US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Dr. Jessie A. Glaeser (photo by T.J. Volk)

Jessie A. Glaeser

Research Plant Pathologist
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
United States

Phone: 608-231-9215
Fax: 608-231-9295

Current Research

• Decontamination protocols to prevent human transmission of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causal agent of white-nose syndrome of bats.
• Assessing temperature optima of forest fungi to predict their adaptability to climate change.
• Wood decay fungi and hazard tree assessment.
• Growth of wood decay fungi in wood-plastic composites.
• Identification and biosystematics of brown-rot wood decay fungi.
• Risk and pathway assessment for the introduction of exotic pathogens that could affect Hawaii’s native forests.

Research Interests

• Biology, ecology and management of invasive and native forest fungal pathogens.
• Effect of climate change on the distribution and adaptability of forest fungi.
• Decay colonization patterns of wood and the development of spalting patterns.
• Movement and establishment of invasive fungal species.
• White-nose syndrome of bats.

Past Research

• The resolution of the Endothia and Cryphonectria controversy, including a reassessment and final taxonomic disposition of the chestnut blight pathogen, Cryphonectria parasitica.
• Biosystematics of Peronosclerospora species – potentially invasive pathogens of corn and sugar cane.
• Physiology of brown rot decay.
• The decomposition of forest products in landfills.
• The use of wood extractives for the control of wood decay fungi.
• Development of preventative and remedial mold treatments for building materials.
• Decay fungi and forest health - decay patterns of Lutz spruce in Alaska.
• Pest risk assessments of importing pine and eucalyptus logs and wood chips from Australia.
• Fungal biodiversity and climate change.
• Assessment of the distribution of Heterobasidion irregulare in the Upper Midwest (USA).

Why This Research is Important

Certain fungi are pathogenic to trees and forest wildlife, causing losses in forest ecosystems and forest productivity. Under ordinary conditions, forests are well suited to survive and thrive, even when exposed to organisms that cause disease or to episodes of environmental stress. The introduction of invasive pathogens, for which native organisms have no inherent genetic resistance, can result in massive loss of productivity and devastation to forest ecosystems. Invasive species are often introduced from other countries or from other ecosystems within the US. A thorough study of pathways associated with the introduction of potentially invasive insects and pathogens is needed to prevent tree death and decline.

Fungi are also the main decomposers of wood and leaf litter – these fungi are termed “saprotrophs.” Decayed wood and leaves contribute to soil organic matter, and hence directly to soil carbon sequestration. Decay products also indirectly contribute to carbon sequestration through positive effects on soil fertility and forest productivity. In most forests, the impact of forest management on the populations and functions of these pathogenic and nutrient-cycling fungi is unknown. Accurate identification of the fungal species involved, their relationships, and their biological activity are required to understand and assess the impacts of forest management practices, invasive species, and global climate change on forest health and productivity.The fungi associated with urban forests also need to be characterized.This knowledge is beneficial to arborists who must perform hazard tree assessments.

Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causal agent of White Nose Syndrome, has killed over 6 million bats in eastern North America since the disease was first observed in 2006. Bats are a critical component of the ecosystem, primarily because of their impact on insect populations. One possible mode of pathogen transmission is human-mediated movement among hibernacula (caves and mines) – e.g., on the shoes, clothes and equipment of tourists and the caving community. Efficient and inexpensive protocols are necessary for cave visitors to clean their clothing and equipment to prevent transmission of this devastating pathogen.


  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Plant Pathology. , 1985
  • Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture, Doylestown, PA., Agronomy. , 1979

Professional Experience

  • Research Plant Pathologist/Supervisory Plant Pathologist, U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory/Northern Research Station, Madison, WI
    1985 - Current
    Studies the biosystematics, ecology and physiology of forest fungal pathogens and saprotrophs.
  • Post-doctoral Research Associate, Cornell University, stationed at ARS facility, Forest Detrick, Frederick, MD.
    1984 - 1985
    Studied the biosystematics of non-native pathogenic downy mildew pathogens of corn and sugar cane under containment facilities.

Professional Organizations

  • International Society of Arboriculture (2010 - Current)
    Invited speaker at regional and international meetings.
  • Western International Forest Disease Working Committee (1998 - Current)
    Secretary and member of the program committee of the Hazard Tree Committee. Involved with organizing Hazard Tree Workshops (2010, 2013, 2016).
  • International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation Society (1997 - Current)
    Member of the Editorial Board. Responsible for reviewing submitted manuscripts for International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation Journal.
  • Mycological Society of America (1986 - Current)
    Served as Executive Vice President from 2009-2012. Responsible for all correspondence and documentation of business meetings and worked to ensure smooth administrative operation of the Society.

Awards & Recognition

  • Mycological Society of America - Fellow Award, 2015
    For outstanding contribution to mycology and service to the Mycological Society of America.
  • US Forest Service Spot Award, 2015
    For team leadership.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2014
    Secretary of NRS Civil Rights Committee (2011-2014).
  • US Forest Service Spot Award, 2013
    For team leadership.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2006
    Team award for customer service.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2005
    Team award for customer service.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 2004
    Civil Rights
  • USDA-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Certificate of Merit, 2001
    "For commitment to safeguarding demonstrated by contributions as a member of the Science and Technology Committee."
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 1998
    For exceeding requirements of the position.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 1996
    For exceeding the requirements of the position.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 1995
    For exceeding requirements of the position.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 1994
    For exceeding requirements of the position.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 1992
    From WO staff for writing "Good Laboratory Practices" chapters for Forest Service Handbook and Manual.
  • USDA Certificate of Merit, 1990
    For service as Federal Women's Program Manager.
  • Cunningham Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1983
    Stipend provided for continuing graduate studies.
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1979
    Stipend award for graduate studies.

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


DNA Tool Detects White-Nose Syndrome Fungus in Bat Caves

NRS scientists Daniel Lindner and Jessie Glaeser are collaborating with the USGS Wildlife Health Laboratory in Madison, WI, to characterize the ...


Detection of Heterbasidion Root Disease Using Genetic Fingerprinting

Heterobasidion root rot is a significant pathogen in the red pine plantations of the midwestern U.S. Little is known about its distribution. For ...


Managing Wood Decay in the Urban Forest

Arborists need tools to help identify patterns of wood decay as part of tree risk analysis and decisions on the proper care of urban and communi ...


Web-enabled Database for Center for Forest Mycology Research Expanded

The culture collection and herbarium maintained by the Center of Forest Mycology Research (CFMR) in Madison, Wisconsin is one of the largest fun ...


Last updated on : 09/16/2015