Gary P. Munkvold was born in Chicago, IL, and received a B.S. in Forestry (1986) and a M.S. in Plant Pathology (1988) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology (1992) from the University of California, Davis, and immediately joined the faculty of Iowa State University as Assistant Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1998, and in 2002, accepted a position as Research Coordinator for Pathology, Entomology, & Seed Science at Pioneer Hi-Bred, Int., in Johnston, IA. In 2006, Dr. Munkvold returned to ISU as Associate Professor and Seed Science Endowed Chair. He was promoted to Professor in 2010. He now leads seed pathology research, education, and outreach efforts at ISU’s world-renowned Seed Science Center.
Dr. Munkvold has contributed to the science and profession of Plant Pathology in numerous ways over the course of his varied career. He has conducted robust research programs that span a broad range of pathosystems and objectives; he was a leader in corn pathology extension over a 10-year period and brought that expertise to guide hybrid development priorities in a major corn seed company; he teaches unique courses in seed pathology and chairs a one-of-a-kind on-line graduate program in Seed Technology and Business (STB); he provides national leadership in phytosanitary issues through the U.S. National Seed Health System (NSHS); and he has an outstanding record of service to ISU and APS. These accomplishments have been recognized through several awards, including the ISU Seed Science Endowed Chair appointment (2006), APS Novartis (now Syngenta) Award (2000), Monsanto Life Sciences Excellence Award (1999), and the ISU Extension New Professional Award (1997).
Munkvold has collaborated extensively with colleagues in the U.S. and internationally, working particularly closely with mycotoxin researchers at the Istituto Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari in Bari, Italy, where he was a visiting scholar in 2000 and 2011-12. He has co-authored 96 peer-reviewed research articles, 6 of which (all first-author publications) have been cited more than 100 times. His publications include 13 book chapters or sections, and he has authored two invited Annual Review of Phytopathology articles. Although he has tackled a range of topics, his most significant contributions have been in epidemiology and management of diseases caused by Fusarium spp. in corn and soybean. Munkvold and colleagues were the first to propose and document that transgenic (Bt) corn hybrids have a reduced risk for contamination by mycotoxins, particularly fumonisins. He also was the first to publish definitive evidence that Fusarium species can be transmitted from seed-to-kernel through symptomless systemic infection. The work on Bt corn and related fumonisin research has been his most impactful and most highly cited. Among these publications, Munkvold and Desjardins (1997) and Munkvold et al. (1999), are the 10th and 18th most-cited papers in the history of Plant Disease (among >9,000 papers), and Munkvold et al. (1997) is in the top 1% of highly cited papers in the history of Phytopathology (among >18,000 papers). In May 2008, ScienceWatch.com featured “Mycotoxins” as a special topic: Munkvold et al. (1999) was reported as the 12th most-cited paper, out of 4,452 papers published in the previous 10 years (placing it in the top 0.3% of papers in the field of Mycotoxins). Results reported in these publications have been verified by researchers internationally. Reduced mycotoxin risk is now acknowledged as a consistent and valuable benefit to the adoption of Bt corn hybrids, and this knowledge has supported the regulatory approval of Bt hybrids in the U.S. and elsewhere. Dr. Munkvold’s research accomplishments are reflected in numerous invited presentations for national and international audiences (113 total in 16 countries outside the US).
In his Extension role (1993-2002), Dr. Munkvold was a prolific writer, authoring >225 newsletter articles and >100 Extension and technical publications. He also led >500 in-person training sessions, reaching >25,000 contacts. He is known as an expert in corn disease identification and management, and recently was the lead editor for the 4th Edition of Compendium of Corn Diseases. Though he does not currently have a formal Extension appointment, he maintains an outreach effort through Seed Technology workshops reaching hundreds of contacts per year. An additional significant outreach effort is Dr. Munkvold’s leadership in the NSHS, a collaborative program involving USDA-APHIS, the ISU Seed Science Center, state Departments of Agriculture, and the seed industry. As Co-director for the NSHS Administrative Unit, Dr. Munkvold plays a key role in the development and standardization of seed health testing methods used in phytosanitary certification for exports of vegetable seeds and other crop seeds. Dr. Munkvold is deeply involved in teaching and mentoring the next generation of plant pathologists and seed technologists. He is Director of Graduate Education for the ISU Plant Pathology Graduate Program, Chair of the STB Graduate Program, and served two terms as Chair of the ISU Graduate Council. He has served as major professor for >35 M.S. students and 7 Ph.D. students and as a committee member for dozens more. He has mentored 10 undergraduate research interns and 5 postdocs. He teaches the only for-credit Seed Pathology course offered anywhere in the U.S., and has taught or co-taught several other on-line or on-campus courses in plant pathology. His teaching efforts were recognized by ISU with the 2012 College of Agriculture Distance Education Teaching Award.
Gary has been an avid supporter of APS; more than half of his peer-reviewed papers are published in APS journals; he has attended every APS Annual Meeting since 1989, he has organized and moderated several special sessions and served on the planning committee for two Division meetings. He has served on several committees and as chair for three (Extension, Mycotoxicology, and Seed Pathology). He also has served in the Office for Industry Relations (2004-2006), the APS Nominating Committee, the Awards and Honors Committee, and was APS Sustaining Associate Representative for Pioneer Hi-Bred Int., Inc. (2005-2006). He was Associate and Senior Editor for Plant Disease and Senior Editor for APS Press (two terms), and was recently elected as APS Councilor-at-Large.