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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Work in Plant Disease Biocontrol Earns OARDC Researcher Spot in World Class South Korean Program

October 12, 2009

WOOSTER, Ohio – An Ohio State University plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is providing his expertise in biological control of plant diseases through a unique collaboration with South Korean scientists. The collaboration has awarded him participation in that nation's World Class University Program.


Brian McSpadden Gardener is collaborating with South Korean scientists at Chonnam National University in the development of technologies related to bioenvironmental control. In addition to the research, McSpadden Gardener is teaching a graduate-level course on biocontrol of plant diseases at CNU.

The World Class University Program is funded by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation, an organization equivalent to the National Science Foundation of the United States. For more information on the program, log on to

"While on a trip to South Korea, I was invited to CNU and I was introduced to several of the leading Korean agricultural researchers. We found that our common interests in biopesticide research and development, and our complementary expertise in different scientific disciplines, would make for an exciting international collaboration; one that would lead to high impact discoveries and stronger international linkages for both our institutions," said McSpadden Gardener. "Together we developed a project proposal that was submitted for review through the WCU program, and it was accepted. Of the 45 universities that submitted applications, CNU was awarded 4 of the 29 WCU projects. This high success rate highlights the excellence of CNU and its commitment to research and education for the new global economy."

As part of the funded WCU project, McSpadden Gardener is engaging in teaching and research that will strengthen and expand upon his work at OARDC.

"I'm working with two distinguished Korean collaborators, Hunseung Kang and Young Cheol Kim, to identify novel biocontrol organisms, characterize the genetic and biochemical basis for plant disease suppression, and assist in the pilot scale production and evaluation of biofungicides," said McSpadden Gardener.

In addition to faculty exchange, the group plans on linking the two campuses through graduate student exchange and IP-video conferencing throughout all aspects of the WCU project.

For more information, contact Brian McSpadden-Gardener at (330) 202-3565 or e-mail

McSpadden Gardener studies the complex relationships between plants, microbes, and the environment. His particular interest is in discovering novel microbes that naturally suppress plant diseases and can be used to develop safe and effective biopesticides.

After receiving his Ph.D. in botany in 1998, McSpadden Gardener worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit. He joined Ohio State University in 2000, focusing much of work on the distribution and activities of bacteria that colonize the roots of field crops, such as corn, soybeans and tomatoes.


Candace Pollock
Brian McSpadden Gardener