In the 1840s, the Irish potato crop mysteriously began failing. Before it was over, the Great Irish Potato Famine caused more than 1 million deaths from starvation or disease and forced another million to emigrate, decimating Ireland's population by 25 percent.
It wasn't long before scientific inquiry led to the realization that the crop loss was due to a plant disease, and the field of plant pathology was born.
Today, the need for plant pathologists is greater than ever. An anticipated global population of 9 billion by 2050 demands a substantial increase in food production in an environmentally sustainable way.
Today's plant pathologists work with other agricultural scientists to increase yields, protect water quality, improve food safety, and find new biological controls to thwart devastation from plant disease and invasive species.
Your support of the Department of Plant Pathology Annual Fund helps provide internships, research funding, and other opportunities for the next generation of plant pathologists.
For details about this fund or other opportunities to support the department, call (614) 292-0473.