Yesterday, Dr. R. James Cook of Washington State University was honored by the Washington State Senate for his distinguished research career as a plant pathologist.
Senate Resolution 8677, sponsored by Senator Jim Hargrove, outlines Dr. Cook’s multifaceted career from his time as Chief Scientist with the US Department of Agriculture to his 40-year career at Washington State University, where he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Cook spent his career pursuing cutting-edge research in plant pathology and crop and soil science, revolutionizing how agriculture approaches crop productivity and disease management.
Most recently, Dr. Cook headed a study to better understand root rot diseases that threaten Douglas fir, which is a vital economic and ecological resource in Washington. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark requested the study from the Academy of Sciences because very little is understood about laminated root rot. The disease can reduce timber yield in forests by 5-15 percent, which translates to more than $10 million in losses over a 2-year period.
In addition to some 200 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, Dr. Cook has co-authored two books: Biological Control of Plant Pathogens and Wheat Health Management. In 1988, he led the team of researchers at Washington State University that made the first field test of a genetically modified organism in the Pacific Northwest, which was a microorganism for root disease control on wheat.
Among many other honors Dr. Cook has received over the course of his career, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and continues to support the agricultural sciences through this organization.
Dr. Cook is most admired for his commitment in sharing scientific knowledge with everyone – students, farmers, policy makers, and the general public.
Check out the photos on DNR’s Flickr site.
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