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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Miller Receives Prestigious Plant Pathology Recognition for Work on Vegetable Crops

August 10, 2010

WOOSTER, Ohio € Sally Miller has dedicated her career to helping vegetable farmers protect their crops, whether close to her hometown in northeast Ohio or as far away as Bangladesh.

Such dedication has earned the Canton native and Ohio State University plant pathologist the recognition of fellow by the American Phytopathological Society (APS) one of the highest distinctions bestowed on scientists who specialize in the study and control of diseases of plants.

A vegetable disease specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and OSU Extension, Miller was given the award Aug. 8 at the APS annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. “It is gratifying to receive this recognition from an organization that represents the professional colleagues and friends I have been privileged to know for more than 30 years as a plant pathologist, she said.

Miller is considered a pioneer and leader in the development and application of plant disease diagnostic tools. Both with the biotech industry and after she joined Ohio State in 1991, Miller has been responsible for major advances in the use of monoclonal antibody technology, serological and molecular assays to detect pathogens in vegetable crops. Her laboratory also conducts research in molecular diagnostics of beneficial microorganisms and provides clinical diagnostic services to vegetable producers.

“Sally is an outstanding plant pathologist who has had a truly remarkable career,said Larry Madden, professor and interim chair of Ohio States Department of Plant Pathology. “Her work has had a major impact on improving disease control in Ohio, the United States, and in many other countries. Her commitment to agricultural development around the world is exceptional. Our department is very fortunate that she is on the faculty.

Millers research and Extension programs focus on sustainable management of vegetable crop diseases in conventional and organic open fields as well as in protected-environment production systems. Her lab is also involved in collaborative projects related to food safety and the interaction between zoonotic (animal-transmitted) and plant pathogens on produce.

Millers international involvement is remarkable. She has led long-term projects in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. Since 2006, she has directed the International Plant Diagnostic Network, which builds capacity for disease and pest diagnostics through training and technology development and application. Additionally, she developed and co-coordinates a two-week international short-course on disease diagnostics, bringing 40 scientists from developing countries to Ohio State for training during the past three years.

“Being named a fellow is recognition by your professional peers that you are one of the ‘best of the best,  said OARDC Director Steve Slack. “This is a very appropriate award for Sallys sustained excellence to science and society throughout her career.

Millers previous recognitions include the 2002 APS International Service Award, the 2007 Ohio State Gamma Sigma Delta International Award of Merit, and an honorary professorship from Ukraines Dnepropetrovsk State Agrarian University (becoming the first American woman to be so honored).

Miller received her B.S. in biology from Ohio State, and her M.S. and doctoral degrees in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

More information about APS can be found at Find out more about Miller's work at

OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms of Ohio States College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.


Mauricio Espinoza
Steve Slack