About the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology and Microbiology

measuring corn

The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and the Department of Entomology officially merged as of September 1, 2022. The new department is known as the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology (PPEM). The overall mission of the Department is to benefit society through research, teaching, and extension activities that improve pest management and prevent disease. Collectively, the Department consists of about 100 faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in research, teaching, and extension activities that are central to the mission of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Department possesses state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities in the Advanced Research and Teaching Building and in Science II. In addition, research and extension activities are performed off-campus at the Field Extension Education Laboratory, the Horticulture Station, the Agriculture Engineering/Agronomy Farm, and several Research and Demonstration Farms located around the state. Furthermore, the Department houses the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, the Iowa Soybean Research Center, the Insect Zoo, and BugGuide. Several USDA-ARS scientists are also affiliated with the Department.

The overall mission of the Department is to benefit society through research, teaching, and extension activities that improve pest management and prevent disease.

Research in the Department covers a broad range of topics related to pest management and the prevention of disease. This includes understanding the biology and virulence mechanisms of viral, bacterial, fungal, nematode, and insect pathogens, determining mechanisms of plant resistance to diverse pathogens, developing and applying new strategies for pest management, and elucidating multi-species interactions that underlie plant health. Because of the expertise of our faculty, staff, and students, we are well-positioned to provide fundamental advances that benefit society. Moreover, our collaborative and collegial research environment has enabled joint projects that span disciplines and further position us to face challenges such as the emergence of new disease threats or addressing the impacts of a changing climate on the biology of pathogens and their hosts.

The Department, along with the Department of Animal Science, is the administrative home of the undergraduate Microbiology major. In addition, the Department is home to the undergraduate Insect Science and Global Health Minors. Our faculty teach a range of exciting courses that cover the fields of microbiology, entomology, and plant pathology. We do so through the use of active and experiential learning approaches that foster student engagement while facilitating career preparation. The Department houses separate graduate programs in Entomology and Plant Pathology, and also participates in multiple interdisciplinary graduate programs. Our graduates are highly sought professionals that find employment in industry, research institutions, and universities.

Extension activities in the Department impact the lives and welfare of residents in Iowa and the north central region. Our renowned extension faculty and their teams use a variety of platforms to communicate relevant information and advice to a diverse clientele. These efforts ensure that the newest research results are used to inform decisions that affect the livelihoods of all Iowans.

Whether you are a prospective student, an interested researcher, or searching for advice on pest management, we welcome you to our website and invite you to explore its content.

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