Dr. Charlie Rush, a Texas AgriLife Research scientist in Amarillo, is the recipient of the 2008 American Phytopathological Society Fellow Award, according to Dr. Dennis Gross, Texas A&M University plant pathology department head.

Rush received the award on July 29 at the Society’s centennial meeting in Minneapolis, Minn.

“This is a great honor for Dr. Rush as the award recognizes his many contributions to plant pathology,” Gross said. “Charlie is well known for leadership in studying fungal and virus diseases of field crops, and he has made important contributions to our research programs at the Amarillo AgriLife Research and Extension Center.”

Rush was born in Anthony, Kan., and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas Permian Basin in 1974. He began his plant pathology studies at Texas A&M University, where he earned his master’s degree in 1976 and his doctorate in 1981.

In 1986, he was appointed associate professor in the department of plant pathology and microbiology at Texas A&M and located at the AgriLife Research Center in Amarillo, then later became a professor. Rush’s nomination was prepared by Gross; Dr. Fekede Workneh, AgriLife Research associate research scientist in plant pathology at Amarillo; and Dr. Bob Haverson, University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

The group said in the nomination Rush is internationally renowned for studies of the epidemiology and ecology of soil-borne pathogens of field crops, and has made important contributions toward managing diseases of wheat, sugar beet and sorghum.

Rush’s studies on the nature and control of fungal and virus diseases of these crops are recognized as important models for studying the epidemiology and population genetics of pathogens.

His findings from Karnal bunt research were used by U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as scientific justification to deregulate fields that previously tested positive for the disease. Karnal bunt is a fungal disease in wheat.

Rush is one of the nation’s foremost experts on benyviruses, and is widely recognized for fundamental discoveries concerning virus evolution and population genetics of soil-borne viruses with fungal vectors.

He additionally developed remote sensing technologies for detecting and quantifying sugar beet and wheat diseases, including rhizomania and wheat streak mosaic.

Rush has authored more than 70 refereed journal articles, 21 book chapters and served as editor for six books, in addition to being awarded two U.S. patents.

In the past year, he also has been recognized as both a AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow and a AgriLife Research Regents Fellow.