PULLMAN, Wash. – Dennis A. Johnson, professor of plant pathology, has been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific division of the American Phytopathological Society (APS).
First presented in 1990, this honor is given to senior members of the division who have distinguished themselves by contributions to plant pathology and service to the division.
For the past 31 years, Johnson has served some of the most important irrigated agricultural industries in the Columbia Basin of Washington. He made key contributions to understanding the epidemiology and management of late blight, black dot, white mold and silver scurf of potato and of Verticillium wilt.
He has contributed to understanding and managing plant diseases of other irrigated crops, including downy mildew on hop, Verticillium wilt in mint, Kluyveromyces marxianus in onion and rusts of asparagus and mint.
Johnson’s disease management strategies and tactics are readily adopted by growers. He developed logistic regression models for the early and mid-potato growing seasons that have been used successfully to manage late blight regionally in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon for 15 years.
His forecasting models have improved timing of fungicide applications for potato white mold, saving the industry in Washington more than $7.64 million annually since 2005.
Johnson recently edited the second edition of the APS publication, “Potato Health Management,” and raised significant contributions for publication expenses. The work is widely used by growers and crop advisors in the potato industry. The second edition grew under Johnson’s stewardship (46 percent more information) and he orchestrated more than 50 authors to contribute to the resource.
He has authored or co-authored 106 peer reviewed research journal articles and several sections in the “APS Disease Compendia” on potato, hop and onion. He has authored more than 250 disease control bulletins and articles for growers.
Johnson is an honorary life member of the Potato Association of America and recipient of the Friend of the Mint Industry Award, presented by the Washington Mint Commission. He was elected fellow of the APS in 2011.
Johnson is most proud of his role mentoring 15 graduate students. He is currently advising three Ph.D. students.
He earned a B.S. in botany from Brigham Young University in 1973 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1975 and 1978.