José Carmine Dianese (B.S. degree in agronomy, 1962, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil) earned his Ph.D. degree in 1970 as the first Brazilian ever to receive a Ph.D. degree in plant pathology at the University of California (UC)-Davis and the second in the entire United States. His 40-year career dedicated to research and teaching at the Universidade de Brasília (UnB) began in 1971, where later (1985) he became full professor. Required by law to retire when 70 years old (May 2010), he still remained active, becoming professor emeritus in 2012 and being the most outstanding scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology at UnB. He was the first Brazilian to become an honorary member of the Mycological Society of America (MSA, 2010) and the second Latin American to receive the Emil Mrak International Award from the UC-Davis Alumni Association (2013), recognizing alumni with clear international distinction working outside of the United States.
In addition to his research and teaching, Dianese also is known for his service to administration, particularly as director of the Institute of Biological Sciences (1972–1978), where he envisioned, created, and secured external funding in excess of $1.5 million for the two departments he founded: Ecology and Plant Pathology. To both departments, he was instrumental in attracting and hiring national and international scientists, including three UC-Davis Ph.D. students and ecologists from the University of Edinburgh. He headed the Department of Plant Pathology for 10 years. His vision in creating these two pioneer departments in the Brazilian Central West had a major impact on research in both fields in Brazil and on the training of generations of ecologists and plant pathologists. Up to June 2012, 280 masters and doctors in plant pathology from all over Brazil and several African and Latin American countries have completed their degrees at the UnB Graduate Program in Plant Pathology. Thirty-three of those graduate students have been trained by Dianese, 16 of whom were or are now university professors: seven at Universidade de Brasília, two at Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (Brazilian South-West), and one each at Universidade Federal do Pará (Amazonian Region), Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (Brazilian Northeast), Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Universidade Estadual de Londrina (Brazilian Southern Region), Instituto Federal de Brasília, and Universidad de Tarapacá (Chile).
Dianese’s training at UC-Davis produced fruitful results for plant pathology in Brazil and internationally. From 1980 to 1981, he was a visiting associate professor at the University of Georgia and published two papers with Norman Schaad in Phytopathology on cabbage black rot; later, his interests on the taxonomy of microfungi directed him to the International Course on Fungal Identification at the International Mycological Institute (IMI), England, in 1988. Dianese published more than 100 papers, mostly in English, in international journals. He wrote chapters in books by CABI Bioscience, CSIRO, and the Hong Kong University Press and coauthored three books. Dianese’s contributions to plant pathology include early studies on pineapple diseases, eucalyptus rust and wilt, bean anthracnose, and other bacterial and fungal diseases.
However, some of his most significant contributions deal with fungal biodiversity associated with plants of the Brazilian Cerrado. To date, together with his students, he has described 109 new fungal species and 20 new genera of mostly plant-parasitic fungi, including two new genera of rust fungi. This research led to the assembly of the UB Mycological Collection, an important mycological herbarium of the Cerrado through external funding (US$250,000). He commanded fungal collections throughout the Cerrado so that the UB Mycological Herbarium now contains more than 23,000 fungal specimens. Most of his scientific career, based on the high level of his American training, was independently and entirely conducted in Brazil. The reputation of the scientific journals where his works are published attests to their quality: Phytopathology, Plant Disease, Plant Pathology, Plant Disease Reporter, Australasian Plant Pathology, European Journal of Forest Pathology, Tropical Pest Management, Mycologia, Mycological Research, Mycological Progress, Sydowia, and Mycotaxon.
The impact of his research was further recognized by invitations as a consultant for the Australia Quarantine (rust of eucalyptus), Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IICA-OAS), University of Georgia, King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia), USDA-Frederick, and in Brazil, Embrapa, CNPq, CAPES, SWB, and FAPESP. He also gave talks at his alma mater, UC-Davis, and several other universities (Florida, Minnesota, Georgia, Auburn, UC-Riverside, Tsukuba, and Shizuoka) and research institutions (USDA in Frederick, MD; CBS Baarn now in Utrecht, the Netherlands; IMI in the United Kingdom; and CSIRO-Canberra). He gave invited speeches at international conferences in Kyoto, Havana, Mar del Plata, Vancouver, Mexico, Quebec, Taiwan, Beijing, and Cairns.
His services to professional societies included being member and vice president of the Brazilian Society of Mycology, administrative director of the Brazilian Society of Plant Pathology and an associate editor (fungal diseases) of its journal for 20 years (1976–1996), member of MSA, president of the Latin-American Mycological Association (LAMA), member of the International Mycological Association (IMA), and member of APS. He is an honorary member of MSA (2010) and LAMA (2008) and was president of the VI Brazilian Congress of Mycology (2010); member of the Executive Committee of the IMA (1994–1998, 2006–2010, 2010–2014); member of the APS Mycology Committee (2004–2007, 2007–2011, 2011–2013); member of the International Commission on Fungal Taxonomy (2006–2014) affiliated to IMA; president of the VI Latin-American Congress of Mycology (2005); member of the Editorial Council of IMA Fungus (CBS-Holland, 2010), IberoAmerican Mycology (1997–2002), and Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira (1977–1984); and member of the Permanent Nomenclature Committee for Fungi of the International Association of Plant Taxonomists (2011–2015). In France, he collected and described Ramularia crupinae Dianese, Hasan & Sobhian, under USDA contract; this fungus is presently in final tests before release for biocontrol of common crupina in the United States.
For his dedication to teaching, research, service, and administration, José Carmine Dianese, the founder and most prestigious professor of the Department of Plant Pathology of the University of Brasilia, is recognized as a fellow of APS.