UGA Plant Pathology

Plant Pathology’s “Dr. Onion” Receives National Award

Dr. Ron Gitaitis, widely known as Dr. Onion, was recently recognized for his longstanding and continued efforts to improve the onion industry in Georgia and beyond. Ron, a professor of Plant Pathology at the UGA Tifton Campus, received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Onion Association (NOA) at the NOA Convention & Allium Research Conference in Savannah, GA, in early December 2016. Ron’s work has impacted those in the onion industry nationally and internationally. His contributions to the understanding of ecology, epidemiology, pathogen biology and management of bacterial diseases on onions paved the way for basic and translational research efforts worldwide. His pivotal work on bacterial streak and bulb rot (Pseudomonas viridiflava), center rot (Pantoea ananatis, P. agglomerans, P. alli), sour skin (Burkholderia cepacia) and yellow bud (Pseudomonas coronafaciens) has greatly contributed to our understanding of the ecology of bacterial pathogens and their management.