LSU AgCenter loses two scientists

Linda Benedict  |  9/11/2013 12:15:46 AM

Hanna Y. Hanna. Photo by Mary Ann Van Osdell

Charles Milton “Chuck” Rush. Photo by Bruce Schultz

Two LSU AgCenter scientists passed away in the summer of 2013.

Charles Milton “Chuck” Rush, 72, a retired professor in the Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology, passed away on August 10, 2013.

Born in Goodyear, Ariz., he grew up on a dairy and cotton farm. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant pathology from the University of Arizona and his doctorate from North Carolina State University. He came to the LSU AgCenter in 1970 as an assistant professor with responsibility for rice pathology and retired in 2009.

Rush dedicated more than 39 years of service to the Louisiana and U.S. rice industry. He taught and mentored 13 master’s degree and 14 doctoral students from many countries. His program pioneered the development of quantitative rating scales for rice diseases in the South, and his research enabled breeders to develop and improve varieties with partial and complete disease resistance.

Rush reported eight new diseases in Louisiana rice. His extensive fungicide testing programs were critical for labeling new fungicides for the severe foliar diseases that affected rice in the Gulf South and throughout the world. He also was involved in the labeling of Benlate 50WP, the first foliar fungicide labeled for rice in the United States.

He and his students elucidated the importance of leaf surface interactions between the host and pathogen in resistance of rice to Rhizoctonia solani, the cause of sheath blight. Recently, Rush and his students and colleagues successfully identified Burkholderia glumae and B. gladioli as the causal agents of the perennial rice panicle blight disease in the United States.

During his career, Rush published more than 300 refereed journal articles, book chapters and research reports. His numerous honors include the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station Doyle Chambers Award for Outstanding Research Contributions in 1995.

Hanna Y. Hanna, 73, a professor at the Red River Research Station in Bossier City, passed away on July 28, 2013.

A professor of vegetable crops, Hanna was well-known regionally and nationally for his greenhouse tomato production research. He also conducted studies on cucumber, strawberries, peppers, field tomatoes, muskmelons and other important vegetable crops in Louisiana.

Hanna was awarded a bachelor’s degree in 1968 in extension agriculture and horticulture and his master’s degree in 1972 in horticulture from Asuit University in Egypt. He moved to the United States in 1974 and completed a doctorate in horticulture in 1980 and a master’s degree in applied statistics in 1991 from LSU.

Hanna began his service as an LSU AgCenter horticulture faculty member in 1981 at the Citrus Research Station in Port Sulphur. He later moved to the Red River Research Station in Bossier City, where he served the past 21 years of his professional career.

“Dr. Hanna was a successful researcher,” said Pat Colyer, director of the AgCenter Northwest Region. “Through dedication and innovation, he took a nonexistent greenhouse tomato program and developed a very visible program with some international recognition. He was affectionately called by many as Mr. Tomato. Dr. Hanna and his contributions will be missed.” 

Rick Bogren

(This article was published in the summer 2013 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)

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