Support the Department of Plant Pathology
The Department of Plant Pathology in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln performs an essential role in improving and monitoring the health of plants grown for economic, environmental, and amenity purposes. It does so by innovative leadership in outreach education, research, and fostering economic development and market competitiveness.
Partnerships with educational, state, federal, public and private sectors enable plant
pathologists to provide dynamic programs that are ecologically sound, economically and environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and scientifically appropriate. Practical plant disease problems were the emphasis in the early years of the department with the focus being on potatoes, cereal crops, sugar beets, alfalfa, and shelter belt trees. The department gradually grew from two scientists in 1920 when the department was officially founded, to its present component of 16 including two USDA-ARS faculty.
Basic research in Host-Parasite Interactions / Disease Resistance and Virology have been a major contribution of the department beginning in the 1950s. Only three scientists from Nebraska have been elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences. All three are Plant Pathologists from the Department of Plant Pathology. Dr. Myron K. Brakke's seminal work in virology and development of the ultracentrifuge for elucidating biophysical properties of plant viruses via density gradient centrifugation resulted in his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974. Dr. J.M. Daly's research on fungal toxins as the causative mechanisms on cereal diseases lead to his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1984. In recognition of his research on large dsDNA-containing viruses that infect algae, (chlorella viruses and phycodnaviruses) and sequencing of the virus PBCV-1, Dr. James L. Van Etten was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2003.