UTIA Professor Selected as a 2022 American Phytopathological Society Fellow

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Bonnie Ownley Recognized for Contributions to Plant Pathology

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Bonnie Ownley, professor, graduate director, and assistant department head in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, was selected as a 2022 American Phytopathological Society (APS) Fellow. The award recognizes Ownley’s many contributions and accomplishments in plant pathology, soil systems, biological disease control and professional service.

Ownley received the 2022 APS Fellow award on August 8 at the Plant Health 2022 awards ceremony held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“I am honored to be selected as an APS Fellow. I have benefitted from supportive mentors, dedicated and resourceful lab personnel, and creative and productive graduate students who have made this journey with me,” Ownley said.

In 1992, Ownley joined UTIA’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology after finishing a post-doctoral position with the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Washington State University. She teaches courses in mycology, soilborne plant pathogens and phytobacteriology and aims to integrate her research and teaching as often as possible.

“In my research, teaching, and management of our department’s graduate program, my goals include helping others achieve their potential by opening doors to opportunities, promoting equity, and providing a supportive environment to increase access to education for all people.”

At UTIA, Ownley’s research is focused on pathosystems involving soilborne plant pathogens. As part of the research, Ownley works closely with organic growers to evaluate the efficacy of biostimulants and biofertilizers for plant growth, yield and disease control. Her laboratory is also studying sustainable disease control methods for a variety of specialty crops.

Outside of UTIA, Ownley has worked with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America in a program called Gadget Girls. The goal of the program is to engage middle and high school girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics so that they may be empowered to explore the subjects in college and beyond.

“Throughout her 30-year career here at UTIA, Dr. Ownley has been an inspiration to countless students at all levels, from pre-college, to undergraduates and beyond. We are proud that APS has recognized her efforts and achievements with this capstone award,” said Carrie Castille, senior vice chancellor and senior vice president of UTIA.

APS is a community of scientists dedicated to innovative plant pathology initiatives. Members represent a diverse range of specialties and backgrounds, making it a driving force in ensuring the global advancement of plant pathology and food security. Ownley has been a member for more than 35 years. To learn more about APS, visit apsnet.org.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.

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Bonnie Ownley, Entomology and Plant Pathology