Mohammad Babadoost was born in Kondrood (near Tabriz), Iran. He received a B.S. degree (1972) in plant protection from the University of Tabriz (UT) in Iran, an M.S. degree (1979) in plant pathology from Washington State University, and a Ph.D. degree (1983) in plant pathology from North Carolina State University. From 1983 to 1994, he was an assistant/associate professor at UT. He then worked as a research plant pathologist at Montana State University (MSU). In 1999, he joined the Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he is an associate professor. Babadoost conducts research and extension programs on the biology and management of vegetable and fruit crop diseases and teaches plant disease diagnosis. Babadoost is well known for developing techniques for quantifying soilborne fungal pathogens and managing vegetable diseases, especially diseases of cucurbits.
Babadoost has developed a profound commitment to sharing his expertise and knowledge in developing countries to advance the science of plant pathology and increase crop yields. He had outstanding accomplishments at UT in Iran, including developing curricula for plant pathology courses, advising more than 300 undergraduate students in plant protection, establishing a graduate program in plant pathology, advising four M.S. students, mentoring 16 Ph.D. students, building research greenhouses, and establishing research programs.
Babadoost’s research on Karnal bunt at MSU resulted in the development of a reliable method for assaying Tilletia indica in soil, which is now used worldwide. Since 1996, Babadoost has been frequently consulted by scientists throughout the world on Karnal bunt issues.
Babadoost has been very active in global affairs since arriving at UIUC. He was invited to teach “Plant Disease Diagnosis” at the Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR-IPN), Unidad Sinaloa, Guasave, Mexico, in 2005 and at Azerbaijan State Agrarian University (ASAU) in Ganja, Azerbaijan, in 2009 and 2010. Babadoost has frequently been asked by scientists in Asia and Africa to help establish similar courses.
Since 2003, Babadoost has been involved in various international research and extension projects in developing countries. During 2003–2006, he cooperated in an agricultural project in Egypt, “Technical Approach: Capacity Development of Agricultural Graduates.” In 2004, M. E. Santos (CIIDIR-IPN, Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico) and Babadoost initiated a research project on bacterial diseases of tomatoes. In 2007, Babadoost initiated joint programs on research and extension with the ASAU to improve crop production in Azerbaijan. He had three grants, one from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER), Seattle, WA, and two from UIUC for this purpose. He is now working with plant pathologists from ASAU, Georgia State Agrarian University and Georgian National Science Foundation (GNSF), and Armenia State Agrarian University to develop sustainable disease management programs for improving crop yields in the Caucasus region. Since 2009, Babadoost has been actively involved in the “Middle East Water & Livelihoods Initiative,” a USAID-funded project for Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen. He is currently working on training extension educators for these counties. Babadoost will be an active co-principal investigator of the newly funded project “Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services” ($9,000,000; USAID in Latin America, Africa, and Asia). Since 2006, Babadoost has been serving as a reviewer of agricultural research proposals of USA-Israel (BARD Agricultural Research and Development), the GNSF, and Sultan Qaboos University (Oman). Because of his effective global efforts, Babadoost is continuously asked to be involved in research and extension programs in developing countries.
The international impact of Babadoost’s research on management of plant diseases has been enormous. In the past eight years, he has been frequently contacted by scientists and producers from around the world for management of plant diseases. He was invited to make presentations on plant disease management in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, China, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Syria, the Netherlands, Turkey, and several international conferences in the United States.
Babadoost has made contributions to The American Phytopathological Society (APS). He has been active in several committees (Diagnostics, Extension, IPM, and Chemical Control), the ad-hoc committee for international societal relationships, and the Office of International Programs (OIP). He currently serves as a representative of APS to the International Society of Plant Pathology. Babadoost organizes symposia for emphasizing international issues at APS Annual Meetings. He organized a symposium “Multicultural (National/International) Extension” in 2005 and a symposium “Phytophthora: A Continued Global Problem with Continued and Historical Importance” in 2008. Both of the symposia were heavily attended. He has also served as a section editor for Fungicide and Nematicide Tests.
Since 2003, Babadoost has been serving as the coordinator of the OIP Library Assistance/Donation Program. During this period, he managed to provide 1,011 books and compendia, 1,889 volumes of journals, and other educational materials to 95 universities and research institutes in 61 countries, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leon, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Shipping more donated publications to developing countries is underway. Numerous statements received from the recipients of the publications indicated tremendous impact of the program in improving the science of plant pathology in developing countries. Babadoost’s management of the program has been so successful that OIP has asked APS Council to grant permission for Babadoost to serve as the coordinator of the program indefinitely.
The major goal of Babadoost’s activities is helping to establish sustainable global food security through improving crop yields by effective management of plant diseases. His dedication and diverse global activities embody the criteria for the International Service Award of APS.