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New plant pathologist Jeremiah Dung.Jeremiah Dung has been hired as the plant pathologist for the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Madras.

After an extensive search and interview process, the OSU selection committee offered the position to Jeremiah Dung, and he began working at COARC on Dec. 31, 2013.

Dung received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Eastern Washington University (in Cheney, Wash.), where his studies focused on botany and mycology. After graduating from EWU, he went on to earn Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Pathology at Washington State University (in Pullman, Wash.) His work was done under the direction of Dr. Dennis Johnson, where he conducted research on verticillium wilt and other diseases found in mint and potatoes.

Before arriving at COARC, Dung was a postdoctoral scholar with Philip Hamm at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. During his time there, he investigated the epidemiology and control of ergot in grass seed crops.

He has extensive experience working in applied, extension-based research programs, and particularly enjoys working with growers and stakeholders to find solutions to local and regional plant disease problems.

Dung’s research program at COARC will focus on plant disease epidemiology, or the study of factors that influence the initiation, development, and spread of plant diseases.

The objective of this research will be to advance the understanding of diseases impacting high-value seed and specialty crops grown in Central Oregon, with the ultimate goal of improved and sustainable plant disease management.

Specific research areas will include: identifying and detecting sources of disease inoculum; developing a better understanding of how plant pathogens become established and spread; determining environmental factors that contribute to plant disease epidemics; and developing or improving chemical, cultural, and other disease control methods.

Dung was born in Berkeley, Calif., before moving to his adopted hometown of Spokane, Wash. As a youth, he spent his summers at his grandparents’ home in Pomeroy, Wash., where he was exposed to agriculture and nature at an early age.

In his spare time, he enjoys backpacking, fishing, gardening, cooking, bicycling, and spending time in the outdoors. He is also an active member of the American Phytopathological Society, the Mycological Society of America, and the Potato Association of America.

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