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Faculty and Staff

CALS Names New Entomology and Plant Pathology Department Head

Carolyn Young new DEPP Department Head

Carolyn Young, Ph.D., will join the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology as department head on Aug. 1, 2022. 

“After a national search, we are pleased to have Carolyn Young join CALS,” Interim Dean Dole said. “She has the skills and vision to keep the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology moving forward and ensure that it continues to be one of the most successful departments in the world.”

For the past 15 years, Young, a native of New Zealand, has led a mycology lab at the Noble Research Institute. She is a principal scientist (fungal physiologist) at Nature’s Fynd, a company that makes sustainable protein source from fungi. 

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology,” Young says. “It is such a strong and innovative department that embraces the land-grant mission to benefit local, national and global agriculture and urban environments.”

Young has a strong national and international reputation for her research on seed transmitted fungal endophytes and their impact on forage grazing systems. She has worked closely with grass breeders to develop tall fescue cultivars that eliminate concerns with fescue toxicosis in grazing livestock. She has recently worked on the devastating pecan scab pathogen and developed tools to better understand the pathogen biology to improve pecan disease management.

With a passion for interdisciplinary research projects, Young integrates education and outreach into her program. “The continuum of taking basic discoveries and information then translating these to knowledge, a product or practice that can reach the hands of a student or stakeholder, and make a difference, is what keeps me excited about science,” Young says. 

She recently completed five years as the founding editor-in-chief of the Phytobiomes Journal. Published by the American Phytopathological Society, the journal for transdisciplinary research of sustainable plant productivity focuses on organisms and communities interacting with plants in any ecosystem. 

As a first-generation student, Young paved a non-traditional path with focus and a determination to excel. She initially attended a vocational school to study science. While working toward a Bachelor of Science degree and an M.S. in genetics, both at Massey University in New Zealand, Young worked full-time in a research lab and as a mother to her two sons, Patrick and Oliver. Young also holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Massey University. 

Young is a member of the American Phytopathological Society, American Society for Microbiology, American Society of Plant Biologists, Crop Science Society of America, Genetics Society of America, International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, and Mycological Society of America.

Young will be succeeding Eric (Rick) Davis, a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, who has served as department head since 2014 and will be returning to the faculty.