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APS Celebrates the Life of a Pioneer Woman Plant Pathologist
March 7, 2005
St. Paul, Minn. (March 7, 2005)—To celebrate Women's History Month and the contributions of women scientists, The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is highlighting the accomplishments of Margaret Newton, one of the first prominent women scientists in the field of plant pathology.
Born in 1887 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Newton began her education in a one-room schoolhouse, but went on to break new ground for women scientists with her academic achievements. Newton was one of the first to determine that different samples of the fungus causing black stem rust of wheat were able to infect different varieties of wheat, and as a result, discovered the existence of different races of black stem rust. This research helped plant pathologists manage this disease by developing grains that were resistant to the different races of rust.
“Margaret Newton’s contributions to plant pathology made a significant impact on our understanding of disease resistance,” said James A. Kolmer, research plant pathologist at the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. “Her research played a prominent role in saving the Canadian wheat production industry from a very destructive disease,” Kolmer said.
Newton made history when she became the first Canadian woman with a doctorate in agricultural science after graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Ph.D. in plant pathology. She also became the second woman elected to the Royal Society of Canada for her internationally-recognized work in cereal rusts.
Margaret Newton’s life and research is the subject of
this month’s APS feature
article on APS
. This feature will be a chapter in
an upcoming APS PRESS book
which will describe the lives and contributions of several prominent women in the history of plant pathology.
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a nonprofit, professional scientific organization. The research of the organization’s 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding of the science of plant pathology and its application to plant health.
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