Jan Byrne, Ph.D.

Jan Byrne


Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

Plant Pathology Diagnostician

Telephone: 517-355-3504

MSU Plant & Pest Diagnostics
Center for Integrated Plant Systems
578 Wilson Road, Room 114
East Lansing, MI 48824

Area of Expertise:

Plant disease diagnosis, disease management, evaluation of abiotic factors that affect plant health, phytophthora ramorum detection.


B.S., Cornell University, Plant Science
M.S., Michigan State University, Plant Pathology
Ph.D., Michigan State University, Plant Pathology

I am a member of a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team; as such I am primarily responsible for the diagnosis of plant diseases.  Annually, our lab receives approximately 1,000 – 1,500 plant samples for plant health analysis. These samples are primarily from within Michigan and represent both commercial growers and private citizens.

Additionally, I enjoy collaborations with my department colleagues that allow us to recognize and address challenges to Michigan’s agriculture.  Through some of these collaborations we have implemented molecular-based diagnostic techniques that were developed in research programs and augment traditional methods.

As part of a federal program, I receive samples for Phytophthora ramorum testing.  While not currently present in Michigan, this is an extremely destructive pathogen and is a potential threat to Michigan’s forests and nursery industry.

Michigan State University Plant & Pest Diagnostics lab is the regional center for the North Central Plant Diagnostic Network.  As such I work closely with our network of diagnosticians to promote continued collaboration and training for diagnosticians.

Courses taught: 

  • PLP 105 Fundamentals of Applied Plant Pathology, spring semester
  • PLP 890 Independent Study in Plant Diagnostics, fall semester 

Peer-reviewed publications (most recent):

  1. McCoy, A. G., Romberg, M. K., Zaworski, E. R., Robertson, A. E., Phibbs, A., Hudelson, B. D., Smith, D. L., Beiriger, R. L., Raid, R. N., Byrne, J. M., and Chilvers, M. I. (2018). First report of tar spot on corn (Zea mays) caused by Phyllachora maydis in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Plant Disease 102(9):1851.
  2. Rosenzweig, N., Steere, L., Kirk, W. W., Mambetova, S. Long, C., Schafer, R., Dangi, S., and Byrne J. M. (2016). First report of Dickeya dianthicola and Pectobacterium wasabiae causing aerial stem rot of potato in Michigan, USA. New Disease Reports 33:10.
  3. Demers, J. E., Byrne, J. M., and Castlebury, L. A. (2016). First report of crown rust (Puccinia coronate var. gibberosa) on blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) in the United States. Plant Disease 100:1009.
  4. Wang, J., Jacobs, J. L., Byrne, J. M., and Chilvers, M. I. (2015). Improved diagnoses and quantification of Fusarium virguliforme, causal agent of soybean sudden death syndrome. Phytopathology 105:378-387.
  5. Rodriguez-Salamanca, L. M., Enzenbacher, T. B., Byrne, J. M., Feng, C., Correll, J. C., and Hausbeck, M. K. (2012) First report of Colletotrichum acutatum sensu lato causing leaf curling and petiole anthracnose on celery (Apium graveolens) in Michigan, Plant Disease 96(9):1383-1383.
  6. Ruhl, G., Twieg, E., DeVries, R., Levy, L., Byrne, J. M., Mollov, D., and Taylor, N. (2011). First report of bacterial wilt in Mandevilla (= Dipladenia) splendens ‘Red Riding Hood’ in the United States caused by Ralstonia solanacearum biovar 3. Plant Disease 95(5):614-614.
  7. Yun, H. Y., Rossman, A. Y., and Byrne J. M. (2009). First report of Gymnosporangium sabinae, European pear rust, on Bradford pear in Michigan. Plant Disease 93(8):841-841.
  8. Stack, J., Cardwell, K., Hammerschmidt, R., Byrne J. M., Loria, R., Snover-Clift, K., Baldwin, W., Wisler, G., Beck, H., Bostock, R., Thomas, C., and Luke, E. (2006). The National Plant Diagnostic Network. Plant Disease 90(2):128-136


Authored Articles