PSM welcomes new potato and sugarbeet pathologist

Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences is excited to welcome a new faculty member for this upcoming spring! Jaime Willbur will be joining us on March 1, 2018 as a new extension and faculty member, studying specifically potato and sugarbeet pathology.

Willbur received her Bachelors of Science in chemical biology from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan. Willbur initially became interested in plant pathology through a USDA-ARS internship at the University of Minnesota where she spent her summer studying fungicide sensitivity in alfalfa fungal pathogens.

Following her graduation from Lawrence Technological University, Willbur decided to pursue her newfound passion for plants and went to the University of Wisconsin- Madison for her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology. While studying at the University of Wisconsin, WIllbur worked as a graduate research assistant, and published many peer-reviewed scientific publications. She is most proud of her work on a predictive model which was developed for white mold in soybeans. The model has been integrated into a web platform which allows farmers to see disease risk factors depending on their location. The model is also currently being developed into a mobile app.

Willbur is most looking forward to the opportunity to work in the environment at Michigan State University, saying “Everyone has been so supportive since I got the call on day one!” Her initial plans are to collaborate with other faculty members, such as Linda Hanson and Dave Douches, to develop and refine disease modelling and disease resistance to improve integrated management programs.

In her spare time, Willbur enjoys reading, baking, and outdoor activities, including hiking and fishing. Her aim for her program is "to keep one foot in the furrow and one hand on the bench." And the quote that she lives by is, "the only rewards you have no chance of obtaining are those you do not try for."   

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