Forrest W. Nutter, Jr. was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Maryland in Botany (1976) and a MSc. degree in Botany and Plant Pathology from the University of New Hampshire (1978). He then worked as a Research Associate/Instructor at The Pennsylvania State University from 1978 to 1980. Nutter received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from North Dakota State University in 1983 and accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia (1984). In 1990, Dr. Nutter joined the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, at Iowa State University, where he is currently a professor working in the area of area of plant disease epidemiology and food security.
Dr. Nutter's teaching and research interests are in quantitative epidemiology and plant disease management using a system approach to develop and integrate disease management tactics. Quantitative epidemiological principles and models are being developed to assess the risks and benefits of new agricultural biotechnologies, as well as to predict the impacts of new and emerging plant disease threats. Global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies are currently being employed and integrated to better understand, quantify, and forecast the occurrence of plant disease epidemics and their impacts on crop yield. Research is currently focusing on the use of satellite imagery to study and quantify the expansion of soybean rust disease foci within soybean fields. Theoretical and practical approaches for quantifying spatial and temporal component processes of epidemics are being developed and incorporated into larger agroecosystem models to help safeguard US and global food security. Dr. Nutter was the first to use a marked strain of a virus (Soybean mosaic virus) to quantify the temporal and spatial dynamics of this and other plant virus pathosystems involving insect vectors. Dr. Nutter was also the first to employ classical methods in psychophysics to show that the human eye actually perceives increasing levels of disease severity according to a linear model and not according to Horsfall and Barratt’s (1949) claim that the human eye perceives increases in disease severity in logarithmic increments. These results have disproved nearly 70 years of disease assessment theory.
Dr. Nutter has taught a graduate course in plant disease epidemiology for more than 30 years and has been a pioneer in the development of online interactive computer programs to teach principles of plant disease epidemiology and disease management. Over a period of 27 years, Dr. Nutter’s disease assessment training software has been used in introductory plant pathology, IPM, and advanced plant pathology courses in more than 25 countries, and in more than 100 universities worldwide. During his career, Dr. Nutter has taught a number of special topics and honors courses and is currently developing a new graduate course, Integrated Disease Management, which will be taught fall semester 2016.
Dr. Nutter previously served as both President and Division Councilor of the APS North Central Division, and also served a 3 year term as Section Chair (Disease Management) for planning APS Annual Meeting. Dr. Nutter has also served multiple times as chair of the APS Crop Loss and Risk Evaluation and Epidemiology committees and is the recipient of the APS North Central Division’s Distinguished Service Award, the APS Syngenta Award, and the APS Foundation Genesis Teaching Award. Dr. Nutter has authored or co-authored more than 140 refereed articles and book chapters during his career.