Entomology and Plant Pathology

Portrait of Taylor Miller

Taylor Miller Reflects On Graduate Experience within the Herbert College of Agriculture

    Taylor Miller, a recent graduate student, sat down for an insightful interview with the Herbert College of Agriculture to share her remarkable journey and experiences during her time in graduate school. In the interview, Miller recounted her favorite memories and classes that left a lasting impression. Graduating from the Herbert College of Agriculture was not just an academic achievement for Taylor; it was a testament to her unwavering dedication and the invaluable impact of her alma mater. To read Miller’s interview, visit Achieving Academic Excellence at Herbert: Taylor Miller.    

a pollinator pollinating a flower in the gardens

University of Tennessee to Host “Garden Buzz: The Celebration of Pollinators” in Honor of Pollinator Week

    The University of Tennessee Bee Campus Committee, a group comprised of UT faculty, staff and students, in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and UT Gardens, invites communities across the state to celebrate Pollinator Week at a series of pollinator events, Garden Buzz, on June 20, 2023. Pollinator Week is an annual celebration in support of pollinator health, initiated and managed by Pollinator Partnership. Garden Buzz will offer participants opportunities to learn more about pollinators in Tennessee through educational sessions and to fill their gardens with locally grown plants that attract pollinators. “Garden Buzz is an example of the great events the University of Tennessee offers across the state through Extension, AgResearch and other UT Institute of Agriculture programs,”

Mark and Karen Windham

Professor Emeritus Mark Windham Awarded the Joseph and Marion Klima Medal for Excellence

    Professor emeritus Mark Windham was awarded the Joseph and Marion Klima Medal at the 2023 ARS National Rose Convention in Shreveport, LA on May 6, 2023, by the American Rose Society (ARS). The award recognizes Windham’s many contributions to the American Rose Magazine and ornamental plant pathology and outreach to rosarians. “I am honored. I would also like to thank Sara Collins, a research associate within the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, as she was instrumental to the success of the resistance work at the Plateau Station,” Windham said. The Celebration Awards Banquet, which took place during the National Rose Convention, was attended by more than 300 attendees. At the banquet, Windham gave an address on “A

Kathleen Coffman and Sydney Crowe speak with students and adults at "May the Bugs Be with You".

“May the Bugs Be with You” at STEAM night in Oak Ridge

    Undergraduate students, Kathleen Coffman and Sydney Crowe, attended Community STEAM night at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, TN, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm EDT on Thursday, May 4, 2023. With more than 30 displays/booths, STEAM night brought together STEM and ART into a fun, educational evening! The theme of the night was “May the Fourth Be with You”. Therefore, Kathleen Coffman and Sydney Crowe spent the evening educating more than 500 students and adults at their booth named, “May the Bugs Be with You”.

Portrait of Shade Niece

Shade Niece Receives 2023 Student Research Award

    Shade Niece, a graduate student studying plant pathology, and mentor Marcin Nowicki, a research assistant professor within the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, were selected to receive the 2023 Student/Faculty Research Award by the UT Graduate School. The award will support Niece’s project, “Establishing the first whole mitochondrial genomes for Cornales.” Nowicki said, “This is a proud mentor moment. Congratulations, Shade!”   For more information about the Student and Faculty Research Award, visit gradschool.utk.edu/faculty-student-research-award.

Portrait of Zane Smith

Zane Smith Receives 2023 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

    Zane Smith, a graduate student within the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, was selected to receive the 2023 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. This highly competitive award recognizes graduate students who are anticipated to become knowledge experts and contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. Smith’s research focuses on generating and utilizing computational genomic resources for the conservation of imperiled and endangered forest trees, primarily native ash trees. Through his research, Zane seeks to understand how genomic techniques can be applied to understand and leverage adaptive potential for the conservation of at-risk species to secure their presence in the wild. “Thank you to

Rebecca Butler in Field holding a raccoon

Student Spotlight: Rebecca Butler

    While building a career as a wildlife mammalogist, Rebecca Butler discovered medical entomology. This event inspired her to enroll in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and study under associate professor Rebecca Trout Fryxell. In 2021, Butler was recognized by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture alongside her advisor, professor Karen Vail, and research specialist Jennifer Chandler for their publication, Managing Ticks on School Grounds. In her spare time, Butler enjoys whitewater kayaking and mountain biking.    Q&A with Rebecca Butler Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? I began my academic career as a wildlife mammalogist where I researched interactions between hosts, pathogens, and parasites. Studying wildlife disease ecology led me to discover

Heba Abdelgaffar looking into a microscope in the Jurat-Fuentes lab

Staff Spotlight: Heba Abdelgaffar

    Heba Abdelgaffar, a lab manager in the Jurat-Fuentes Lab, joined the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in 2012 after receiving her Ph.D. in biology from Ain Shams University in Cairo. Since her arrival, Heba has contributed to many publications and excelled as a team leader. In her free time, Abdelgaffar loves to foster animals and cook traditional Egyptian dishes. Q&A with Heba Abdelgaffar Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? My name is Heba Abdelgaffar, and I was born and raised in Cairo (Egypt). I have always been interested in science, so I pursued a Ph.D. degree in Biology from Ain Shams University in Cairo. My dissertation project was on identifying receptors for insecticidal proteins