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Frank Louws

Department Head; Department of Horticultural Science

118 Kilgore Hall


Center for Integrated Pest Management (CIPM)

I am Director of CIPM (January 2011- present). CIPM provides leadership and partners with stakeholders to mitigate damage and losses due to pests that have impact at four measurable levels: internationally, nationally, regionally and at the state/university level. Center programs are interdisciplinary; they typically combine research, extension and education components and are complementary across levels. The Center employs over 60 personnel.

Our mission is to fulfill the land-grant purpose of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences by coordinating interdisciplinary teams, cultivating local to global partnerships and training the next generation of IPM practitioners. CIPM develops and advances new IPM strategies, pest analytic tools and decision support systems. We champion the promotion and development of innovative integrated pest management strategies, data analytics and training that solves 21st-century challenges. For more information see


Research & Extension

Our program is rooted within core values associated with a sustainable agriculture framework and is service-oriented, consistent with the mandate of a Land Grant University, with emphasis on Horticultural crops such as strawberries, tomatoes, and organic crops. Our disciplinary strengths are in bacteriology, soilborne pathogens, plant disease management, microbial ecology and farming systems research. A key strength of the program is the ability to understand real-world problems within a production agricultural framework and by asking strategic questions that advance the sciences of plant pathology, horticulture and systems research in organic and conventional production systems. Addressing relevant production agriculture questions combined with fundamental biological questions provides a mechanism to write competitive proposals and is a great experience for students. Our work is supported primarily through competitive grants. Obtaining extramural funding enables us to hire key personnel (undergrads, graduate students, postdocs; consultants) and/or manage projects to generate new scientific knowledge and then translate this knowledge into Extension programming to deliver solutions to primary clientele. Much of the experience and work also informs the teaching component of our program – providing a high level of relevancy to our students.  Team members typically are exposed to applied field research, advanced molecular tools and have many opportunities to interact with scientists and farmers.



Specific components of our program with associated Missions. Most components are integrated together (e.g. we do tomato grafting research to manage soilborne pathogens but link it to farming systems research, capture microbiome data and train professionals on project outcomes):

Grafting of Fruiting Vegetables

Mission: To amplify the productivity and profitability of U.S. fruiting vegetable enterprises by integrating grafting technologies as both sources of income and production tools. We will achieve this goal through coordinated trans-disciplinary, stakeholder-based, and systems-oriented research, extension and education activities.

Strawberry Disease Management

Mission: To develop fundamental knowledge and implement applied recommendations to enable commercial growers to successfully manage diseases of strawberry

Tomato Disease Management

Mission: To develop fundamental knowledge and implement applied recommendations to enable commercial growers to successfully manage diseases of tomato.

Biology and Management of Soilborne Pathogens

Mission: To conduct discovery and applied research (biologically based knowledge) and to implement applied recommendations to enable commercial strawberry and vegetable growers to successfully implement IPM programs to manage soilborne pathogens.

Farming Systems Research and Extension

Mission: To implement diverse farming systems and generate discovery knowledge of polyphasic impacts/indicators (biological, physical, economical) and generate practical information to enhance sustainable viability of NC farms.

Microbial Ecology & Microbiome

Mission: To assess the population structure and dynamics of targeted microbial communities and their impact on disease incidence or beneficial plant growth effects within the context of an ecologically-based agriculture.

Training Programs

Mission: To train agents and other stakeholders (trainers) with applied information to manage diseases and enhance horticultural production systems. The focus is on train-the-trainers to extend information consistent with a sustainable agriculture.


Postdoctoral Research Center for Microbial Ecology Michigan State University 1996

PhD Plant Pathology Michigan State University 1994

M.Sc. Plant Pathology University of Guelph 1987

B.Sc. Horticulture (with Distinction) University of Guelph 1984