Arkansas plant pathologist named society Fellow

Sept. 3, 2013
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Dr. Jim Correll, Professor of Plant Pathology

Fred Miller, Agricultural Communication Services

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Dr. Jim Correll

Dr. Jim Correll
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Jim Correll, professor of plant pathology for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, has been named a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society.

Society Fellow recognition is granted to current APS members in recognition of distinguished contributions to plant pathology or to the American Phytopathological Society. Selection is based on significant contributions in one or more of the following areas: original research, teaching, administration, professional and public service, and/or extension and outreach.

Correll is considered a leading authority on spinach diseases worldwide and has been instrumental in documenting the evolution of races of the spinach downy mildew pathogen, the most important disease of spinach worldwide. He was the first to develop molecular markers linked to major genes for resistance. These efforts lead to his appointment on the International Working Group on Peronospora, based in the Netherlands, where the majority of spinach breeding is conducted. His molecular markers have been widely adopted by the spinach industry and most spinach-breeding programs are using these in their marker-assisted breeding programs.

Correll recently received an $827,745 federal grant to lead a collaboration with the University of California-Davis, the University of Tennessee, and Washington State University for research to develop lines resistant to downy mildew. The project will lead to disease-resistant spinach hybrids, advance understanding of the evolution of races, develop methods to detect seed contamination, and advance management practices. The project was one of only 14 Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grants awarded in 2012.

Correll joined the faculty of the U of A System Division of Agriculture and Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences in 1989 and was promoted to full professor in 1998. He has made a number of major contributions in the areas of basic and applied research and has been awarded more than $12 million in grants.

Some of Correll’s more significant accomplishments include his earlier pioneering work on vegetative compatibility with fungal plant pathogens and on population biology. Correll and colleagues were the first to use nitrate non-utilizing mutants, a robust approach to vegetative compatibility analysis, to examine population diversity of pathogenic and nonpathogenic fungi. He and colleagues published a comprehensive approach to examine vegetative compatibility in various forma speciales of Fusarium oxysporum. The publication has been widely adopted and has been cited more than 550 times since publication.

Correll has also been involved in extensive research on the rice blast pathogen, Magnaporthe oryzae, a globally important pathogen. He was coordinator of the first plant Coordinated Agriculture Project (CAP) grant from the USDA/CSREES, a $5 million award to use genomic discoveries to improve rice in the United States. That grant served as the template for RiceCAP and still serves as a model for CAP efforts.

Correll's rice blast work continues, most recently with a $2.45 million award from the United Kingdom Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study durable rice blast resistance using genomic analysis.

Correll volunteers for numerous philanthropic international work assignments with Winrock International and others. His expertise in integrated pest management has had significant impact on the disease management of various crops and also on the incomes and the quality of life of people in many developing nations. For his efforts, he has been given several Presidential Volunteer Service Awards.

Correll has served as associate editor and senior editor of two APS journals, Plant Disease and Phytopathology. In addition, he has served as an editor of Mycologia and is currently serving as editor-in-chief of Crop Protection and as a senior editor of Plant Disease. Correll has also served APS on the Committee for Soilborne Diseases and other standing committees and has organized and participated in a numerous APS symposia.