Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ruth Florence Allen (1879–1963)

Ruth Florence Allen was an American plant pathologist. She increased the understanding of cytology of rust fungi, which are a chief cause of cereal diseases. These diseases can have a devastating effect on coffee, apple and pine trees.

In 1909, Allen became the first woman to obtain a Ph.D. degree from the
Rust fungi
Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin. During her career, she investigated the cytology of rust fungi, which led to an understanding of disease development within plant tissue, greatly advancing our knowledge of rust fungi. In 1965, the Ruth Allen Award was established in her honor and is given to "individuals who have made an outstanding, innovative research contribution that has changed, or has the potential to change, the direction of research in any field of plant pathology." She had incredible observational skills and produced superb hand drawings throughout her career at Michigan Agricultural College, Wellesley College, the USDA, and the University of California, Berkeley.

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