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DAA: L. Daniel Ploper

Daniel Ploper

L. Daniel Ploper

Tucuman, Argentina | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2009

Two of his countless successes illustrate L. Daniel Ploper’s nearly 30-year passion for plant pathology: post-epidemic eradications of soybean stem canker and frogeye leaf spot. Ploper directs the Estación Agroindustrial Obispo Colombres in Tucumán, Argentina, the country’s oldest agricultural research station, founded in 1909. With a staff of about 350, including 72 researchers at five locations, EEAOC’s challenge is to improve agricultural production through research and extension activities. He began his EEAOC work as a plant pathologist after earning his undergraduate degree. With eight years’ field experience, he came to Purdue on a Fulbright Scholarship. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees and then returned to EEAOC as a principal investigator, becoming head of the plant pathology section in 1996 and director in 2004. At the research station, his current focus is on integrating different tactics to control field crop diseases in soybeans, common beans, sugarcane, and citrus— lemons are one of Argentina’s largest crops—with special emphasis on developing disease-resistant cultivars. In 1994, Ploper added to his EEAOC workload by beginning to teach at the National University of Tucumán, where he is now an associate professor and frequently guides graduate students. He has also taught graduate courses at National University of Buenos Aires and National University of Catamarca. Since 1997, he has been an independent researcher at the National Research Council of Argentina. In 2003, he co-founded the National Program on Soybean Rust created by the Argentina Department of Agriculture and other groups. He frequently presents at international scientific and technical meetings, has published extensively, and has received numerous awards. His work doesn’t allow much time for hobbies, but he enjoys photography, tennis, reading, and time with his family, which includes two sons and two daughters. “Purdue was the jumping board that propelled my professional career. As a Purdue alumnus, I knew I was expected to make a difference, and results show I was prepared for that challenge.”