Hansen to Provide Expertise in Pathology of Specialty Crops

Zach Hansen, UT Extension

​​Zach Hansen has joined the University of Tennesee Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology as 
an assistant professor and Extension Specialist specializing in specialty crops pathology. Photo courtesy UTIA. Download image​

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It’s been a whirlwind start for one of the newest faculty members in the University of Tennessee Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. 

Zach Hansen joined the department in January as an assistant professor and specialty crops pathology extension specialist, and he has spent his first three months getting to know county agents and fruit and vegetable producers in the Eastern and Central regions. 

Hansen has given talks on vegetable disease management to commercial producers in several counties including Van Buren, Bledsoe, Lawrence and Lincoln, and he has discussed home garden disease management at a garden series workshop in Cocke County. Hansen has also spent time meeting colleagues and producers at several conferences and expos including the TN-KY Tobacco Expo in Springfield, the Pick TN Conference in Chattanooga, and the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Georgia. Hansen plans to spend the coming months preparing for field trials, and he plans to participate in crop walks and field days once the growing season is underway.  

Previously Hansen served as a post-doctoral associate at Cornell University in the laboratory of Sarah Pethybridge, where he worked on a fungal disease of table beet called Cercospora leaf spot. He received his Ph.D. in plant pathology at Cornell University where he worked on the economically important disease of potato and tomato called late blight. He received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from Clemson University, where he worked on alternatives to chemical soil fumigation for vegetable disease management. 

Hansen has also spent time in private industry as an arborist for Bartlett Tree Experts and a plant pathologist for Zymtronix Catalytic Systems Inc., where he worked on a novel approach to plant disease management using enzymes. 

As a UT Extension Specialist, Hansen will support Tennessee’s specialty crops industry through extension education and applied plant pathology research. 

Hansen is originally from Wilmington, New York ― near Lake Placid ― and currently resides in Maryville.

DeWayne Shoemaker, EPP department head, is excited to welcome Hansen to his new position. “Zach’s background and expertise will be of great value to the state of Tennessee and to our land-grant mission aimed at helping our producers, county agents and other clientele enhance the state’s agricultural enterprises.”

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu.



Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 615-835-4570, pmcdaniels@tennessee.edu