David Marshall received his B.S. degree in biology from Towson State University in 1977, his M.S. degree in plant pathology from Louisiana State University in 1979, and his Ph.D. degree in plant pathology from Purdue in 1982. After working in industry with North American Plants Breeders in Berthoud, CO, as a breeder and pathologist for 3 years, he joined Texas A&M as an assistant professor in 1985, becoming an associate professor in 1988 and a full professor in 1992. In 2002, he joined the USDA-ARS in Raleigh, NC, where he currently serves as location coordinator and research leader of the Plant Science Research Unit and as a professor of plant pathology and crop science at North Carolina State University.
Throughout his career, Marshall has maintained an aggressive and productive research program in the breeding and genetics of small grains (wheat, barley, and oats), with particular emphasis on breeding for disease resistance and germplasm diversity. Marshall uses both basic and applied aspects of science in an international, multidisciplinary, problem-solving approach to research. His present research interests include the breeding of small grain cultivars and germplasm with high grain and forage yield, resistance to diseases, insects, and environmental stresses, and superior quality; the genetics and inheritance of resistance to stem, stripe, and leaf rust of wheat; the collection, identification and gene introgression from wild cereals and grasses for cereal improvement; and the impact of global climate change on small grain diseases.
Marshall’s international research has involved the ecology and mycology of fungal endophytes with AgResearch in New Zealand; the development of facultative wheat and barley with CIMMYT and the Ministry of Agriculture in Turkey; the development of wheat and barley germplasm with resistance to diseases and aphids for the Nile Valley in Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia; the development of dual-purpose wheat with INIA in Uruguay; and the breeding of rust resistant wheat and barley with the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute.
Marshall has released or coreleased 21 cultivars of hard red winter wheat, two cultivars of hard red spring wheat, three cultivars of winter barley, and four cultivars of winter oat. These cultivars have been grown on millions of acres of land in the United States. In addition, he has developed or codeveloped 23 wheat germplasms possessing unique traits. In his breeding programs at Texas A&M and the USDA-ARS, he has developed thousands of experimental breeding lines, many of which have been used by plant breeders worldwide to improve wheat, barley, and oat crops.
With the USDA-ARS, Marshall has bred new sources of resistance to small grain diseases and has developed wheats having excellent hard wheat milling and baking characteristics for production in North Carolina by artisan bakers. Marshall has authored 75 refereed journals papers and four book chapters.
Marshall’s role in teaching and service is long and distinguished. He has been active in teaching at his academic institutions, developing and teaching graduate-level classes on Breeding for Disease Resistance in Plants, Introductory Plant Breeding, and Introductory Plant Pathology. He has graduated three Ph.D. and nine M.S. students and has served on 12 other graduate student committees.
For APS, Marshall has served as chair of the Plant Genetics Committee, as a member of the Plant Disease Epidemiology Committee, as an associate and senior editor for Phytopathology, and as an associate editor for Plant Disease. He has also been very active in other professional societies. He has been elected to serve repeatedly over time on the National Oat, Barley, and Wheat Improvement Committees. He has served on the Crop Science Editorial Board, as well as the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) crop registration committees for oats, barley and wheat. He became a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy in 2007 and of CSSA in 2008. From 1999 to 2002, Marshall served on a National Academy of Sciences committee investigating the invasiveness potential of plant-related nonindigenous species.
Marshall serves as coordinator for four USDA-ARS Uniform Nurseries and, since 2004, has coled a team of USDA-ARS researchers in the screening and identification of new sources of resistance to Ug99, a potentially devastating new strain of the wheat stem rust pathogen. This has required coordination of U.S. programs with national programs in Kenya and Ethiopia. Marshall coordinates the U.S. wheat and barley stem rust screening nursery in Kenya. In October 2008, Marshall and his team received the top award extended by the USDA, the prestigious 61st annual USDA Honor Award, “for excellence in rapid mobilization of research expertise and resources to assess vulnerability Ug99 African wheat stem rust, resulting in early deployment of genetic resources to protect the nation’s grain supply.”
In his present position with the USDA-ARS, Marshall supervises and administers 10 senior scientists and 50 support staff. Despite these heavy day-to-day administrative responsibilities, which he carries out with impressive efficiency and rigor, he maintains an extremely active research program. Marshall’s insightful contributions continue to be felt and appreciated by the national and international plant pathology communities.