Mark L. Gleason was born in New York, NY. He attended Carleton College in Northfield, MN, receiving his B.S. degree in biology. He then attended the University of Virginia and received his M.S. and Ph.D., both in environmental sciences. Mark’s determination and thirst for knowledge are reflected in the fact that he received a second Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Kentucky, this time in plant pathology. Since 1986, he has served as extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University, where is currently a full professor.
Dr. Gleason has established a nationally respected, statewide extension education program on the biology and management of diseases of horticultural commodities. His extension clientele include commercial growers of fruit, vegetable, and greenhouse crops, landscape care professionals, foresters, and homeowners. More than 10,000 Iowans, as well as hundreds of citizens in other states throughout the Midwest and East, are educated each year about disease biology and management through his outreach efforts, utilizing conventional and innovative communication methods.
His applied research focuses on field testing of IPM methods for production of apples, tomatoes, and strawberries, and this research underlies his extension recommendations. In 1993, Dr. Gleason obtained grant funds for and was co-author of a 175-page IPM manual (IPM for Iowa Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Growers).
The quarterly ‘Strawberry IPM Update’ newsletter is an outstanding example of Dr. Gleason’s leadership in outreach to fruit growers. Dr. Gleason created the newsletter and continues to edit and distribute it to over 600 growers, educators, and researchers worldwide. He also posts the newsletter on the world wide web for universal access. Dr. Gleason is well-known for the development and release of ‘Turbo Tomcast,’ user-friendly software to operate the Tomcast IPM system for tomato disease control. This software is now being marketed nationwide by Gempler’s Inc., a major mail-order agriculture supplier.
He annually delivers numerous oral presentations and demonstrations on IPM-related themes at field days and grower meetings and is consistently rated as the top speaker in such programs. As a result of these activities, he is recognized as the leader of interdisciplinary IPM education and research on fruit and vegetable crops at ISU and is valued not only in Iowa, but as a leader of IPM education throughout the Midwest.