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WSU alum’s career distinguished by promotion to Regents Professor

Scot Hulbert grew up on a Washington farm in a family full of Cougs.

Scot Hulbert stands with experimental plants inside a WSU greenhouse.
Plant geneticist & alumnus Scot Hulbert is one of just 30 Regents Professors at WSU.

“Everyone in my family went here,” said Hulbert, the current interim Associate Dean for Research for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) at WSU. “It was basically start farming or go to WSU in our family. I loved science, so I was excited to come to Pullman.”

On February 12, the WSU Board of Regents announced Hulbert would join the ranks of Regents Professor. Regents Professor is the highest rank a faculty member can achieve at WSU—a standing that can be held by no more than 30 professors at a time. Regent’s Professors are an elite group of scientists who have reached the highest level of professional achievement in their field.

“There are so many amazing faculty members at this university that I was surprised that anyone even wanted to nominate me,” said Hulbert, who has also served as chair of WSU’s Department of Plant Pathology. “I couldn’t be more honored, and surprised, to join these ranks.”

Hulbert started out life on a farm in Mount Vernon, Wash., where his family grew berries, vegetable seed crops, daffodils, and other crops. Through that experience, he got to meet plant breeders who were helping fight pathogens.

“I thought what they were doing looked like a lot more fun than what I was doing,” said Hulbert, who graduated from WSU with a degree in Horticulture. “I went to WSU, then graduate school at UC-Davis, and got hooked on genetics.”

After receiving his Ph.D. from Davis, Hulbert started his career at Kansas State University, where he taught and did research for 17 years.

Hulbert stands in a green field holding a clipboard and pen. He's looking at the wheat growing in the field.
Scot Hulbert working on a research project in a wheat field on the Palouse.

He does genetic research to breed plants for resistance to fungal pathogens.

“The most sustainable way to fight pathogens is to breed resistance,” Hulbert said. “It eliminates the need for more inputs like fungicides.”

About 12 years ago, Hulbert saw an opening at WSU for the R. James Cook Endowed Chair in Cropping Systems Pathology. He applied and returned to his alma mater and the Pacific Northwest.

Last year, he accepted an offer to become an interim associate dean in CAHNRS. He’s been able to maintain some research, including work fighting rust in wheat and looking at the genetics of the soil microbiome to help microorganisms fight root diseases.

But his move into administration is made easier by his affinity for WSU.

“I’m a huge fan of this university,” Hulbert said. “From cheering on Coug athletics, which I did as a student, to talking about all the amazing work done by scientists here, I am fully on board. This promotion is so rewarding, especially with the deep connections I have here.”

Media Contacts

Scot Hulbert, CAHNRS Interim Associate Dean for Research, (509) 335-3722