du Toit Named Alfred Christianson Endowed Professor

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Washington State University plant pathologist Lindsey du Toit has been named Alfred Christianson Endowed Professor. The four-year endowment will provide funding to support du Toit’s vegetable seed pathology research program.

The endowment was established by the family of Alfred Christianson, founder of the Alf Christianson Seed Company, to “attract and retain a world-renowned scholar and practitioner with special expertise in vegetable seed science.”

du Toit is a vegetable pathologist specializing in vegetable seed research at WSU’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon. She has been with the NWREC for six years.

du Toit earned her masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in plant pathology. She began work with WSU as a plant diagnostician at the university’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center in 1998.

The Alf Christianson Seed Company was founded in 1926 in Mount Vernon, initially producing and selling cabbage seed and expanding over the years into the production of spinach, carrot, radish, turnip and other vegetable and herb seed. Northwestern Washington is one of the world’s leading areas for vegetable seed production.

In July du Toit helped to bring the annual International Spinach Conference to the Skagit Valley for the first time, attracting participants from Denmark, Holland, Japan and New Zealand as well as the United States.

Earlier this year she was the recipient of the Early Career Award from the Pacific Division of the American Phytopathological Society. The award recognizes upcoming young scientists who are members and have made distinguished contributions to plant pathology.

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