Phil Brannen is a professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Georgia. Phil grew up on a small farm near Statesboro, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate degree in Plant Protection and Pest Management, where he also received an M.S. in Plant Pathology. He worked as a county agent in Alabama for three years, after which he completing a Ph.D. in plant pathology at Auburn University. He then conducted pathology research with the seed treatment industry for six years in Dallas, TX, before returning to Georgia and his current position at the University of Georgia. He has extensive experience with disease management programs in numerous cropping systems. Dr. Brannen’s assigned duties include extension, instruction, and research. Dr. Brannen joined the Plant Pathology Department in 2000, was promoted to associate and full professor in 2007 and 2012, respectively, and he has consistently been an active member of the graduate faculty. In addition to his extension and applied research efforts, Dr. Brannen’s teaching responsibilities include the graduate level Field Pathology Course (summer and fall semesters), the disease-management section of the IPM Course (fall semester), the History of Plant Diseases and their Impact on Human Societies Course (fall and spring semesters), Viticulture and Enology in the Mediterranean Region Course (Maymester; Cortona, Italy), and guest lectures in numerous other courses throughout the year.
Dr. Brannen serves as an extension fruit pathologist for Georgia – conducting applied research and technology transfer for multiple fruit commodities that include apples, grapes (Vinifera wine grapes, hybrid and native wine grapes, and muscadines), peaches, and strawberries. Dr. Brannen’s efforts are directed towards developing IPM practices and technology transfer to commercial fruit producers to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability through effective disease management. Current projects include resistance management of downy mildew of grapes, scab control in peach, and blackberry cane disease management, among others.
Dr. Brannen does not speak Italian, though he goes to Italy yearly. So far, the language barrier has been interesting. To date, he has been locked in on an empty train and set off all the alarms in a museum. The Italians are very gracious, and they still allow him to visit once a year.