Dr. Kenneth L. Deahl was born in Pikesville Kentucky. He grew up in Fairmount West Virginia. He received his AB degree in Biology and Animal Science from Fairmount State College, Fairmount West Virginia in 1965. He continued his education at West Virginia University where he received the MS degree in Plant Pathology and Plant Biochemistry with Dr. Ed. Elliott as the major professor. He earned the Ph.D. in 1971, also from West Virginia University, working under the leadership of Dr. Mannon Gallegly.
In 1971 Dr. Deahl accepted a position in the USDA Vegetable Crops Laboratory at Beltsville Maryland. His research emphasized: the nature of resistance to Phytophthora infestans in potato tubers; naturally occurring toxins (glycoalkaloids) in potato and wild Solanum species; and insect resistance factors called leptins. His research was redirected to develop methods for controlling mushroom diseases. Ken became an authority on mushroom viruses.
When the mushroom project was terminated in 1988, Dr. Deahl returned to research on potato late blight. Among his many significant contributions are: the discovery of the A2 mating type of Phytophthora for the first time in the United States; the detection of new genotypes and strains of P. infestans; determination of the nature of fungicide resistance; the discovery of the role of seed tuber infection on late blight epidemiology. He is an internationally recognized authority on potato late blight and mushroom diseases. He has participated in and chaired numerous symposia related to these diseases. He has also served as the Research Leader for the USDA Vegetable Crops Laboratory for three years.
Dr. Deahl has been very active in the Potomac Division APS. He has often served on membership, audit, awards and program committees from 1971 through the present. He chaired the graduate student awards in 1992. He was elected vice President in 1992, and presided as President at the very successful Golden Jubilee meeting in Saint Michaels on Maryland's Eastern shore in 1993. Ken served as the Potomac Division representative to the Washington Academy of Science for 6 years, with such distinction that he was elected a national fellow of the Academy.
Let us all join in bestowing the Potomac Division's Distinguished Service Award on Dr. Kenneth L. Deahl.