Professor Thomas J. Baum

Subject: Plant Pathology and Microbiology

Institution: Iowa State University


Thomas J. Baum is a Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, where he has been a faculty member since 1995. 

Thomas is a prominent scientist with research emphasis in the area of plant-parasitic nematodes, which are worm-shaped pathogenic animals that infect many important crop and horticultural plants around the world.  He obtained his PhD from Clemson University in South Carolina, USA after receiving his undergraduate training at the University of Bonn and the Technical University of Munich in Germany. 

Working in Iowa, the soybean cyst nematode is the most important plant pathogen problem in the state and is the main subject of Professor Baum’s inquiry. His research work has been pioneering in the exploration of the molecular interface between plant-parasitic nematodes and their plant hosts, as well as genomic studies of nematode parasitism.

Professor Baum's research publications are listed here, and many of his papers are available for download via this repository. He has been named Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor at Iowa State University, which is a very sparingly-bestowed honorary title for exceptional research success and service. He has also been named Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) and the Society of Nematologists, and has received major research recognitions like the APS Noel Keen and Ruth Allen Awards. In addition to research and teaching, Thomas also served in leadership roles with increasing administrative importance.  Most recently, he has been the Chair of his department from 2005 to 2020, and during this time he has successfully led his department to continuous excellence and growth through strategic planning and by seeking and pursuing opportunities.