May 20, 2024  
2016-2017 General Catalog 
2016-2017 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology (Graduate Program)


For information regarding the UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM, click here.  

Program Overview

Plant pathology is the study of plant diseases from the molecular level of host-pathogen interactions to the development and testing of field level disease management protocols. The need for professionals in this area has never been greater because of the burgeoning world population and the worldwide movement of destructive plant pathogens. In addition, there is a constant demand for new agricultural technology related to food security because of the emphasis on environmental stewardship and the ever-increasing need to produce more food and fiber on a finite land area.

Crop physiology is the study of molecular, biochemical and physiological processes that are required for plant growth and development beginning with seeds and progressing to the physiology of yield formation. In addition, this field includes the mechanisms by which plants adapt to environmental stresses such as salinity, drought and high temperatures. Both fields are involved with discovery of new knowledge and its application to the solution of food and fiber production.

The Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology at LSU is recognized nationally and internationally for applied and basic research on diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and viruses of economically important agronomic and horticultural crops as well as coastal plants. Conditions in Louisiana allow cultivation of and research on semitropical crop species such as corn, cotton, rice, soybeans, sugarcane, and sweet potatoes. Graduate students have the opportunity to work with Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station personnel who conduct investigations in areas of plant pathology and crop physiology. The department’s MS and PhD graduates are prepared for appointments at universities, in government and private research labs, or in international agricultural development. Other employment opportunities exist in the agricultural chemical industry, with government regulatory agencies, or with private research foundations. Prospective students should consult the website and correspond with faculty members whose programs most closely match their professional interests.


Lawrence E. Datnoff, Head
Zhiyuan Chen, Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee
TELEPHONE 225-578-1464
FAX 225-578-1415


Applications and supporting materials for all graduate study must be submitted through the online application site for the LSU Graduate School. Official transcripts, official test scores, and other materials that come from third-party sources must be mailed to: Graduate Admissions, 114 West David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. These paper documents are stored electronically and departments have access to all materials submitted by and/or on behalf of a student applying for graduate admission.

Applications for admission to the LSU Graduate School must be received by May 15 for the summer and fall semesters and October 15 for the spring semester. Transcripts of academic work completed at LSU are not necessary. Results from the GRE exam (verbal and quantitative) should be sent directly to the LSU Graduate School by Educational Testing Services. These test scores are required before any application can be considered. A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based exam, 213 on the computer-based exam, and/or 79 on the Internet-based test, a score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS, or a score of at least 59 on the PTE is required of all international students. Also required for admission are three letters of recommendation by individuals who know the applicant’s academic and professional qualifications. Course prerequisites for entrance into the MS or PhD program vary by area of specialization. Further information on graduate studies in the department may be obtained by emailing

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available through the department or other units in the form of research or teaching assistantships. A student should contact the faculty member of interest or the department head for more information on available assistantships. To ensure consideration for financial aid, all application materials should be submitted in accordance with deadlines established by the LSU Graduate School.

Graduate Faculty

(check current listings by department by clicking this link)

Robert Brown (3F) • Mycotoxicology
Zhiyuan Chen (M) • Molecular biology, plant physiology, host-fungal pathogen interactions
Christopher A. Clark (M) • Plant pathology, sweet potato pathology

Marc A. Cohn (M) • Seed systems biology
Patrick D. Colyer (3F) • Plant pathology
Kenneth E. Damann (M) • Mycotoxicology, biological control, host-pathogen interactions
Lawrence E. Datnoff (M) • Plant pathology, silicon nutrition and plant disease resistance
Vinson Doyle (6A) • Mycology, systematics, population genetics, phylogenomics
Michael P. Grisham (3F) • Sugarcane pathology
Donald E. Groth (3F) • Plant pathology, host resistance in rice and wheat
Jong H. Ham (M) • Phytobacteriology
Gordon E. Holcomb (EM)
Clayton Hollier (M) • Plant pathology, disease management, crop loss assessment
Jeffrey W. Hoy (M) • Plant pathology, sugarcane pathology, epidemiology
Melanie L. Ivey (6A) • Plant pathology, horticultural crops
Steven D. Linscombe (3F) • Disease resistance in rice
Edward C. McGawley (M) • Nematology, plant pathology
Charles Overstreet (M) • Nematology, plant pathology
Guy Boyd Padgett (3F) • Plant pathology, disease management in row crops, epidemiology
Paul P. Price, III (3F) • Field crops pathology and disease management, epidemiology
Raymond W. Schneider (M) • Plant pathology, fungal genetics, soybean pathology
Raghuwinder Singh (3F) • Plant health diagnostics
Barbara J Smith  (3F) • Diseases of small fruit crops
Rodrigo A. Valverde (M) • Plant virology


    Doctor of PhilosophyMaster of Science