Carol E. Windels
Carol E. Windels grew up on a crop and livestock farm near Long Prairie, Minnesota. She obtained her B.A. degree in biology from St. Cloud State College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota. From 1980 to 1984, she was a scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, and was appointed assistant professor of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota Northwest Research and Outreach Center, Crookston. She was promoted to associate professor in 1989 and full professor in 1998 and is an adjunct professor of plant pathology at North Dakota State University.
Dr. Windels has had an exemplary career through her leadership roles in The American Phytopathological Society and through her research on the etiology and ecology of root-infecting fungi on sugar beet and grain crops, primarily in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota.
Dr. Windels served with distinction as president of The American Phytopathological Society in 1999 after having served as secretary-treasurer of the North Central Division and councilorat- large of APS. She has served as chair of nine APS committees, as a member of 20 other committees, and as vice-chair of the APS Foundation. Her contributions in editorial service include associate editorships of Phytopathology, the Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, and the Journal of Sugar Beet Research. Among the awards that Dr. Windels has received are the Distinguished Service Award from the North Central Division of APS and the Sugar Beet Distinguished Service Award from the Sugar Beet Industry of Minnesota and North Dakota.
Dr. Windels’s research program has focused on the etiology and ecology of the soilborne pathogens of sugar beet, Rhizoctonia solani, Aphanomyces cochlioides, and Pythium species. She determined that root age was a factor in establishment of R. solani in roots, and moreover, that there was a greater diversity of anastomosis groups (AG) 1, 2, 4, and 5 in seedlings but the predominant group in older roots was AG2-2. Later she reported that AG2-2 isolates were also root pathogens of various bean crops grown in rotation with sugar beet in the Red River Valley. Her research with A. cochlioides has involved phenotypic variation and molecular studies on genetic variation within the pathogen population and evaluation of sugar beet germ plasm for resistance to root rot. The goal of the latter research was to assist the sugar beet industry in the development of resistant cultivars. She also has been involved in testing and registration of the fungicide Tachigaren (hymexazol) for control of Aphanomyces damping-off. Current research is exploring stress factors that reduce oospore survival. Various species of Pythium also are involved in the root rot complex in sugar beet. She spent a sabbatical leave studying Pythium taxonomy with Dr. Michael Stanghellini. With this background, she developed considerable expertise in species identification.
With coworkers, Dr. Windels documented that survival of species and varieties of Fusarium in soil was affected by corn culture. She determined that colony number and ecotypes of F. graminearum were changed by cropping of corn, when corn fields were compared with contiguous prairie. Moreover, Fusarium species survive in corn debris in soil and compete with other soil fungi in the selection for pathogenic ecotypes. With associates, she ascertained that organisms applied to crop seeds become established by physical occupation of the substrate, by the production of antibiotics, or by both.
Dr. Windels was the first to report Gibberella fujikuroi var. subglutinans in Minnesota soil. With mycotoxicologists, she reported no correlation of perithecial formation with zearalenone production in Group 1 and Group 2 isolates of F. graminearum pathogenic to corn and small grains. She also reported the dispersal of spores of Fusarium species by picnic beetles in corn fields.
Dr. Windels has a well-rounded program of service to the university, agriculture, and The American Phytopathological Society, and she has fostered teamwork in reaching goals. In all her efforts, she has commanded profound respect from her peers and coworkers for her integrity, her high stands of performance, her dedication to goals and to her associates, and to her congeniality in academic and professional environments. She is eminently worthy of being honored with the Fellow Award.