On Sept. 1, Won Bo Shim, Ph.D., will assume the role of interim head of the Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A member of the department’s faculty for nearly 20 years, Shim is accomplished in research, teaching and service.
“Dr. Shim’s passion for education and collaboration has been an asset for the department and will be essential in his new role,” said Jeffrey W. Savell, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Under his leadership, this department will continue to thrive and advance.”
Shim takes over for Leland ‘Sandy’ Pierson III, Ph.D. Pierson, after 13 successful years as department head, plans to return to teaching and research. Among the highlights of Pierson’s leadership was overseeing the design and construction of the Plant Pathology and Microbiology Building. The building’s facilities, including Biosafety Level 2 greenhouses, enable the department to perform cutting-edge plant microbiology research, teaching and extension.
“Our department is set to lead in our fields for several decades,” Pierson said. “Dr. Shim will continue to increase the visibility of what we do, as advancing food security and reducing environmental degradation will only become more important as the Texas population grows.”
Shim has served as the department’s associate head for academic affairs for the past five years. In addition, he has served on the Texas A&M University Faculty Senate and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Inclusive Excellence Committee.
“I am humbled and excited to accept this appointment,” Shim said. “I look forward to working with our faculty, students and staff to help advance innovative and inspiring research, teaching and extension programs focusing on our land-grant mission.”
Shim has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in plant pathology and a sampling and environmental monitoring course in Bioenvironmental Sciences. Furthermore, he has led study-abroad programs to provide high-impact experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates. For his contributions, Shim was awarded the 2021 Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Educational Enrichment and Innovation.
His research focuses on the biology of fungal pathogens of field crops in Texas. In particular, the work concerns molecular genetic mechanisms of pathogen development, plant-pathogen interactions and mycotoxins. He is also active in wide-ranging collaborations to improve plastic waste remediation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Science Foundation are among the funders of his research.
Shim earned his bachelor’s in agricultural biology and master’s in plant pathology from Seoul National University, Korea. He earned a doctorate in plant pathology from Purdue University. Following graduation, he conducted post-doctoral research with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service before coming to Texas A&M as a faculty member.