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Peter Goldsbrough has been appointed head of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. He has been a faculty member in the Purdue Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture since 1986.
Goldsbrough replaces Ray Martyn, who now heads Purdue’s new Center for Crop Biosecurity.
“I’m very honored and excited to return to the botany department,” says Goldsbrough, a plant molecular biologist. “We have a wonderful faculty, and I want to maintain the department’s strengths in teaching, research and outreach in plant and weed science and plant pathology.”
Randy Woodson, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, says Goldsbrough was an outstanding choice for the position.
“Peter has spent his career conducting significant, innovative research that can improve crops’ abilities to withstand stresses such as drought and harmful minerals in the soil,” Woodson says. “He’s also a wonderful and respected teacher who puts his students’ needs at the forefront.”
Goldsbrough says he plans to continue both research and teaching, and he wants to attract more students to the study of plant science.
Goldsbrough earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and his doctorate at the University of East Anglia in England. After doing postdoctoral work at Purdue, Goldsbrough was a visiting assistant professor in the horticulture department for two years before becoming a full-time faculty member. He was appointed professor in 1997.
The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology includes 29 faculty members. It also is home to the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, which identifies plants, insects and other pests and diagnoses plant diseases and pest problems for Purdue Extension educators, local and state agencies, private businesses and the public.
Martyn became head of the department in 1997. As head of the Center for Crop Biosecurity, Martyn leads an effort that could be vital to protecting the country’s food supply against foreign plant pests and pathogens that might be introduced through natural means or terrorism.
“We need a coordinated effort to deal with pathogens and pests that could harm our crops,” Martyn says. “Currently, there is no single place where people can get information on invasive plant pests and plant pathogens in case of a national emergency.”
The center aims to identify plants and pathogens that could cause damage to U.S. crops, to find pathways through which pathogens could invade and to determine how to prevent their introduction.