AgCenter plant pathologist named to professorship

(04/05/22) BATON ROUGE, La. — Jong Hyun Ham, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, has been named to the F. Avalon Daggett Professorship in Rice Research.

The professorship recognizes outstanding research accomplishments in rice production. It supports recipients’ programs by providing salary supplements as well as funding for instruction, research equipment, materials and faculty improvement.

“Dr. Jong Ham has made many important and groundbreaking research findings in pathogen virulence mechanisms, host plant resistance and biological control of rice diseases in Louisiana,” said Lawrence Datnoff, head of the AgCenter Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology. “The professorship is a wonderful recognition for his outstanding research achievements.”

Ham, who has been with the AgCenter since 2007, and his team discovered and characterized the qsmR gene — a key regulatory factor of Burkholderia glumae, the bacterial pathogen that causes panicle blight in rice. The group also has found additional genes that affect virulence factors and used state-of-the-art DNA technology to further their understanding of these regulatory systems.

Ham’s work has offered new insights into disease management strategies and helped identify disease resistance traits. These findings have led to more than 10 new disease-resistant rice lines that also have good yield potential.

“I truly feel honored to receive this professorship,” Ham said. “This recognition means a lot to me at this stage of my professional career at the LSU AgCenter. This not only fuels my passion to bring my research program to a more competitive level nationally and internationally, but also furthers my commitment to the AgCenter’s mission to contribute to Louisiana agriculture and higher education.”

In just the past five years, Ham has secured nearly $1.4 million for research funding, trained six graduate students and made more than 30 presentations at scientific conferences — serving as the keynote speaker at two international meetings. In the same time period, he also has published 14 peer-reviewed research articles and a book chapter and served as an editor of one of the best-selling books in the field of plant pathology.

Jong Ham.

Jong Hyun Ham. LSU AgCenter file photo

4/5/2022 4:54:09 PM
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