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2021 APS Officer Election​​


As noted in the APS Constitution​, eligible APS voting members will receive an electronic ballot. The officer election will be open from May 5 - 31, 2021

Note if you didn't receive the election ​email, it may have been caught in your server's spam filters. Check Clutter, Junk, Quarantine, etc., and ask your IT department whether it got caught in server firewalls. You can check SurveyMonkey's Help page for IPs and domains your IT department can whitelist to ensure you receive it. In addition, you can contact APS headquarters directly with ballot inquires​.  

Election results will be shared with the membership in the July issue of Phytopathology News.

Meet the Candidates 

​Vice President Candidates

​Councilor-at-Large Candidates

Candidate for Vice President—Niklaus Grünwald

Research Plant Pathologist 

USDA-ARS-Horticultural Crops Research Unit

Leadership Experience

After completing a Ph.D. degree in ecology/plant pathology at UC Davis, I worked for 4 years in Toluca, Mexico, as a postdoc for Cornell University and associate scientist for CIMMYT, studying the evolution of the potato late blight at the center of origin. In 2001, I became a research plant pathologist studying cool season food legume diseases for the USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in Prosser, WA. In 2004, I relocated to Corvallis, OR, to start a new research program on the sudden oak death pathogen Phytophthora ramorum with the USDA-ARS. Here, I also serve as a professor (courtesy) in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology and the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing at Oregon State University. My recent work has focused on understanding the population structure and evolution of Phytophthora pathogens. This work has resulted in outreach and extension efforts that have provided the science base for management and mitigation of sudden oak death for regulatory agencies and stakeholders. Our lab has characterized migrations of the sudden oak death pathogen in North America and globally, characterized populations of the potato late blight pathogen in Mexico, and developed widely adopted computational tools for characterizing populations and microbiomes. These novel tools developed by gifted students and postdocs have given us the unique opportunity to present workshops at APS and other international meetings. Beyond research, much of my professional achievements have focused on APS journals. APS journals are a core activity within APS and sustain many APS activities. I had the honor of serving as editor-in-chief and two-term chair of the Publications Board. At the time, APS was facing stiff competition from open access journals and submissions were declining. Furthermore, a range of new developments had not yet been adopted into the APS publishing platforms. As a result of Publications Board leadership, we successfully launched two new open access journals, transitioned Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions to open access, improved turnaround, adopted ORCID, new article content, preprint archives, altmetrics, and standardized author guidelines. This combined effort by all editors-in-chief and the APS publications staff has resulted in positioning APS journals for success in an ever more competitive world. As a result, APS is one of a very select number of societies that did not have to sell its journals to for-profit publishing houses.

Service to APS

Editor-in-chief, PhytoFrontiersÔ, 2019–present; Chair, APS Emerging Pathogens Initiative, Cleveland, OH, 2019; Board member, APS Financial Advisory Board, 2018–2019; Chair, APS Publications Board, 2013–2016, 2016–2019; APS PMN taskforce, 2018; Editor-in-chief, Phytopathology, 2009–2011; APS Strategic Exchange Forum, 2014–2015; APS Thought Leader Workgroup, 2013; APS Journals Taskforce chair, 2012; APS Visionary Forum, 2010–2012; APS Publications Board member, 2009–2011, 2019–present; APS Ad Hoc Committee on Emerging Issues, 2009; APS Leadership Committee, 2009; APS Ad Hoc International Relationships Committee, 2008–2009; Senior editor, Phytopathology, 2006–2008; Associate editor, Phytopathology, 2005; Chair, Genetics Committee, 2005; Senior editor, Plant Health Instructor, 2002–2005; APS Office of International Programs, 2004–2007; APS Office of Electronic Communication, 2002; Chair, Epidemiology Committee, 2000.

Other Professional Service

Founding editor-in-chief, CABI Agriculture and Biosciences, 2019–present; Scientific Advisory Board, Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 2018–2020; Advisory Board member, agriRxiv preprint server, 2020–present; Associate editor, Mycologia, 2015–2018; Editor, PeerJ, 2013–2019; Editor, PLoS One, 2013–2019; Advisory Committee member, World
Phytophthora Collection, UC Riverside, 2007–2019; Steering Committee member, Oomycete Molecular Genetics Network, 2007–2010; Editor, Plant Pathology, 2005–2013; Committee member, Pisum Crop Germplasm Committee, 2001–2004; Committee member, Variety Release Committee for Cereals and Legumes, Washington State University, 2001–2004.

Statement of Vision for APS

APS has shaped who I am today through numerous opportunities for professional development, enrichment, and networking. APS is a remarkably nimble and adaptive organization. We live in some of the most challenging times, facing major social, economic, environmental, and scientific challenges. Plant pathologists play a major role in solving critical societal threats posed by climate change, energy and food insecurity, and environmental degradation. APS is a visionary and global leader in plant health and will play a major role in addressing the grand challenges facing our society. APS needs to provide the moral courage and science base to address plant health issues in the coming decades to feed over 9 billion people by 2050.

Our discipline is changing, and the pace of change is accelerating. When I did my Ph.D. research, my work used classical microbiological and plant pathological methods. Today, we can sequence a pathogen genome for tens of dollars; use drones, unmanned robots, or autonomous vehicles to measure plant performance in real time; and genetically edit genes. IoT and AI are starting to infiltrate farms, research labs, teaching, and extension. This explosion of unprecedented ecological and genomic data and tools requires new transdisciplinary approaches to capitalize on big data and novel technologies. APS can help provide the extension, education, and knowledge resources needed to harness these new opportunities.

APS should continue to modernize its meetings and how we deliver information. For example, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Plant Health 2020 conference, held exclusively online, was a huge success, with over 2,400 attendees from 75 countries. Given the success of this meeting, APS should explore virtual or hybrid meetings in the future.

Our society is going through a period dominated by fake news and increasing reports of unreproducible or falsified research. APS needs to reinforce itself as a beacon of hope and integrity based on the high quality and rigor in our daily science. APS needs to expand its public presence and engage more with journalists and the general public to advocate for evidence-based approaches to improving plant health. This includes science-based evidence promoting gene editing and other controversial approaches that have the potential to provide food security and environmental stewardship.

Meanwhile, many plant pathology departments are merging into larger schools or departments or are disappearing altogether; thus, we are losing our identity as plant pathologists. Hence, it will be more important than ever to provide different venues for maintaining and growing our member base and providing opportunities for networking, outreach, extension, and education.

I grew up in Venezuela, and my family still lives there. Venezuela is now a failed state with severe poverty, repression, and instability. I had the privilege of finding a new home in the United States with my family. This experience has marked me and opened my senses to those of us who face discrimination or harsh economic or political realities. We need to continue to look out for those less fortunate than we are. While APS has made great strides in advancing equal opportunity and inclusiveness, we are not there yet. Thus, we need to continue advancing diversity in all its various forms.

I am humbled by this nomination, and if elected, I promise to do my very best to serve our members with integrity, dedication, and vision.

Candidate for Vice President—​Jeffrey B. Jones

Distinguished​ Professor

University of Florida

Leadership Experience

Jeffrey B. Jones has been an active member of The American Phytopathological Society since 1980. He has served on a number of committees, including the Bacteriology Committee (1992–1994 and 1983–1985 [chair, 1994; vice-chair, 1993]), Tropical Plant Pathology Committee (chair, 1996), and the Germplasm and Culture Collections Committee. He has served as a senior editor for Plant Disease (1993–1996), APS PRESS (2000–2003), and Phytopathology (2006–2009), and he has published extensively in all three APS journals. He has edited or co-edited two books (Compendium of Tomato Diseases and the 3rd edition of the Laboratory Guide for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria) published by APS PRESS and is in the process of updating the Laboratory Manual for Identification of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria. He also served as chair of the APS Task Force for Culture Collections (2005–2010) and as a councilor-at-large (2011–2014).

Statement of Vision for APS

I consider APS to be the premier scientific society in plant pathology. APS has been an important part of my professional life and something I have enjoyed being committed to, whether as a committee member, editor for journals, or as a councilor-at-large. I have always enjoyed attending annual and regional meetings to discuss research ideas and various issues related to the discipline. This past year has been difficult in terms of our personal lives and the ability to conduct our daily duties in our profession, as well as a challenge for our involvement with APS. APS members and staff did an incredible job of quickly developing a virtual annual meeting. Again in 2021 the annual meeting will be virtual, and we will have the opportunity to build on our experience. We found that virtual meetings can be held and can be quite effective. I can foresee future meetings being more hybrid in nature. This could increase participation by our international colleagues and students who may be unable to attend meetings in person. Although APS has members from other countries, we should be proactive and strive to make APS more inclusive in committee meetings, presentations, and virtual poster sessions so that our organization has more of an international perspective. We should strive to have diverse representation (i.e., women, minorities, graduate students, and individuals from public institutions, government agencies, and private companies). APS continues to develop diverse mechanisms for delivering information. Coupled with its existing journals (i.e., Plant Disease, Phytopathology, Plant Health Progress, and Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions), APS recently established the open access journal Phytobiomes to address research relating to interactions of microbial communities and plants in ecosystems.  P​hytoFrontiersTM, another new open access journal, is focused on subjects that do not fit the mold of research published in other journals. I do believe that APS can continue to adapt in order to maintain its visibility. One way is to make some of these journals more accessible to the international community, undergraduate students, and high-school students who may develop an interest in plant pathology through exposure to recent publications. Making MPMI open access is a step in the right direction. Open access to the other established journals will likely improve the journal rankings.​​

Candidate for Councilor-at-Large—Leonardo de la Fuente


Auburn University

Leadership Experience

As a member of APS since 2002, I have tried to help the society in any way possible. From my first meeting in 2003 I realized that the important work of committee members is fundamental to running this society. I started by participating in the Graduate Student Committee meetings and volunteering at the APS Foundation booth. As the years went by, I became more involved in the society, first as chair of the Bacteriology Committee and later as an associate/senior editor of Phytopathology and APS PRESS. Recently I joined the APS Annual Meeting Board, due to my conviction that these meetings are critical for the success of the society. In addition to APS I contribute to other professional institutions, such as serving multiple times as a proposal review panel member for NIFA, BARD, CDFA, and others. In addition to being an ad hoc reviewer for proposals from the United States and other countries, I have also reviewed more than 200 manuscripts in the last 10 years. In my native Uruguay, I was a member of the leadership of the Sociedad Uruguaya de Microbiologia. At my home institution of Auburn University, my service record includes graduate program officer for plant pathology, department senator, and member of multiple committees focused on improving our department and college, such as Global Programs, Executive Committee, Graduate Student Recruitment, and others. All of these service activities take a considerable amount of time, but they are critical and worthwhile endeavors to ensure that our societies and institutions function at the highest possible level and continue to provide important services to the community as is part of their mission.

Statement of Vision for APS

Agriculture is essential to sustaining humankind. APS is a critical component for the success of agriculture and should have recognition and support comparable to our counterpart medical and microbiological societies that focus on human health. Educating general audiences is paramount to developing more visibility and a high regard in the opinion of the general public. APS leaders have been making great efforts toward achieving these goals, and I hope I can contribute to these efforts myself. Increased participation by phytopathologists in the news and social media will help raise the profile of our society and our profession. Stories that are important for phytopathologists should be pushed to national news outlets to demonstrate the impact of plant diseases to the public. Moreover, improved coordination with other international phytopathological societies would be mutually beneficial. Our APS membership has representatives from many countries who can help maintain those connections. During my participation in meetings of phytopathological societies abroad, I have been impressed by the number of young people attending, showing the power of phytopathology to inspire younger generations. Strengthening our relationships with international societies will help expand the visibility of APS and phytopathologists as fundamental players in society. Regarding the APS Annual Meeting, I wish to see a better representation of the cutting-edge research that is shaping the future of plant pathology and is being developed by members of our society. Our annual meeting must become the event of the year, where the most impactful discoveries in plant pathology are showcased. In addition, APS should develop a more structured program for professional development of early-career professionals, including activities during our annual meeting and online courses. It is also important to engage scientists across the career spectrum by offering leadership opportunities at early career stages, harnessing the energy of young professionals through meaningful projects, and sharing the expertise of mid- to late-stage career scientists. One of the things that makes me a proud member of APS is the sincere interest of its members in collaborating and helping each other. We all really care for this society, and we need to keep promoting APS so it will gain the recognition it deserves.

Candidate for Councilor-at-Large—Sydney Everhart

Associate Professor

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Leadership Experience

One of the things I enjoy most about APS is that the content is driven by the members, so the more you are involved, the more you gain in return. This is something I’ve learned over my past 12 years of active membership in APS, which includes experience organizing Special Sessions, teaching R workshops, hosting an APS webinar, chairing subject matter committees, and, currently, serving on the APS Annual Meeting Board (AMB). Below are two examples of this service and how they have impacted my views on the importance of APS and its volunteers.

One example of my professional service is creating and teaching workshops at APS. My first experience was teaching a workshop in R for population genetics and a persistent observation was that many students in the workshop lacked basic skills in R, making it difficult for them to participate. To address this, I led development of the Intro to R for Plant Pathologists Workshop, which has since been taught at the APS North Central Division meeting (2017), APS/ICPP meeting (2018), Plant Health 2019, and as an APS webinar (2020). Teaching this as a webinar was a huge success, with around 150 people registered each day, and although challenging, this material will now be able to be accessed “on demand” in the future. The most fulfilling part of this experience was how easy it was to take a new idea and transform it into content that became part of an APS meeting. Unlike some organizations that covet these opportunities for insiders, APS strives for transparency and to make these opportunities open to all members.

The most significant leadership contribution I have made in APS is serving as a member of AMB. I joined AMB in 2016, and on an annual basis, I am responsible for critical review of >60 abstracts and ~10 special sessions. Through AMB, I have also been involved in the development of new activities featured at our annual meetings, such as the One-to-One: Conversations with an Expert activity that I co-developed with Dr. J. P. Dundore-Arias and that was a featured at the APS Annual Meetings from 2017 through 2020. Participation in AMB provided me with a unique perspective to both appreciate the breadth of activities organized and led by our volunteers and understand the magnitude of the impact that activity has for our scientific society. It would be my vision in this role to foster the participation of our members as volunteers, so they too can shape the future of our society and make an impact in APS.

Statement of Vision for APS

Just as meeting the demand to feed our future world population depends on plant pathologists, the future of APS depends on its members. My vision for this leadership role as APS councilor-at-large is to serve APS members by acting as an active liaison to the Executive Committee. In this role, I will formally and informally solicit, articulate, and communicate the interests of our members. This will be done using multiple communication tools and in a way that strives to receive feedback from diverse groups within our society, such as those at different career stages, from different employment sectors, serving different stakeholder groups, and with different personal or political affiliations. Obtaining input from diverse groups will allow alignment of initiatives within the APS 2020–2021 Strategic Plan with the interests of our members. This, in turn, will allow me to identify individuals who would be ideal volunteers to pursue elements within these initiatives. In the role of APS councilor-at-large, I will provide guidance and resources to these individuals to support their efforts. Moreover, because the success of APS in achieving initiatives within the strategic plan are dependent on the volunteer efforts of members, I also will actively look for opportunities to formally recognize our members for their contributions, whether that is in the form of articles written for Phytopathology News, nominations for awards, or recommendations for leadership roles. Ultimately, my vision is that as a member-driven organization, all of the members in our society need to be able to see how their own research, views, and interests are represented by APS, and the success of our APS members will directly translate into the success of our society as a whole.