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Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Plant Pathology

The Plant Pathology program at the University of Florida, situated within CALS and IFAS, has been a pillar of agricultural research for nearly six decades. With 18 faculty members in Gainesville and an additional 16 across nine research centers, our program offers a robust academic environment.

Dedicated to advancing plant health, our department conducts research in plant and pathogen genetics, plant-microbe interactions, epidemiology, network analysis, and smart agriculture. We also play a vital role in the Emerging Pathogens Initiative, addressing critical challenges in plant disease management. As the lead institution in The Southern Plant Diagnostic Network, a region within the National Plant Diagnostic Network, we chair the national subcommittee for Training and Education.

Here at the center, our faculty are experts in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical crop diseases within small fruits, vegetables and ornamentals and our extension programs are second to none. 

Explore Our Labs for More Info!

Student Information 

The Department of Plant Pathology offers graduate studies leading to the Master of Science (thesis and nonthesis option) and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The graduate curriculum is comprehensive and allows specialization in molecular biology and genomics, fungal systematics and evolution, the genetics of disease resistance, novel aspects of disease management, and more.

Introductory courses offer laboratories to provide hands on experience with disease diagnostics and plant associated microbes. Opportunities for teaching experience are a highlight for students looking toward a career that includes instruction. 

Additionally, scholarships are available to eligible candidates, offering further opportunities for academic advancement.

Possible Careers

  • Academia: Researcher scientists, professors 
  • Agribusiness: Chemical, seed, and plant production
  • USDA: works with public policy organizations on agriculture development 
  • Other Careers: Learn more here 

Have Questions? 

Jessica Ulloa, Academic Advisor III | 352-273-4629 or 


Plant Pathology Faculty Members

Dr. Natalia Peres
Plant Pathology
Strawberries and Ornamentals
813-419-6602 | Rm. 161

Dr. Gary Vallad
Plant Pathology
Vegetables and Ornamentals
813-419-6577 | Rm. 174