Carolee T. Bull, Ph.D.

Department Head, Professor of Plant Pathology and Systematic Bacteriology

Research in the Bull Penn Lab focuses on elucidating the etiology of bacterial pathogens of plants and biological and nonchemical control of plant pathogens. Understanding the taxonomy of bacterial pathogens and the breadth of their diversity on plants allows us to target specific populations for disease control. One of the primary goals of our program is to understand the pathovar structure of phytobacterial pathogens and to propose alternative classifications that help the understanding of the complex relationships among bacterial plant pathogens. Our projects are derived from real world disease epidemics faced by regional crop producers. We bring cutting edge technologies to bare on illuminating the details of ecological relationships between the microbes and plants, the environment and other microorganisms. This understanding is then brought back to the field to solve disease management issues.

Bacterial predation is another emerging theme in our laboratory. We have developed tools for studying the ecology of predators that are recalcitrant to study by traditional microbiological methods including myxobacteria and bacteriophage. It is in the context of predators of bacterial plant pathogens that we are interested in studying the entire phytobiome.

Carolee Bull is a Professor of Plant Pathology and Systematic Bacteriology and is serving as the Head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at Penn State. Her service to the scientific community currently includes the following roles: Secretary of the Judicial Commission of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes of which she is also a member; Convener of the International Society of Plant Pathology Committee on Taxonomy of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria and membership on the Office of Education of the American Phytopathological Society. She is also an Adjunct Professor at California State University at Monterey Bay where she continues to develop pipelines for underrepresented minority students to successful careers in STEM.