Plant Stress Biology

Many of us take for granted the fact that we have a safe, abundant food supply. In many parts of the world, however, plant stresses, both biotic and abiotic, can be devastating not only to plants themselves, but to the humans who rely on them. Through the study of plant responses to the environment, to plant pathogens, and plant pests, we help find solutions to these important problems. We also recognize that plant-associated microbes can be beneficial effects, and may even be essential to maintenance of plant health. We seek to educate graduate students for careers in molecular plant stress interactions, plant pathology and related areas.

  • During the Fall and Winter semesters, MS students and PhD students who have not completed their comprehensive exam must enroll for 9 credits to be considered a full time student.
  • Students must complete an approved teaching opportunity or an approved extension program. For more information review the graduate teaching requirement.

For a more detailed explanation of degree requirements, see the Graduate Student Handbook.


M.S. Requirements

To satisfy the course requirements for a Masters degree, a student must complete:

  • A minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • 15 credit hours (towards the 30 credit hour requirement) must be from courses numbered at the 8000 or 9000 level. A maximum of 12 of these credit hours can be satisfied by research (PLNT S 8090).
  • 12 credit hours (towards the 30 credit hour requirement) can be satisfied by research (PLNT S 8090), readings (PLNT S 7965 or 7970) and problems courses.

The core requirements for the Masters degree in Plant Stress Biology program are:

Two Entry Level courses (to be completed in the first year):

Choose one course from:

Choose one course from:

  • PLNT S 7500 Biology and Pathogenesis of Plant-Associated Microbes (lab course; 4 credits)
  • PLNT S 8505 Introduction to Plant Stress Biology (2 credits)

Required courses:

  • PLNT S 8010 Professionalism and Ethics (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 8530 Research with Plant Stress Agents (3 credits)

Participation in the student seminar series:

  • PLNT S 9087 (1 credit)
  • PLNT S 7087 (2 credits – Must enroll twice)

PLNT S 8090 Thesis Research (1 – 10 credits per semester)

Participation in one of two readings courses each year:

  • PLNT S 7965 Readings in Plant Stress Biology
  • PLNT S 7970 Readings in Molecular Ecology of Herbivory

Elective Courses to fulfill the 30 credit hour minimum. Selections include, but are not limited to:

  • AN S 8430 Introduction to Bioinformatics Programming (4 credits)
  • BIO S 8300 Advanced Plant Genetics (3 credits)
  • BIOCHM 8434 Signaling in Molecular Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • INFO INST 8005 Applications of Bioinformatics Tools in Biological Research (3 credits)
  • Bio/PS 8310 Fungal Genetics and Biology (3 credits)
  • PLNT S 8330 Molecular Breeding (3 credits)
  • PLNT S 8362 Introduction to Plant Metabolism (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 8365 Introduction to Molecular Cell Biology (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 9440 Applied Quantitative and Statistical Genetics (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 9415 Advanced Plant Physiology (1-3 credits)
  • PLNT S 9540 Genetics of the Plant-Microbe Interaction (3 credits)
  • PLNT S 9810 Insect Ecology (3 credits)

Additional Entry Level courses:

  • PLNT S 7550 Plant Biotechnology (4 credits)
  • PLNT S 7400 Plant Anatomy (4 credits)
  • STAT 7070 Statistical Methods for Research (3 credits)

Ph.D. Requirements

To satisfy the course requirements for a doctoral degree, a student must complete:

  • A minimum of 72 credit hours from courses numbered 7000-9000 (this includes dissertation research credit hours – i.e. PLNT S 9090)
  • 15 credit hours (towards the 72 hour requirement) must be from courses numbered at the 8000 or 9000 level, exclusive of dissertation research, problems or independent study.

The core requirements for the PhD degree in Plant Stress Biology program are:

Two Entry Level courses (to be completed in the first year):

Choose one course from:

Choose one course from:

  • PLNT S 7500 Biology and Pathogenesis of Plant-Associated Microbes (lab course; 4 credits)
  • PLNT S 8505 Introduction to Plant Stress Biology (2 credits)

Required courses:

  • PLNT S 8010 Professionalism and Ethics (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 8530 Research with Plant Stress Agents (3 credits)

Participation in the student seminar series:

  • PLNT S 7087 (3 credits – Must enroll 3 times)
  • PLNT S 9087 (2 credits – Must enroll twice; only 1 credit counts towards the 15 credit hour requirement of 8000/9000 level courses)

PLNT S 9090 Dissertation Research (1 – 10 credits per semester)

Participation in one of two readings courses each year (must enroll each year until the comprehensive exam is passed):

  • PLNT S 7965 Readings in Plant Stress Biology
  • PLNT S 7970 Readings in Molecular Ecology of Herbivory

Elective courses to fulfill the requirement for 15 credit hours at the 8000 or 9000 level. Selections include, but are not limited to:

  • AN S 8430 Introduction to Bioinformatics Programming (4 credits)
  • BIO S 8300 Advanced Plant Genetics (3 credits)
  • BIOCHM 8434 Signaling in Molecular Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • INFO INST 8005 Applications of Bioinformatics Tools in Biological Research (3 credits)
  • Bio/PS 8310 Fungal Genetics and Biology (3 credits)
  • PLNT S 8330 Molecular Breeding (3 credits)
  • PLNT S 8362 Introduction to Plant Metabolism (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 8365 Introduction to Molecular Cell Biology (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 9440 Applied Quantitative and Statistical Genetics (2 credits)
  • PLNT S 9415 Advanced Plant Physiology (1-3 credits)
  • PLNT S 9540 Genetics of the Plant-Microbe Interaction (3 credits)
  • PLNT S 9810 Insect Ecology (3 credits)

Additional Entry Level courses:

  • PLNT S 7550 Plant Biotechnology (4 credits)
  • PLNT S 7400 Plant Anatomy (4 credits)
  • STAT 7070 Statistical Methods for Research (3 credits)

Advising

Ivan Baxter, plant elemental composition in different environments; ionomics

Kaitlyn Bissonnette, field crops pathology

Christine Elsik, computational biology & bioinformatics

Deborah Finke, insect ecology; plant-insect interactions

Felix Fritschi, crop physiology; abiotic stress

Walter Gassmann, molecular plant pathogen interactions

Malia Gehan high throughput phenotyping, temperature stress

Jason Gillman, genetic basis of seed traits

Megan Hall, viticulture

Bruce Hibbard, insect resistance management

Chin-Feng Hwang, grape genetics & breeding

Laszlo Kovacs, molecular grape pathology

Hari Krishnan, soybean molecular biology & seed composition

Anne McKendry, wheat genetics & breeding

David Mendoza-Cozatl, stress biology; trace metal homeostasis

Jeanne Mihail, fungal biology & ecology; mushroom cultivation

Gerald (Lee) Miller, turf pathology

Melissa G. Mitchum, plant-nematode interactions

Ron Mittler, plant stress biology

Harley Naumann, forage physiology

Henry T. Nguyen, molecular genetics of plant stress; soybean biotechnology

Mel Oliver, plant genetics; desiccation tolerance

Wenping Qiu, Vitis genomics & gene discovery; plant virology

Kevin Rice, row crop and forage entomology

James Schoelz, plant-virus interactions

Robert Sharp, plant physiology; drought

Qisheng Song, molecular insect physiology

Gary Stacey, soybean genomics; molecular soybean-microbe interactions

Dean Volenberg, viticulture

William Wiebold, soybean and corn management

Bing Yang, plant-bacterial interactions

Xi Xiong, turfgrass science; stress physiology

Ru Zhang, photosynthesis, temperature stress