Tim Denny received his B.S. degree from Duke University, spent 2 years as a research technician at Duke Medical Center, and received his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in plant pathology in 1983. Following postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, he joined the University of Georgia faculty, where he is now a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and teaches courses on molecular host– pathogen interactions and phytobacteriology. Dr. Denny’s innovative research career began as a graduate student with his discovery of a pisatin-induced physiological adaptation that enables Nectria haematococca to secrete the phytoalexin and thereby resume growth. It continued with his pioneering study of the phenotypic and genetic diversity of two Pseudomonas syringae pathovars through the quantitative application of restriction fragment length polymorphism and multilocus enzyme analyses and with his investigations of the role of extracellular enzymes and polysaccharides in the pathogen’s ability to colonize plants and cause lethal wilt symptoms. Dr. Denny is best known for elucidating the molecular basis of spontaneous conversion in Ralstonia solanacearum and the reversible phenotype conversion that enables the pathogen to adapt to life outside or inside plants by a complex regulatory cascade that senses and responds to a unique autoinducer compound.
As a member of APS, he has served as an associate and senior editor for Phytopathology and as a member and chair of the Bacteriology Committee, among other activities. Dr. Denny’s outstanding research contributions and his exceptional professional service to APS and the field of plant pathology qualify him as a deserving recipient for recognition as APS Fellow.