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The department has a rich history of scientists. In the early 1900's, H.L. Bolley, the first plant pathologist at the University, was instrumental in the development of a certified seed program in the state and did extensive work on soil borne disease problems such as flax-sick soil (Fusarium wilt) and common root rot of wheat. Later, scientists such as Wanda Weniger, the first female faculty member at the ND Agricultural Experiment Station, carried out extensive work documenting the diseases of cereal grains across the state. While at NDSU, H.H. Flor developed his gene-for-gene theory of the interaction between virulence genes in the pathogen and resistance genes in the host. R.L. Kiesling was the first chair of the Plant Pathology Department, and was instrumental in the growth of the research and educational efforts of the department.