Open house to showcase careers, advances in plant pathology and ag sciences

People interested in learning how to feed the world’s growing population can attend an open house on the subject at Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center on June 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Feeding the World in 2050: Career Opportunities for Future Scientists,” hosted by the department of Plant Pathology, will emphasize the wide array of degree programs and career opportunities in plant pathology and agricultural sciences, said Anne Dorrance, a plant pathologist with joint appointments with OSU Extension and OARDC.

Participants will have the chance to visit programs in bioinformatics, disease diagnostics, disease management, organic agriculture, urban farming and invasive species, as well as examine diseases of field crops, fruits, vegetables and ornamentals, she said.

A selection of laboratories, greenhouses and research plots will be open for visitors, including one of the largest disease-screening wheat nurseries in the northeastern U.S. featuring research in the genetics of breeding, biological control, host resistance to fungicides, epidemiological models and forecasting, inoculation techniques, and disease management strategies. Faculty, students and staff will be available to meet with visitors.

“The event’s aim is to raise awareness of careers in plant pathology and agriculture,” said Dorrance, who is also the event organizer. “There are projected shortages of graduates with specialized training in the agricultural sciences, and the job outlook is very strong.”

This is significant, considering the global population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, she said.

“This will place unprecedented demands on our food supply,” Dorrance said. “Scientists with international perspectives are needed to bring novel and revolutionary approaches to agroecosystem management and sustainable food production.”

The event is part of the American Phytopathological Society’s North Central Division Annual Meeting, which will be held June 13-15 at OARDC. Dorrance is the APS North Central Division president.

Faculty and staff from the departments of Entomology and Horticulture and Crop Science will also participate in the open house, as well as plant pathologists from across the north-central U.S. and Canada. Jim Stack, professor and director of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network at Kansas State University, will deliver the opening address, “Plant Health: Your Life Depends On It!”

The open house is free and includes a complimentary box lunch for those who register by June 1. Event and registration information is available online at http://plantpath.osu.edu/future/.

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