Daren Mueller joins Iowa State University Department of Plant Pathology

Starting on January 1, Daren Mueller began working with the Iowa State University Corn and Soybean Initiative in the Department of Plant Pathology. Muellers primary job responsibilities include gathering and interpreting ongoing research results on Asian soybean rust and compiling and presenting this information to growers and agribusiness personnel. Pursuing grant opportunities and, as time permits, assisting with field research experiments and demonstrations on the biology and management of Asian soybean rust and other foliar soybean diseases also are his responsibilities. Mueller is also a member of the Iowa State University Pest Management and the Environment Program and will be developing training curricula on corn and soybean diseases for private and commercial pesticide applicator training in Iowa. Mueller will be communicating with growers, agribusiness personnel, agricultural media, First Detectors, and Triage members of the Iowa State University soybean rust team.

Mueller has been involved with agriculture for almost his entire life. Early on, he tagged along on veterinarian calls with his dad, and during his high school and undergraduate years, he worked for the Dairyland Seed Research Company.

Mueller completed his B.S. degree at the University of WisconsinMadison in meat and animal science. He then moved to Illinois and finished his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of IllinoisUrbana. His graduate research investigated management of two soybean diseases, white mold and sudden death syndrome. For his Ph.D., Mueller screened more than 9,000 soybean Plant Introductions (PIs) and cultivars to identify new sources of resistance to sudden death syndrome. For his M.S. degree, Mueller was part of a North Central Region project on white mold. He evaluated tillage, crop rotation, row width, and foliar fungicides as potential management tools for white mold. Mueller also studied the biology and importance of soybean seed infected with white mold fungus.

After completing his graduate studies, Mueller did a two-year postdoctorate at the University of Georgia. His primary research responsibilities were to investigate the genetic resistance and fungicide efficacy against daylily rust and characterize the environmental biology of the daylily rust pathogen. He also looked at the fungicide timing, spore germination, and the effect of light on spore germination. These studies were done on several ornamental rusts.

In January 2003, Mueller began working as an assistant scientist with Mark Gleason in the Department of Plant Pathology at Iowa State University. He oversaw applied research on several apple and muskmelon projects and helped guide research on strawberry, turf, and ornamentals as well. These projects include studying the biology and ecology of sooty blotch on apples, refining disease-warning systems to more effectively manage foliar fungal diseases, and investigating the management of hosta and rose diseases.

Daren Mueller
Daren Mueller gathers and interprets research results on soybean plants. (Rich Pope)

This article originally appeared on page 27 of the IC-496 (2) -- February 13, 2006 issue.

Updated 02/15/2006 - 11:00am