Generating new knowledge and understanding about the biology of plants and plant pathogens, and the roles soils, water, and the environment play in the promotion of a sustainable and economically sound agricultural system and ecosystem. View our programs:

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Welcome to the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. With expertise ranging from ecosystems services and disease management, to plant breeding, genomics, and food safety, we provide leadership and deliver programs that are internationally recognized and respected and have impact at local, national, and international levels. To provide this leadership, we work in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner to effectively address complex problems and emerging threats that challenge food production and security. Above all, we value our missions of teaching, extension/outreach, research, international, service, and stewardship. We are home to 70 faculty, 100 graduate students, 86 post-docs and staff members, and 200 undergraduate and certificate students.  For more information see our mission statement.


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Welcome Margaret Fleming

Welcome New Faculty 
Margaret Fleming joined the Department as Assistant Professor. Fleming joins us from the Department of Plant Biology, where she has been working with Marjorie Weber with funding from Project GREEEN, the Office of Research and Innovation, AgBioResearch, CNS, and the Department of Plant Biology to develop a new version of Beal's buried seed experiment and

In this project, Fleming will be identifying all the plants that germinated from seeds buried in 1879 by Dr. Beal, and sown in 2021 by Fleming, Frank Telewski, Lars Brudvig, David Lowry, and Marjorie Weber. “They are all likely Verbascum blattaria,” Fleming says, “except the flowering one, which is Verbascum but not V. blattaria.”

“to learn what's so special about Verbascum blattaria that it has continued to germinate while the other species have all seemingly died,” Fleming says.


 Fleming’s research focuses on seeds and their survival strategies, using molecular and physiological techniques. “I'm very interested in how seeds deal with getting wet and not germinating, including in the soil seed bank, during priming, or in humid storage environments.”

Starting this fall, Fleming will teach CSS492 (Professional Development Seminar II), and CSS222 (New Horizons in Biotechnology) starting in fall 2023.

Fleming hails originally from Gaithersburg MD, and came to MSU from her graduate program at CSU, where she studied the influence of extensin cross-linking on biomass recalcitrance.

“I am excited to put my training in teaching writing to undergrads to good use!”