The Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology (PPPMB) Section of the School of Integrative Plant Sciences has been an active center of investigation for more than a century and boasts an impressive legacy of scholarship in research and education in topics such as pathogenesis, plant-associated microbes, and sustainable methods to suppress plant disease. Our faculty and staff have a rich history of developing leaders in plant biology and pathology throughout the world.

Program Areas

A major focus of the Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section is discovery of the underlying mechanisms involved in the interactions of plants with pathogens and symbionts. In this program, researchers use a wide range of methodology from biochemistry, bioinformatics, and genomics to molecular and cellular biology, proteomics, and structural biology. Use of these diverse approaches often leads to collaborations with researchers in other disciplines.

Faculty programs

Sustainable disease management typically involves an integration of various individual component actions, which include:

  • planting pathogen-free nursery material or seeds
  • using plant varieties with genetic resistance to disease 
  • implementing cultural practices that inhibit pathogen development and/or improve a plant's ability to withstand pathogen attack
  • deploying agricultural chemicals and/or biological control agents to inhibit pathogen and disease development


Section faculty and affiliated scientists engage in a range of international activities, including: conducting research on plant disease issues that are relevant to resource-limited farmers in developing countries, formal and informal of training of scientists and regulators abroad, and advising international students.


An understanding of pathogen biology and ecology is central to the field of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology.  While most research programs focus on specific diseases, pathogens, or pathogen groups, the ultimate goal of this research area is to identify principles that will apply to multiple pathogens, other pathosystems, and plant-microbiology as a whole. All faculty in our section are involved to some extent in this core endeavor.