The society grants this honor to a current APS member in recognition of distinguished contributions to plant pathology or to The American Phytopathological Society. Fellow recognition is based on significant contributions in one or more of the following areas: original research, teaching, administration, professional and public service, and/or extension and outreach.
Pennsylvania State University
Carolee Bull was born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania and attended high school at Sewickley Academy. She earned her BS in botany (Cum Laude) at Ohio University (1985) and her MS in plant pathology at Washington State University (1988) under David Weller. Her MS thesis established the link between rhizosphere inhabiting Pseudomonas spp. and suppression of take-all of wheat and the resulting paper became a classic in the biocontrol literature. She earned her PhD in plant pathology from Oregon State University (1992) under the guidance of Joyce Loper. Her research assessed catechol siderophore production by Erwinia carotovora in relation to pathogenicity and biocontrol. Bull continued biocontrol studies as an NSF postdoctoral scholar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and then as a postdoctoral fellow for the USDA-ARS in Fresno, CA. In 1997, she joined USDA-ARS in Salinas, CA, as a research plant pathologist and in 2005 became an adjunct faculty member at California State, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). She was recruited as head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at Penn State University (PSU) in 2015. She has distinguished herself as a prominent phytobacteriologist and bacterial taxonomist, a respected leader and administrator in multiple organizations and institutions, and an outstanding mentor and trainer of mentors in biological sciences. Bull is a world authority in bacterial taxonomy. Since 2006, she has led the ISPP Committee on the Taxonomy of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, the international body which develops and applies the rules of nomenclature for plant pathogenic bacteria and develops the authoritative lists of names. Bull's expertise helps researchers, regulators, and scientific editors globally by providing current and correct nomenclature for phytopathogenic bacteria. These efforts earned her a nomination to the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP) in 2005. In 2014, she was elected to the Judicial Commission of the ICSP, a 12-member panel of international experts who are responsible for interpreting and editing the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes. Her practical experience and expertise in nomenclature and classification make her a sought-after collaborator. Bull's research contributions include development of the field of translational taxonomy, the application of taxonomic tools and concepts for the management of bacterial diseases through genomics, host selection, crop rotation, and biological control. These approaches were the basis for recently being awarded $3.76M in USDA funding and matching seed industry contributions for management of seedborne diseases of cucurbits and chenopods. Her research established the etiology of many new diseases, classified or reclassified pathogens resulting in new names, and developed detection and quantification methods for pathogens and biological control agents leading to disease management. For example, clarification of the etiology, development of detection and quantification protocols, and insights into the ecology of pathogens causing bacterial leaf spots on members of the Apiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Chenopodiaceae, and Cruciferae, provided fundamental knowledge for improved disease management leading to significant economic impact for conventional and organic production systems. As part of her long-term focus on bacterial diseases of lettuce, Bull described three new races of Xanthomonas campestris pv. vitians, identified resistant cultivars and germplasm for these races, and collaborated on the development of new resistant germplasm releases. She recently helped develop a broadly applicable taxonomic framework and used it to elucidate 11 new species of Pseudomonas causing bacterial blotch in mushrooms and differences in the microbiomes of symptomatic and asymptomatic mushrooms. Bull demonstrated effective leadership in multiple high-impact programs and projects. Since 2015, she has served as a transformative head for the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at PSU. Within a year of joining PSU, she was asked to lead the establishment of and lead the Penn State Microbiome Center (PSMC), serving 11 colleges and institutes at PSU. As the director, she grew the center to support transformative, interdisciplinary research in microbiomes by creating community and providing broad access to training and resources needed to increase the diversity and breadth of interdisciplinary microbiome research at PSU. Under Bull's direction, the PSMC has become one of the most active centers at PSU and one of the most active microbiome centers in the country, with 19 new faculty hires and numerous contributors representing 22 colleges, institutes, and campuses. She worked with students, staff, postdocs, and faculty to initiate weekly meetings and workshops, the PSMC Data Analysis Working Group that supports scientists entering this discipline, and the PSMC YouTube Channel. Through her leadership, the center has attracted industry investment including a graduate student fellowship. Bull serves as a collaborator and liaison between the PSMC and the Microbiome Centers Consortium and ensures participation in the Phytobiome Alliance. Bull served as chair of three APS standing and ad hoc committees and is an active member of eight additional committees and offices including the Office of Education and the Committee for Diversity and Equality. She served as APS councilor-at-large, section chair of the Scientific Program Board, senior editor of APS PRESS, and APS Affiliate to the National Academy of Sciences, U.S. National Committee to the International Union of Microbiological Societies. In the Office of Electronic Communications, she helped develop many features of APSnet and APS electronic communication strategies. Additionally, Bull is recognized for outstanding mentorship and diversity advocacy in APS and society at large. She built mentoring programs at universities in California and provided research experiences to more than students, including those that are now plant pathologists. She spearheaded undergraduate outreach programs within APS, and mentored numerous early career scientists towards APS leadership roles, promotions, awards, and career success. She developed a unique series of mentorship workshops and presented parts of the curriculum more than 40 times at national/international universities and scientific meetings. She worked with PhD students to spearhead PSU Extension's strategic planning for service to Pennsylvania's Latinx communities. Awards for her mentorship and inclusion efforts include the USDA Secretary's Honor Award, the Outreach Diversity, and Equal Opportunity Awards from the USDA/ARS Administrator and the USDA/ARS/Pacific West Area, and the inaugural CSUMB Mentor of the Year Award.
View additional APS Fellows