Generating new knowledge and understanding about the biology of plants and plant pathogens, and the roles soils, water, and the environment play in the promotion of a sustainable and economically sound agricultural system and ecosystem. View our programs:

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Welcome to the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. With expertise ranging from ecosystems services and disease management, to plant breeding, genomics, and food safety, we provide leadership and deliver programs that are internationally recognized and respected and have impact at local, national, and international levels. To provide this leadership, we work in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner to effectively address complex problems and emerging threats that challenge food production and security. Above all, we value our missions of teaching, extension/outreach, research, international, service, and stewardship. We are home to 70 faculty, 100 graduate students, 86 post-docs and staff members, and 200 undergraduate and certificate students.  For more information see our mission statement.


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Meet a Faculty Member

Addie Thompson

Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences is excited to welcome another new faculty member to our team! Addie Thompson joined our team in January in research and teaching.  

Thompson received her Bachelor’s of Science in genetics from Iowa State University, and her PhD in Plant Breeding and Molecular Genetics from University of Minnesota. Thompson has always been interested in science with math and science teachers as parents, but her interest in food crops and genetics didn’t come until later. While in middle school, Thompson first gained an interest in genetics through a summer camp she attended right after the human genome had just been sequenced. Later on, in high school, Thompson became interested in international agriculture when she had the chance to intern in the Philippines through the World Food Prize Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Following her graduation from the University of Minnesota, Thompson continued to work at the University of Minnesota using genomewide marker effects to characterize diverse maize germplasm and genetic architecture with Dr. Rex Bernardo. Following this, in January, 2015, Thompson began working at Purdue University as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. While at Purdue, she worked with quantitative analysis of agronomic traits, high-throughput phenotyping, and genomewide association to identify targets for maize and sorghum improvement with Dr. Mitch Tuinstra.

Thompson is looking forward to co-teaching Advanced Plant Breeding as well as Frontiers in Computation and Plant Sciences, while spending a majority of her time researching maize genetics. Thompson feels the position has a lot of potential for growth, and she is excited to work with other scientists and researchers to see how others will be able to benefit from her research. She is interested in creating models to predict how plants grow and respond to different environments.

She says some of her best works to date have yet to be published and the rest of the Plant, Soil and Microbial Science department is eager to read them when they are! When she isn’t on campus, Thompson enjoys playing with her two young children, and being involved in church and music.