Glen Robert Stanosz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1954. He received his BS in forest biology in 1976 at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where he met his life partner, co-teacher, and research collaborator, Joanne Casey Stanosz. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, Stanosz completed his MS and PhD in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) in 1983 and 1985, respectively, where he studied the biology and ecology of Armillaria species in aspen stands after clearcutting. From 1985 to 1987, Stanosz was a post-doctoral researcher at North Carolina State University, where he studied the potential causes of decline in red spruce–Fraser fir forests of the southern Appalachians. From 1987 to 1991, he served as a forest pathologist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. He provided educational, diagnostic, and technical assistance to state and private foresters and the public, and he conducted research on diseases that limit reproduction of sugar maple and black cherry. In 1992, Stanosz joined the Department of Plant Pathology at UW–Madison and had responsibilities in research, teaching, and outreach in forest and shade tree pathology. He achieved the rank of associate professor in 1998 and that of professor in 2003. In 2013, he moved to the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, where he continues to teach and conduct forest pathology research.
Stanosz is recognized internationally as an authority on leaf, stem, and root diseases of forest and nursery trees. His work with many students and collaborators on Diplodia, Sirococcus, Sphaerulina, and Heterobasidion species has changed how nurseries, plantations, forests, and ornamental landscapes are managed to improve tree health. Stanosz was instrumental in documenting sources of Diplodia inoculum that drought stress and high-nitrogen fertility increase shoot blight severity and that asymptomatic infection is common in pines. His findings led to improvements in nursery management, including the replacement of windbreaks with nonhost species and the development of methods to assess asymptomatic infection. These methods are still used to ensure that nursery stock remains disease free and have reduced infection rates from 87% to as little as 2%. Similar research on the importance of overstory cones and woody debris in dissemination of Diplodia and Sirococcus inoculum further improved regeneration success and establishment in pine plantations and forests.
The taxonomic analyses and diagnostic tools developed by Stanosz and colleagues have been used to detect and differentiate new and emerging pathogens. In Diplodia pathogens, research investigating the genetic differences between two morphological strains revealed that two species cause shoot blight. His research on the Sirococcus pathogen complex led to the description of two new species, the development of molecular detection methods for three Sirococcus species, and the description of a new disease caused by Sirococcus tsugae on eastern hemlock. Through observation and the use of detection methods developed in his lab, Stanosz has also contributed to a better understanding of the host and geographic ranges of existing and new tree pathogens throughout the United States and in a number of other countries, including Canada, Brazil, and Tunisia. Stanosz's development of an isolation technique and collaboration on molecular detection methods for the canker pathogen Sphaerulina musiva led directly to the creation of a screening method that was subsequently adopted by the pulp and paper industry to rapidly screen poplar trees for resistance to Septoria canker. In British Columbia, these methods facilitated the first detection and tracking of S. musiva following accidental introduction into western North America.
In 1993, Stanosz was the first researcher to detect Heterobasidion irregulare in Wisconsin and to provide critical outreach to state, federal, and private landowners about how this pathogen could affect forest health as it was discovered in more locations throughout the north-central United States. His recent work on Heterobasidion inoculum dispersal and stump treatments has been used to implement the disease management guidelines currently used to protect regional conifer plantations from Heterobasidion root disease.
The excellence of Stanosz's mentoring and teaching has been recognized repeatedly. He received the Arthur J. and Ellen A. Maurer Extra Mile Award in 2018 from the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), and in 2000, he received both the Jung Teaching Award from CALS and the Excellence in Teaching Award from The American Phytopathological Society (APS). He is noted for his course “Diseases of Landscape Trees and Shrubs," which serves both undergraduates and working professionals in the nursery and landscape industries. Stanosz has also taught in an array of plant pathology, mycology, and forestry courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, including “The Fungi," “Principles of Silviculture," and components of “Biology of Plant Pathogens" and “Insects and Diseases in Forest Management," among others. Stanosz has supervised the research of six PhD and five MS students. As of 2018, he was serving as advisor to three graduate students and several undergraduate students. Many of his former students have gone on to develop successful programs of their own in forestry, mycology, and plant pathology. His guidance is also sought by arborists, foresters, park and forest managers, municipal officials, state and federal professionals, and forest landowners concerned with tree health.
Stanosz was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to the USDA Forest Research Advisory Council and has served on several APS committees, including as past chair of the Forest Pathology Committee. He has organized or co-organized section meetings for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations and forest pathology field trips for APS. He advises state and municipal officials concerned with trees and forests and associations of arborists, woodland owners, and others concerned with landscape management.
Honors related to Stanosz's research and public service include the Van Arsdel Professor for Tree Pathology, the Heckrodt Professor for Fiber Crop Production and Utilization, and the Gold Leaf Award of the International Society of Arboriculture–Wisconsin Arborist Association. The excellence, significance, and quantity of Glen Stanosz's contributions across a spectrum of research, teaching, and service to his profession and to the public mark him as an outstanding academic and scientific role model and communicator, for whom the APS Fellow award is a fitting honor.