Plant Pathology

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Plant pathology researches and extends knowledge to solve plant disease problems by focusing on plant-pathogen interactions at the genomic, cellular, organismal, and ecological levels. Approaches include disease management, epidemiology, molecular biology and host-parasite interactions. Focus areas are bacteriology, bioinfomatics, functional genomics, mycology, nematology, virology, soil-borne pathogens and mechanisms of pathogenesis, and host resistance.

Admission Requirements

The general application procedures of the Graduate School noted at the beginning of this section are followed. The Plant Pathology Graduate Program does NOT require the GRE. A detailed statement of applicant interests and goals in plant pathology is very helpful for the admissions committee.

Master's Degree Requirements

There is a core curriculum of a minimum of 12 credit hours that includes PP 501, PP 502, PP 506, PP 707, and PP 601. The core should be supplemented with a minimum of 18 credit hours in courses at the 500 or higher level, which support the focus of the study. Students serve as teaching assistants for one course.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Students entering the Ph.D. degree program are expected to take the core curriculum outlined for the Master's degree or have had the equivalent at another institution. Additionally, Ph.D. students must include a departmental-approved ethics course, two credits PP 801, and at least two other 700-level Plant Pathology courses. Ph.D. students serve as teaching assistants for two courses.

Student Financial Support

A limited number of half-time assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Benefits include in-state tuition, out-of-state tuition and health insurance as covered under the Graduate School's Graduate Student Support Plan. Applicants are considered for assistantship support at time of application. Special supplements to assistantships are available on a competitive basis for outstanding students. Also, many faculty programs have research grant-funded or training grant-funded assistantships. Contact individual faculty regarding availability of research assistantships.

Other Relevant Information

Fully equipped and staffed laboratories for research are available in addition to greenhouse facilities and environmental growth chambers in the phytotron. Special facilities for experimental work on diseases under field conditions are available at 16 University and NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-related locations throughout the state. Genomics facilities, microcomputers, library, mycological herbarium, digital imaging/graphics equipment programs, and an interdepartmental electron microscopy center are additional features available for the department.

Faculty

Full Professors

  • Peter J. Balint-Kurti
  • David M. Bird
  • Ignazio Carbone
  • Christina Cowger
  • Marc A. Cubeta
  • Eric Lee Davis
  • Ralph A. Dean
  • Shuijin Hu
  • Steven Lommel
  • Frank John Louws
  • David S. Marshall
  • Peter Ojiambo
  • Charles H. Opperman
  • Jean B. Ristaino
  • David F. Ritchie
  • Howard D. Shew
  • Anna Elizabeth Whitfield

Associate Professors

  • James P. Kerns
  • Lina Maria Quesada
  • Dorith Rotenberg

Assistant Professors

  • Oliver Baars
  • Adrienne Marie Gorny
  • Alejandra Itzel Huerta Vazquez
  • David Alan Rasmussen
  • Sara Michelle Villani

Practice/Research/Teaching Professors

  • Jennie R. Fagen
  • Barbara B. Shew

Emeritus Faculty

  • Kenneth Barker
  • Durward F. Bateman
  • David M. Benson
  • Marvin K. Beute
  • Ellis B. Cowling
  • Margaret E. Daub
  • Jeng Sheng Huang
  • Ronald K Jones
  • Stephen Robert Koenning
  • Leon T Lucas
  • Thomas A. Melton III
  • Robert D. Milholland
  • James W. Moyer
  • Gary A. Payne
  • Rebeca C. Rufty
  • Paul B. Shoemaker
  • Harvey Wesley Spurr
  • Turner Bond Sutton
  • Hedwig Hirschm Triantaphyllou
  • Robert G. Upchurch

Adjunct Faculty

  • Tim Sit
  • Lindsey Danielle Thiessen

Plant Pathology

PP 501/PB 501/MB 501  Biology of Plant Pathogens  (3 credit hours)  

Biology of microbes that cause plant diseases. The ecology, genetics, physiology, taxonomy, and mechanisms of parasitism, pathogenicity and virulence of bacteria (and other prokaryotes), fungi (and oomycetes), nematodes, and viruses that cause plant diseases. Prepares graduate students for advanced courses in plant pathology, host-parasite interactions, and provides a knowledge base for students in other disciplines involved with plant pathogens or who seek to broaden their knowledge of microbes.

Prerequisite: PP 315, or PP 318, or an introductory course in microbiology

Typically offered in Fall only

PP 502/CS 502/HS 502  Plant Disease: Methods & Diagnosis  (2 credit hours)  

Introduction to the basic principles of disease causality in plants and the methodology for the study and diagnosis of plant diseases caused by fungi. Identification of plant-pathogenic fungi. Research project, disease profiles and field trips arerequired.

Prerequisite: PP 315

Typically offered in Fall only

PP 506  Epidemiology and Plant Disease Control  (3 credit hours)  

Consideration of fundamental concepts and principles of epidemiology as applied to modern strategies of plant disease control. Special consideration given to evaluation of current techniques for control of fungal, bacterial, viral and nematode pathogens in an integrated crop protection system.

Prerequisite: PP 315 or PP 318

Typically offered in Spring only

PP 575/PB 575/MB 575  Introduction to Mycology  (4 credit hours)  

A survey of the fungal kingdom in context of phyla and classes. Systematics, ecology, biology and utilization. Illustrative material, cultural techniques in laboratories. Collection and paper required.

Prerequisite: BS 125 or BS 181 and 183 or BO 200 or PP 315 or PP 318

Typically offered in Fall only

PP 590  Special Topics  (1-3 credit hours)  

The study of special problems and selected topics of current interest in plant pathology and related fields.

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

PP 601  Seminar  (1 credit hours)  

Discussion of assigned phytopathological topics.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 610  Special Topics  (1-6 credit hours)  

The study of special problems and selected topics of current interest in plant pathology and related fields.

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

PP 615  Advanced Special Topics in Plant Pathology  (1-6 credit hours)  

Offered as needed to present materials not normally available in regular course offerings or for offering of new courses on a trial basis.

Prerequisite: PP 501, 502, Corequisite: ST 511

Typically offered in Fall only

PP 620  Special Problems  (1-6 credit hours)  

Investigation of special problems in plant pathology not related to thesis problem. Investigations may consist of original research and/or literature survey.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 685  Master's Supervised Teaching  (1-3 credit hours)  

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 690  Master's Examination  (1-9 credit hours)  

For students in non thesis master's programs who have completed all other requirements of the degree except preparing for and taking the final master's exam.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Spring only

PP 693  Master's Supervised Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Instruction in research and research under the mentorship of a member of the Graduate Faculty.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 695  Master's Thesis Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Thesis research.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 696  Summer Thesis Res  (1 credit hours)  

For graduate students whose programs of work specify no formal course work during a summer session and who will be devoting full time to thesis research.

Typically offered in Summer only

PP 699  Master's Thesis Preparation  (1-9 credit hours)  

Original research in plant pathology.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

PP 707  Plant Microbe Interactions  (3 credit hours)  

Fundamental concepts and current status of research on the physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions during plant disease. Topics include recognition, penetration and colonization, pathogenicity and virulence determinants, resistance mechanisms, sign transduction, programmed cell death, and other current topics. Information presented in context of virual-, bacterial-, fungal-and nematode-plan interactions.Credit cannot be received for both PP 507 and PP 707

Prerequisite: PP 501

Typically offered in Spring only

PP 715/MB 715  Applied Evolutionary Analysis of Population Genetic Data  (3 credit hours)  

This course will introduce nonparametric and model-based methods for making inferences on population processes (mutation, migration, drift, recombination, and selection). The goal is to provide a conceptual overview of these methods and hands-on training on how to implement and interpret the results. Sample data sets in computer laboratories will integrate summary statistic, cladistic, coalescent, and bayesian approaches to examine population processes in different pathosystems with specific emphasis on eukaryotic microbes, viruses and bacteria.

PP 727/ENT 727  Ecology of Soil Ecosystems  (3 credit hours)  

This course will focus on the interactions between soil organisms and their environment, and the ecological consequences of these diverse complex interactions. In particular, it will explore the scientific evidence that illustrates links between soil organisms, ecosystem functioning and the quality of air and water systems, and examine why and how the related research was conducted. This course will bring together theory and research trends from distinct subject areas: soil microbiology, entomology and ecosystem ecology.

Prerequisite: One course in: (SSC 332, SSC 511, SSC 521, or SSC 532), or ecology (BO 360 or CS 430), or microbiology (MB 351), or consent of instructor.

Typically offered in Spring only

PP 755  Plant Disease Resistance: Mechanisms and Applications  (3 credit hours)  

This class deals with the major concepts in plant disease resistance: Its molecular and biochemical bases, its effectiveness and methods of deployment and conventional and transgenic breeding methods used to incorporate improved disease resistance into crop species.

P: Basic Undergraduate Level Genetics Class

Typically offered in Spring only

PP 790  Special Topics  (1-6 credit hours)  

The study of special problems and selected topics of current interest in plant pathology and related fields.

PP 795  Advanced Special Topics  (1 credit hours)  

Critical study of special problems and selected topics of current interest in plant pathology and related fields.

PP 801  Seminar In Plant Pathology  (1 credit hours)  

Discussion of assigned phytopathological topics.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 810  Special Topics  (1-6 credit hours)  

The study of special problems and selected topics of current interest in plant pathology and related fields.

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

PP 815  Advanced Special Topics  (1-6 credit hours)  

Critical study of special problems and selected topics of current interest in plant pathology and related fields.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 820  Special Problems In Plant Pathology  (1-6 credit hours)  

Investigation of special problems in plant pathology not related to thesis problem. Investigations may consist of original research and/or literature survey.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 885  Doctoral Supervised Teaching  (1-3 credit hours)  

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment, and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 890  Doctoral Preliminary Examination  (1-9 credit hours)  

For students who are preparing for and taking written and/or oral preliminary exams.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Spring only

PP 893  Doctoral Supervised Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Instruction in research and research under the mentorship of a member of the Graduate Faculty.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 895  Doctoral Dissertation Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Dissertation Research

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

PP 896  Summer Dissertation Research  (1 credit hours)  

For graduate students whose programs of work specify no formal course work during a summer session and who will be devoting full time to thesis research.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Summer only

PP 899  Doctoral Dissertation Preparation  (1-9 credit hours)  

For students who have completed all credit hour requirements, full-time enrollment, preliminary examination, and residency requirements for the doctoral degree and are writing and defending their dissertations.

Prerequisite: Doctoral student

Typically offered in Spring only