Patricia McManus was appointed Vaughan-Bascom Professor of Plant Pathology, effective January 1, 2009. This honor recognizes Professor McManus’ internationally regarded extension and research program on microbial diseases of fruits, including apple, cranberry and tart cherry. She has published numerous journal articles and extension publications on the effects of such diseases on plant anatomy and physiology and the optimization of disease management.
Among other accomplishments she revealed that the previous use of fungicides to treat an important disease, cranberry stem gall, was futile because the disease was in fact bacterial in origin – the first report of a bacterial disease on this host. In other recent work she has collaborated with Professor Jo Handelsman on metagenomic analyses to determine if antibiotic use in apple orchards selects antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The research and extension components of her program are integrated to draw problems from the field into research and to translate the resulting findings into practical management strategies. In keeping with this approach, she is known for her willingness to work with individual growers to define and address problems. Professor McManus joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1995. She was also awarded the 2002 CALS Pound Award for Excellence in Extension. She has served on numerous CALS, University and national committees including the Biological Sciences Division Tenure Committee and CALS Academic Planning Council.