Johanna Westerdijk, Dutch plant pathologist

Johanna Westerdijk, Dutch plant pathologist

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Credit: SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Johanna Westerdijk (1883-1961), Dutch plant pathologist. Westerdijk studied as an undergraduate in Amsterdam, before moving to Munich and then Zurich to complete her studies. She received her PhD in 1906 for studies of moss regeneration and moved back to the Netherlands to become a director the Willie Commelin Scholten phytopathology laboratory. Here she built up the existing collection of 80 fungal cultures to over 10,000 strains of 6,000 species of fungal plant pathogens. In 1917 she became Professor of Phytopathology at Utrecht University, and the first female professor in the Netherlands. During this time she is best known for her work in Dutch elm disease.

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