AMES, Iowa – Steven Harris will be the next chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University effective by April 1. The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management will sustain its current leadership with Steven Dinsmore as interim chair.
Harris currently serves as professor and head of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, before earning his doctorate in genetics at the University of Michigan.
“Dr. Harris will be a terrific addition to our college leadership team and set the course for combining these key departments into a new academic powerhouse, ensuring the continuation of each of their disciplines and their extraordinary teaching, research and extension,” said Daniel J. Robison, endowed dean’s chair of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.
Harris has 30 years of experience working on the genetics, cell biology and genomics of yeasts and filamentous fungi. As an independent investigator, Harris has made significant contributions to understanding the morphogenesis of fungal cells, a key determinant of fungal interactions with diverse hosts including plants and insects. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the American Cancer Society and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology co-administers the undergraduate major in microbiology with the Department of Animal Science and offers a graduate degree in plant pathology. The department also participates in several interdepartmental graduate programs.
The Department of Entomology offers master’s and doctorate degrees in entomology, as well as undergraduate minors in insect science and global health. The department also participates in the interdepartmental majors in ecology and evolutionary biology, genetics and the interdepartmental major and minor in toxicology.