The Michigan State University Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences is actively engaged in research, extension, teaching and outreach to resolve the critical agricultural issues that impact the people of Michigan, the United States and the World.
For more information see our mission statement.
A new type of agriculture has been proposed in Africa that complements conventional annual crops with new genetic options that grow for extended periods and can double sunlight capture, nitrogen fixation and water cycling.
This transformative approach also potentially offers a new way to address climate variability, by stabilizing grain yields and providing more forage for livestock.
Sieg Snapp, a Michigan State University professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences at Kellogg Biological Station, discussed this Feb. 16 as part of a panel at this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Three faculty members and three staff members from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) were honored for their outstanding contributions to education and research at the annual MSU Awards Convocation on Feb. 11.
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon congratulated the honorees at the ceremony and saluted their contributions to the university’s excellence during a ceremony held at the Wharton Center.
Four individuals in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) have been selected to receive the William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award (formerly the Distinguished Faculty Award).
The Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University invites applications for a 12-month, fixed term Assistant Professor position in plant breeding and genetics for international programs to help expand its collaborative research, graduate training and outreach in plant breeding for global food security.
Michigan State University (MSU) researchers, members of the U.S. Dry Bean Council, the Michigan Bean Commission, local farmers, elevator managers and several representatives of the bean canning industry gathered at MSU’s Crops Research Lab on Jan. 13, to evaluate both improved and standard bean varieties for canning.
The varieties being tested were canned in the Food Science pilot plant in December 2013—and need to be in the can for a full month prior to being evaluated so the contents can stabilize. The cans are then opened and their contents evaluated for size, color, shape and intactness.
Westland, MichiganMajor Professor:
Dr. Joseph M. Vargas Jr.
In what lab do you work in and what are you researching? Turfgrass Pathology. My research is focused on characterizing a new bacterial disease on golf courses. The disease is caused by a pathogen (Acidovorax avenae) our lab identified a few years ago for the first time on turfgrass. The project involves not only field studies, but growth chamber, greenhouse, and lab experiments aimed at the basic epidemiology and molecular identification of this enigmatic problem on creeping bentgrass.
Future career plans: I aspire to continue to solve the most pressing problems facing the turfgrass industry through research and outreach. Luckily, there are many opportunities to pursue my passion for turfgrass science and pathology in both academic and private industry positions.
What program are you in? I am in the Plant Pathology program within the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.
Why did you choose that program? Working on golf courses at an early age, I realized just how devastating plant pathogens can be to a beautiful stand of turfgrass, as well as a constrained maintenance budget. As my responsibilities grew, I found that a vast majority of my time was spent scouting and managing fungal diseases. The opportunity to conduct meaningful research related to disease management on turf made my choice of plant pathology an easy one.
What or who inspired your interest in Turfgrass Pathology?
The golf course superintendents that I have worked under in the past initially piqued my interest in agronomy and plant pathology in general. Dr. Vargas has played an integral role in molding my passion for plant pathology and has allowed me the freedom as a graduate research assistant to address some unique and interesting problems.
What has been your best experience in your program listed above? It would be difficult to choose one experience. My best experiences have been the culmination of all of the opportunities I have been given. Not only has my research rewarded me with a valuable skill set, the results have had wide reaching impacts in the turf industry. I have had chances to speak at conferences around the world, and to even teach turf management in China. All of these experiences would likely not have been offered to me if I did not join the graduate program in plant pathology at Michigan State University.
Why did you choose Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences?
Plant pathology is so multi-disciplinary, I felt the latitude the department offered to an aspiring researcher would broaden my experiences as well as my eventual career prospects. The discipline allows students to pursue research projects in a wide array of agricultural settings employing principles of agronomy, soil science, plant biology, microbiology, ecology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and beyond. This diversity of topics and convergence of research interests is what inspired me to choose Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.
: Trent M. Limban
Dr. John Rogers IIIWhat is your Major, or Certificate Program?
Golf Turf ManagementWhy did you choose that major or program? MSU
turf has a very rich history of being an elite program in the area of turf management.
Future plans: After graduation I would like to become an assistant superintendent at a high level golf facility.
What or who inspired your interest in your program? My love for the outdoors and my blue collar hard work ethic.
What has been your best experience in discipline listed above?
My best experience has been the education and training I have received at MSU
. Also, the bonds and relationships I’ve developed with other students has been very rewarding and a vital part of my success here at Michigan State. Why did you choose Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences?
Tradition and excellence of the program and my love for the outdoors.