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2007-2008 Spotlight

Alan Collmer Awarded 2008 CALS Research and Extension Award

October 2008 Spotlight

Alan Collmer
Alan Collmer

Alan Collmer has been awarded the 2008 College of Agriculture and life Sciences' Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Basic Research. Candidates for this award are recognized for their scholarly contributions to their discipline by the quality and number of their publications and awards from professional societies. The Awards Committee noted Alan's pioneering research identifying the molecular basis for bacterial-plant interactions in plant diseases and the many publications and awards that have resulted from it.

The awards will be presented at a reception on Monday, November 3, 2008 in G10 Biotech, 4:00 - 6:00 PM. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served.

The CALS Research and Extension Awards are intended to recognize a broad range of accomplishments contributing to the realization of the CALS vision "To be the preeminent college for research, teaching and extension of agriculture and life sciences, developing leaders to address the global challenges of the 21st century."


Kathie Hodge
Kathie Hodge

Kathie Hodge Featured on National Public Radio

September 2008 Spotlight

Kathie Hodge was featured on NPR's Science Friday on September 12. The episode was entitled "Fungi: The Good, The Bad and The Edible."


Turgeon and JGI Sequence the maize pathogen, Cochliobolus heterostrophus, genome

August 2008 Spotlight

Gillian Turgeon
Gillian Turgeon

Professor Gillian Turgeon of our Department and her collaborator Dr. Scott Baker of the DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in partnership with the DOE Joint Genome Institute, announce the release of the genome sequence of the model fungal pathogen of maize, Cochliobolus heterostrophus race O. A highly isogenic C. heterostrophus race T isolate, sequenced earlier when Turgeon was on leave of absence at the Torrey Mesa Research Institute (Syngenta) in 2000-2001, is expected to be released by Syngenta but is not yet publicly available.

The two sequenced strains differ genetically at the Tox1 locus, which determines the ability to make a polyketide secondary metabolite known as T-toxin. Race T, which makes T-toxin, is highly virulent on, and exquisitely specific for, T-cytoplasm maize. The combination of the monoculture of male sterile T-cytoplasm corn, widely planted in the late 1960s, and the appearance of previously unknown C. heterostrophus race T, producing T-toxin, was responsible for the Southern Corn Leaf Blight epidemic that decimated the US corn crop in 1969-70.

As use of biomass derived fuels such as "cellulosic" ethanol increases, understanding development of fungal pathogens on cereals and grasses becomes increasingly important. Comparative analysis of the genome sequences of both C. heterostrophus strains, coupled with those of other cereal pathogens, is expected to accelerate advances in understanding fungal-plant interactions.


Margery Daughtrey at Ceremony
George Hudler and Margery Daughtrey at recognition ceremony

Margery Daughtrey Honored

July 2008 Spotlight

Margery Daughtrey was recently honored for her 30 years of service with Cornell at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center.

Margery is a Senior Extension Associate and her emphasis is on developing new information to benefit the floriculture industry of New York.


Congratulations to Michael Wunsch, Chia-Lin Chung and Jesse Polland who received 2008 McClintock Awards

May 2008 Spotlight

This year, three members of our department received McClintock awards: Michael Wunsch (Gary Bergstrom's lab), Chia-Lin Chung (Rebecca Nelson's lab), and Jesse Polland, who is a plant breeding student in Rebecca Nelson's lab. McClintock Awards are given by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to senior level graduate students who have made significant contributions to plant sciences. These awards are given in honor of Barbara McClintock wo made some of her seminal discoveries while at Cornell. Congratulations Michael, Chia-Line and Jesse!


Jennifer Frazer
Jennifer Frazer

Jennifer Frazer wins AAAS Award

April 2008 Spotlight

Congratulations to alumna Jennifer Frazer (MS, 2002)! She's won the prestigious AAAS Science Journalism Award, in the Small Newspaper category . This award has been described as the "pinnacle of achievement...in the science writing field," and is a remarkable achievement for a young journalist.


Dr. William FryFry Elected Cornell Faculty Dean

April 2008 Spotlight

Dr. William Fry, professor of plant pathology, has recently been elected by Cornell's faculty as its new dean. Fry is currently on sabbatical leave in South Africa conducting research at Stellenbosch University on Phytophthora infestans, the pathogen that causes potato late blight. Fry's appointment as Cornell faculty dean will run from July 1 to June 30, 2011. Read the Cornell Chronicle Feature


Lazarowitz joins NIH Study Section

March 2008 Spotlight

Sondra LazarowitzWe are proud that Professor Sondra Lazarowitz will join the NIH Membrane Biology and Protein Processing Study Section. Selected for her knowledge of the field, her research accomplishments, and her critical skills, we know Sandy will contribute important insights to the evaluation of NIH grant proposals. Sandy will help shape the future of this field, which addresses fundamental aspects of membrane biology and protein trafficking, and explores how organisms interact with their environment.


Welcome students

March 2008 Spotlight

Class of 1919
W.R. Fisher
Mycology Class - Winter 1918 - 1919 on the steps of Bailey Hall

This week we're recruiting for our graduate program. We welcome an elite group of prospective students who are candidates for graduate study here. They'll visit our labs, explore our campus, and chat with current grad students and faculty. Over the the last 101 years,over 700 students have come through our graduate program.

Our alumni are pushing back the frontiers of plant pathology all over the world. Cornell is a great place to do plant pathology: our large and collegial group creates an outstanding community of research that is supported by the excellent resources of the Cornell campus.

Times have changed since our early days. Today new approaches allow us to dissect the communication between pathogens and hosts, study the impacts of plant pathogens on ecosystems, and investigate the functions and diversity of pathogen genomes. Our research pages give a glimpse into the breadth of our program. We are looking for some exceptional students to join us.


Miniature LandscapesBorescope Photos on Display

February 2008 Spotlight

Miniature Landscapes: Adventure with a Borescope is on display in the Mann Library gallery through Feb 27, 2008. Kent Loeffler and Kathie Hodge collaborated on this photographic project.


Veggie Babies
Vegetable MD Online.

Vegetable Disease Web Site Featured on Martha Stewart

December 2007 Spotlight

The December 6th's episode of the Homegrown segment on Martha Stewart Living Radio (Sirius 112) included Vegetable MD Online as one of the seven favorite gardening websites mentioned. Link to the full page spotlight article.