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Gary A. Thompson, Ph.D.

Gary A. Thompson, Ph.D., is the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education and the Director of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Experiment Station.

Gary A. Thompson, Ph.D., joined the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences in 2011 as the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education and the Director of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Experiment Station. He works with students, faculty, staff, university administrators, alumni, and Pennsylvania stakeholders and is actively involved in organizations that provide regional and national leadership for research in our land-grant institutions.

As a Professor of Plant Science at Penn State, he maintains an active research program that focuses on the molecular biology of plant vascular systems and the genomics of plant responses to phloem-feeding insects. The NSF, USDA, NASA, and NATO have provided support for his research, and he has served as an advisor for numerous federal and international funding organizations. Dr. Thompson is a fellow in the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities-sponsored Food Systems Leadership Institute.

Prior to his arrival at Penn State, Dr. Thompson served as the Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University (2007-2011) and as the Program Director for Plant-Biotic Interactions in the Directorate for Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation (2004-2006).

Dr. Thompson held consecutive summer appointments as a Visiting Research Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at University of Copenhagen in Denmark (2003-2004). He served as an Associate Professor (2001-2002) and Professor (2002-2007) with appointments on multiple campuses and the Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas.

From 1991-1997 he held the position of Assistant Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona, with appointments in Plant Sciences and in Microbiology; he was promoted to Associate Professor and awarded tenure at that institution in 1997. Dr. Thompson received his B.S. from the University of Nebraska in 1979, his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin in 1985, and his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1989, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona.