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Linda E Hanson

Research Plant Pathologist

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Dr. Linda Hanson earned her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology with minors in mycology and genetics from Cornell University.  Prior to that she received her B.S. in botany from University of Washington and earned her M.S. in Plant Pathology from Michigan State University.  She did postdoctoral research projects at Texas A&M and with the USDA-ARS in College Station, Texas, before moving to a full time research plant pathologist position with the USDA-ARS Sugar Beet Research Unit in Fort Collins, CO.  In 2007, she was moved to the Sugar Beet and Bean Research Unit in East Lansing MI.  As well as her work for USDA, Dr. Hanson is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University and in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University.  At Michigan State University she has gone through the promotion and tenure process and is an adjunct full professor.  She also has been active in working with professional societies.  She served as associate editor for plant pathology for the Journal of Sugar Beet Research, and now serves as [co-]editor.  As part of the professional service, she is an associate editor for Plant Disease with the American Phytopathological Society.  She has served as both an oral and poster session organizer for the American Society of Sugar Beet Techonologists for their biennial meetings, as well as being a panelist on special forums on sugar beet diseases, including foliar leaf spots and Rhizoctonia root and crown rot.  She has served on the Soil Microbiology and Root Disease committee for the American Phytopathological Society, including serving as vice-chair and chair of this committee.  She also is interested in the diversity in the field, and has served on the Diversity and Inclusion committee and served as a moderator at discussion sessions with the group..


Dr. Hanson’s research focusses on diseases of sugar beet, related crops, and crops grown in rotation with sugar beet, especially those caused by fungi.  A major aim is to improve disease management through an integrated pest management approach, including use of resistant varieties, crop rotation, and other cultural management practices.  Her team works to characterize the fungi that seedling and adult-plant soil-borne diseases, such as root rots and wilts.  We collaborate with USDA-ARS breeders and with commercial seed companies to investigate host-pathogen interaction, how host responses vary with plant maturity, and the impact of combinations of pathogens (disease complexes).  The program also assists with diagnosis of diseases.  This has led to reporting new issues in some regions.