Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

2014-15 Tuition

Research degree: $20,800; professional degree: $30,785

Application deadlines

Fall, Dec. 1; spring admission is discouraged, check with Field

Requirements summary

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • three recommendations (must be on business letterhead and signed)
  • GRE general test
  • GRE subject test in biology advised, but not required

Degrees

  • M.P.S.
  • M.P.S.(A.L.S.)
  • M.S.
  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences (M.P.S.)
  • Plant Pathology (M.S., Ph.D., M.P.S.(A.L.S.))

Major concentrations

  • fungal and oomycete biology
  • plant pathology
  • plant-microbe biology

For a more complete description of the Field of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, please go to gradfield.plantpath.cornell.edu/default.html

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology are the study of plant diseases and the biology of plant-microbe interactions at the molecular to ecosystem levels of organization. The Field of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell offers graduate degree programs in plant pathology and the biology, genetics and evolution of fungi and oomycetes. To reflect the diversity of academic interests and activities, the Field is organized into three program areas:

 

  • Plant Pathology (including the concentrations Ecological and Environmental Plant Pathology and Plant Disease Epidemiology)
  • Plant-Microbe Biology
  • Fungal and Oomycete Biology

Faculty and graduate students in plant pathology are located in two locations in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: the main campus in Ithaca, NY, and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Ithaca.

 

The M.P.S. (Agriculture and Life Sciences) program has a Peace Corps option in which the student undertakes two semesters of academic work at Cornell and a Peace Corp assignment. For information and instructions on how to apply, visit the M.P.S. (Agriculture and Life Sciences)/Peace Corps Web site, or contact International Programs, 33 Warren Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; phone 607-255-3037; e-mail mpsag_peacecorps@cornell.edu.

 

In addition to Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University offers graduate programs that cover the full spectrum of plant sciences. For more information on graduate studies in related fields of plant sciences, use this link.

George Abawi (Geneva) -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: ecology and biology of fungal and nematodal soilborne pathogens and the integrated management of their resultant root diseases; special interests in diseases of vegetable and food legume crops; microbial interactions; biological control; cultural practices for disease management; and soil-IPM/soil health issues
Steven Beer -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: molecular genetics and mechanisms of pathogenicity of Erwinia amylovora; biological control of fire blight and other diseases by bacteria
Gary Bergstrom -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: biology, epidemiology, and integrated management of diseases of wheat, corn, soybean, forage legumes; and biofuel feedstock crops
Adam Bogdanove -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: bacterial pathogens of plants; especially molecular interactions of Xanthomnas oryzae with rice; TAL effector biology and application; genome editing for disease resistance; fungal effector biology
Thomas Burr (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: biology of bacterial diseases of fruits and vegetables
Lance Cadle-Davidson -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: genetics and genomics of disease resistance; fungal and oomycete pathogens of grapevine
Samuel Cartinhour -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; Research interests: analysis of regulatory mechanisms and gene expression networks in Pseudomonas syringae
Michelle Cilia -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests:
Alan Collmer -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: molecular phytobacteriology and microbial genomics
Kerik Cox -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: orchard fungal ecology; extension pathology; pesticide management; fruit pathology
Helene Dillard (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: biology, epidemiology and management of fungal diseases of vegetable crops; special interest in organic systems and medicinal herbs
Zhangjun Fei -- Concentrations: plant-microbe biology; Research interests:
Melanie Filiatrault -- Concentrations: plant-microbe biology; Research interests: Role of small non-coding RNAs and RNA binding proteins in the biology of bacterial plant pathogens; the development of new approaches to perform global transcriptome profiling
William Fry -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; Research interests: biology of oomycetes and management of disease they cause (with emphasis on Phytophthora infestans)
Marc Fuchs (Geneva) -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: virus diseases of fruit and vegetable crops; biology, epidemiology and management; development of virus-resistant fruit crops by genetic engineering
David Gadoury (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: epidemiology; ecology; pathogen biology; disease of grapevine and apples; powdery and downy mildews
Donna Gibson -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: identification and characterization of secondary metabolites of plants and fungi; production/use strategies for secondary metabolites in agricultural systems
Stewart Gray -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: biology of plant virus/insect vector interactions; virus diseases of potato and grain crops; virus disease management and epidemiology
Gary Harman (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: basic and applied research towards biocontrol systems for use in commercial agriculture, with focus on fungi in the genus Trichoderma; use of agricultural waste products for remediation of pollution and for bioenergy production
Maria Harrison -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: elucidation of the molecular basis of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis and phosphate transport in plants
Harvey Hoch (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: pesticide uptake through the plant cuticle; biological control of plant diseases incited by fungi; the ecology of soilborne fungi; mycoparasitic (fungi attacking other fungi) relationships, and fungal cell biology; investigations centered around understanding how physical signals from the substratum facilitate disease development
Kathie Hodge -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: systematics and ecology of pathogenic and symbiotic fungi, especially those that are pathogens of insects; director of the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium
Jian Hua -- Concentrations: plant-microbe biology; Research interests: genetics of temperature responses in plants; regualtion of plant defense responses
George Hudler -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: epidemiology and management of diseases of woody ornamentals and Christmas trees
Richard Humber -- Concentrations: plant-microbe biology; Research interests: mycology; taxonomy and morphology of entomopathogenic fungi; biological control of insects and nematodes
Daniel Klessig -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: biochemical, molecular and genetic studies of salicylic acid- and nitric acid-mediated signal transduction in disease resistance in tobacco and Arabidopsis
Sondra Lazarowitz -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: molecular mechanisms in virus-host interactions; molecular genetics of plant-virus movement and host resistance to virus infection; intra- and intercellular communications in plants
Magdalen Lindeberg -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: identification of virulence-associated features in plant pathogenic bacteria, including Pseudomonas Syringae pathovars and Ca. species through analysis of their genome sequences
Rosemary Loria -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: host-pathogen interactions; molecular genetic analysis of pathogenicity determinants
Gregory Martin -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; Research interests: research focus is on the molecular basis of: 1) bacterial pathogenesis and host susceptibility; 2) recognition events involved in plant immunity; and 3) host signal transduction leading to defense responses; experimental approaches, including genomics, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, forward and reverse genetics, and proteomics used to investigate aspects of plant-bacterial interactions
Margaret McGrath -- Concentrations: plant pathology; Research interests: diseases of vegetable crops; integrated pest management; fungicide resistance; epidemiology; powdery mildew; Phytophthora; air pollutants
Michael Milgroom -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; Research interests: population biology and evolution of plant pathogens; the integration of population biology and plant disease epidemiology
Patricia Mowery -- Concentrations: plant-microbe biology; Research interests: bacterial motility and sensing with emphasis on Xyllella fastidiosa
Rebecca Nelson -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: genetics of quantitative disease resistance; international agriculture; current focus on two diseases of maize that are important both in the United States and in Africa: northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot
Eric Nelson -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: ecology and development of oomycetes in the spermosphere and rhizosphere with special emphasis on plant pathogenic Pythium species; understanding how microbial interactions and plant associations influence Pythium development and pathogenesis
Teresa Pawlowska -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: biology and evolution of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi (phylum Glomeromycota)
Keith Perry -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: Cucumber mosaic virus and its vector transmission, pathogen diagnostics technologies, and potato viruses; Director of the NYS Foundation Potato Seed Program and the Uihlein Laboratory and Farm
Sorina Popescu -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: intracellular signaling associated with plant immune responses
Jocelyn Rose -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: structure, function and dynamics of the plant cell wall and apoplast during development and plant-pathogen interactions; coupling biochemistry with newly developed approaches involving genomics and proteomics; tomato issued as a model system to study wall and apoplastic dynamics in ripening fruits and in vegetative tissues in response to microbial challenge
David Rosenberger -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: biology and management of tree fruit diseases both in the field and after harvest
Robert Seem (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: quantitative epidemiology, focusing on model development and other quantitative measures for the practical management of fruit and vegetable diseases; understanding the biological processes responsible for disease development; elucidating the role of weather and plant disease
Christine Smart (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: biology and management of vegetable diseases; host-pathogen interactions
Bryan Swingle -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: Bacterial phytopathogen biology and functional genomics
Barbara Turgeon -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: genetics and molecular biology of fungal pathogens
Xiaohong Wang -- Concentrations: plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: molecular basis of plant-nematode interactions; host resistance to the potato cyst nematodes
Wayne Wilcox (Geneva) -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: fungal diseases of fruit crops, with emphases on pathogen biology and disease management; grapevine diseases and Phytophthora root and crown rots of various tree and berry crops
Stephen Winans -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: molecular plant-bacteria interactions; host-microbe chemical signaling
Thomas Zitter -- Concentrations: fungal and oomycete biology; plant pathology; plant-microbe biology; Research interests: diseases of vegetables; integrated pest management; ecology and epidemiology of foliar pathogens; epidemiology and control of virus diseases

Assessment Plan
All graduate students in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology (PPPMB) MS and PhD programs are required to take a core set of courses (requirements and expectations of students differ among program concentrations in PPPMB and are outlined on the PPPMB website) and they are required to write a thesis research proposal that is continually refined during their graduate program. They participate every year in a student seminar series as both a presenter and a reviewer of other presentations. Students present their research proposals and progress reports at the student seminars, and their presentations are evaluated by faculty and fellow students. Students also serve as a teaching assistant at least one semester for each degree and complete on-line research ethics and compliance training. Students are required to have at least one Special Committee meeting per year and submit an annual self-assessment form to the committee prior to the meeting. The self assessment form is reviewed and approved by all Special Committee members and a copy provided to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). At each committee meeting, as well as at A and B exams, Special Committee members and appointed members complete a 2 page evaluation form that provides a quantitative and qualitative assessment of a student’s abilities and progress. Copies of these forms are provided to the DGS and used to develop annual statistics of student and program performance. 


Learn more about the assessment plan for the graduate field of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology.