Cleora J. D’Arcy
Cleora Jo D’Arcy was born in Asheboro, NC, in 1951. Her first exposure to plant pathology came during high school in Yonkers, NY, when she participated in a summer program at the Boyce Thompson Institute. She spent 2 years working part-time in the laboratory of R. Granados, an entomologist studying insect viruses and insect transmission of plant diseases believed to be caused by viruses. After receiving her A.B. degree in biology (magna cum laude) from Harvard University (1973), D’Arcy obtained her M.S. (1975) and Ph.D. (1978) degrees in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the guidance of G. A. deZoeten. In Madison, she began working with luteoviruses, studying the purification, cytopathology, and aphid transmission of beet western yellows virus (BWYV).
In 1978, Dr. D’Arcy joined the Department of Plant Pathology (now Crop Sciences) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an assistant professor. Her appointment was 80% research on “viruses of importance to the state of Illinois” and 20% teaching a course in plant virology every other year. Dr. D’Arcy subsequently was promoted to associate (1984) and full (1990) professor. She became the teaching coordinator for the Department of Crop Sciences in May 1996.
Dr. D’Arcy’s research program has focused on plant and insect viruses and viral diseases. She is nationally and internationally recognized for her research on luteoviruses, particularly barley yellow dwarf viruses (BYDVs). This research program has spanned development of methods, basic biological research, and applied field studies. She and her colleagues have developed methods for virus purification and produced monoclonal antibodies that are used in laboratories worldwide. Her research program has contributed basic information on the characterization of luteoviral particles, taxonomy of members of the luteovirus group, and genome organization and function. She and her colleagues also have done applied field studies, including surveys for BYDVs and BWYV and studies on host plant resistance to luteoviruses.
Dr. D’Arcy and her colleagues were the first to purify and characterize a virus from aphids. Rhopalosiphum padi virus (RhPV) infects several species of aphids, which are the vectors of BYDVs. In subsequent studies, she and her colleagues determined the effects of RhPV on aphid longevity and reproduction and demonstrated the spread of RhPV from one aphid to another via plants—a mirror image of BYDVs, which multiply in aphids and are spread by plants!
In her role as a virologist for the state of Illinois, Dr. D’Arcy has studied several important viruses in the state, most notably maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV). Studies have included epidemiology, host resistance, and yield responses.
Dr. D’Arcy has been invited to make numerous national and international presentations about her research and teaching. At Illinois, Dr. D’Arcy has developed two new courses: a graduate level course on professionalism, cotaught with W. L. Pedersen, and an undergraduate course, Plants, Pathogens, and People, which fulfills campus composition and natural science requirements. Both of these courses are unique and have served as models for courses developed at other institutions. Dr. D’Arcy has been listed 7 times on the Incomplete List of Excellent Teachers at the University of Illinois, and in 1995, she received the NACTA Teaching Award of Merit.
Dr. D’Arcy has served APS as a member of 20 committees (14 of which she chaired) and as associate editor of Plant Disease. She was elected to serve as councilor-at-large (1988–1991) and APS president (1993–1994). During her term as president, she increased opportunities for networking at the Annual Meeting through the addition of such program elements as the Beer and Bull Sessions at the posters, the First Timer’s Orientation, and the deBary Bowl. She also presided over the first annual Breakfast Business Meeting, which has encouraged members to learn more about APS.