Washington State University Plant Pathologist Elected Fellow of American Phytopathological Society

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University professor of plant pathology, Tim Murray, has been elected Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society. The honor is bestowed upon an APS member in recognition of distinguished contributions to plant pathology or to the APS.

“When I found out that I had received this award, it was really quite a surprise,” said Murray. “It was also gratifying, in the sense that I’ve been doing this work for 27 years now. I really look at this as a group award for all of the people, students, postdocs, technicians, and visiting scientists who have came through the lab and contributed to my program. When I look at the list of past recipients, those are the leaders of the field, and to join that group of distinguished scientists, it’s very humbling.”

Murray has made key contributions to understanding the etiology, epidemiology, and management of Cephalosporium stripe, eyespot, and snow mold diseases of winter wheat. His contributions as a plant pathologist have been essential to wheat breeding programs incorporating genetic resistance to those diseases for the Pacific Northwest as well as other regions of the world.

Currently, he is a member of a multidisciplinary team developing perennial wheat as a new alternative crop to reduce soil erosion. In the 1980s, his research contributed to a 90 percent reduction in the fungicide used to control eyespot disease on nearly one million acres of wheat in the Pacific Northwest.

In recognition of his expertise on wheat diseases, Murray was invited to chair the committee developing the U.S. recovery plan for wheat stem rust race Ug99 and is a member of the USDA Ug99 Action Plan working group.

Murray has published over 50 refereed journal articles and has an extensive publication record in the popular and technical presses. He is the author of “A Color Handbook of Diseases of Small Grain Cereal Crops” and co-editor of “The Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology,” both of which are widely used reference books. He has served in an editorial capacity on numerous scientific journals.

“Tim’s a great scientist whose work has made a significant positive impact to the economic well-being of wheat farmers. His work has contributed greatly to our basic understanding of plant diseases. He’s a wonderful mentor to students who have themselves gone on to make important contributions to our understanding of plant pathology. We’re all delighted that Tim has received this well-deserved recognition,” said Hanu Pappu, chair of the Department of Plant Pathology at WSU.

Murray received both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology from WSU and has been a faculty member since 1983. Throughout his tenure at WSU he has made significant contributions to the plant pathology program.

Murray will be recognized for the award at a special ceremony during an annual meeting of the APS in Nashville, Tenn. this August.