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.
Marc F. Fuchs grew up in Alsace, one of the preeminent grape-growing regions of France. He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France. He was a postdoctoral associate with Dennis Gonsalves at Cornell University before returning to INRA in France. In 2004, Fuchs joined the faculty in the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, where he is currently a professor, leading an exceptional research and extension program on viruses and virus diseases of specialty crops.
Fuchs has made significant fundamental discoveries in plant virology and virus disease ecology. He maintains a laser focus on translating those advances into practical applications for disease management. Collaborations with Gonsalves and others led to the first field-grown crops genetically engineered to resist virus infection. Fuchs was involved in the development of most engineered, virus-resistant crops that are released or deregulated in the United States, such as summer squash, plum, and papaya. His work not only explored the biology and effectiveness of this technology in the field, but also provided valuable evidence on its environmental safety. Fuchs is a global authority on engineering plants for resistance to viruses.
During his tenure at INRA, Fuchs focused on nematode transmission of viruses, a subject area into which few have dared to venture. Grapevine fanleaf virus and its ectoparasitic nematode vector, Xiphinema index, cause significant problems to the grape industry globally, and management options are limited. Research combined efforts on mechanisms regulating retention and transmission, the development of reliable diagnostics, and the implementation of various control strategies, including cross-protection and the initial development of transgenic resistance.
Since returning to Cornell, Fuchs has developed an internationally renowned research and extension program encompassing numerous aspects of virus diseases of specialty crops. Fuchs has partnered with entomologists to understand the epidemiology of Iris yellow spot virus, a significant problem on onions in New York and other areas, which led to the implementation of integrated pest management strategies to limit the impact of the disease. Most of Fuchs' research and extension activities are directed at virus diseases of grapevine. He led significant and impactful research on the epidemiology and management of the Grapevine leafroll virus complex, as well as the population structure of Grapevine fanleaf virus. He also led studies of the emerging Grapevine red blotch virus. Significant contributions to the understanding of red blotch disease include fulfilling Koch's postulates for Grapevine red blotch virus as the causal agent, advances in transmission biology, insights into disease ecology, and development and refinement of diagnostic procedures. Fuchs has published 135 refereed journal articles and reviews, authored 27 book chapters, and presented numerous invited talks at national and international conferences. He is a resource person trusted by the wine and grape industries in New York and beyond and was recognized for his major contributions in research and education by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.
Fuchs was instrumental in reinstating the New York State grapevine and apple certification programs. He also led efforts in New York State to monitor stone fruit crops for Plum pox virus, an ambitious undertaking to test 45,000 to 250,000 samples each year over the past 13 years in conjunction with USDA APHIS and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. These efforts recently resulted in the successful eradication of this virus from the United States. Fuchs was recognized for his outstanding contributions to eradication efforts by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. He has also served in numerous leadership roles for the National Clean Plant Network and the National Plant Diagnostic Network. In connection with efforts to develop and refine clean plant programs, Fuchs also engages stakeholders through his extension program. He has unique abilities to translate molecular biology and bench science to practical solutions for grape growers facing debilitating virus diseases. His ability to capture the attention of diverse audiences and communicate complicated topics in simple terms is essential to his extension efforts. Fuchs has delivered nearly 150 extension presentations and published over 50 extension bulletins on a variety of subjects, including economic studies demonstrating the value of clean plants. He is committed to helping the various industries that make up his stakeholder base understand and deal with endemic and emerging virus diseases. He currently serves as the president of the International Council for the Study of Virus and Virus-like Diseases of the Grapevine. Fuchs' election to this position speaks to his international leadership in grapevine virology. He also participates in working groups of the International Committee for the Taxonomy of Viruses to revise the taxonomic classification of the plant virus families Closteroviridae and Secoviridae. Fuchs has served on numerous grant review panels for the NSF, USDA, and other granting agencies, another sign of his respected reputation as a fair, knowledgeable, and forward-thinking researcher.
Fuchs provides exemplary leadership and mentorship to plant pathology and plant-microbe biology and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He has been a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, the Academic Integrity Hearing Board, and several faculty mentoring committees. He served as program leader and director of Graduate Studies for plant pathology and plant-microbe biology on the Geneva campus. Fuchs has mentored 14 visiting scientists and postdocs and 12 graduate students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in academia and industry. He has served on 20 graduate student committees and has hosted more than 27 undergraduates in his laboratory, as well as several minority high-school students.
Fuchs' list of accomplishments is long, both in terms of fundamental science and practical agricultural problem-solving applications, and his dedication to fostering the career of his mentees is outstanding. His commitment to lifelong learning is apparent in his scholarly pursuits and eagerness to be in the field with growers and stakeholders to better serve them. Fuchs' substantial impacts on plant virology, together with the intangible qualities he embodies, make him an excellent candidate for the honor of APS Fellow.