacterial diseases of vegetables

Abolfazl Hajihassani – vegetable nematode management

Ganpati Jagdale – nematode diagnostics

Pingsheng Ji – vegetable diseases

Elizabeth Little – diseases of landscape, garden, and organic fruits and vegetables

Bob Kemerait – peanut and cotton disease management

Alfredo Martinez-Espinoza – turfgrass and small grains disease management

Jonathon Oliver – fruit disease management

Harald Scherm – fruit disease epidemiology

Katherine Stevenson – epidemiology and fungicide resistance

Jean Williams-Woodward – diseases of ornamentals, commercial landscapes and forestry


Pathogen Biology and Ecology

Marin Brewer – mycology and fungal population biology

Mike Deom – molecular virology

Jim Noe – nematology

Babu Srinivasan (adjunct) – vector-virus-plant interactions

Patricia Timper (adjunct) – nematology

Ron Walcott – bacteriology and seed pathology

Plant-Microbe Interactions and Host Resistance

Soraya Bertioli – peanut genomics and disease resistance

Baozhu Guo (adjunct) – disease and mycotoxin resistance in corn and peanut

Chang-Hyun Khang (adjunct) – cellular plant-fungal interactions

Brian Kvitko – plant immunity and molecular bacteriology

Shavannor Smith – structure and evolution of host resistance

Caterina Villari – interactions among trees, fungal pathogens and insect herbivores, chemical ecology  

Li Yang – plant development and defense

Mycotoxicology and Fungal Genetics

Renee Arias (adjunct) – peanut mycotoxin mitigation

Charles Bacon (adjunct) – microbial endophytes

Anthony Glenn (adjunct) – genetics of Fusarium

Scott Gold (adjunct) – fungal genetics


Research conducted in the Department of Plant Pathology is impactful, both within the state and across its boundaries. For example, estimated reductions in crop losses associated with departmental activities are typically in the range of $200 to $250 million annually, representing a direct gain to the economy. Other examples of the profound impacts of plant pathology research are documented in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Impact Statement database (select “Plant Pathology” in the pull-down menu for “Group”).