Skip to main content

Biggs, Alan R.

 image of Alan Biggs
(304) 876-6353

Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology

Alan Biggs is Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology. He earned his B.S. in Forest Science and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Penn State University. Alan was the tree fruit pathologist at the Tree Fruit Research and Education Center in Kearneysville from 1989 through 2016. Before coming to WVU, he was Research Scientist and Plant Pathology section leader at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Vineland Research Station. Alan is recognized for his research on canker diseases and defense mechanisms of woody plants. This research was the first to demonstrate the heritability of suberin accumulation rate in wounded bark tissues and relate this character to resistance in peach to the peach canker pathogens. He developed the first functional Windows version of the fire blight prediction software Maryblyt. He published several papers on the role of calcium in plant/pathogen interactions. His research on epidemiological aspects of brown rot of stone fruits is widely cited. In recognition of his excellence in fruit pathology research, he was honored by the American Phytopathological Society with the Lee M. Hutchins Award.

He is the author or co-author of over 95 refereed journal articles, several book chapters, and several hundred papers in trade journals, extension fact sheets, and newsletters. He edited two books, Defense Mechanisms of Woody Plants against Fungi (with R. A. Blanchette) and Cytology, Histology, and Histochemistry of Fruit Tree Diseases. Biggs was Editor-in-Chief of the international research journal Plant Disease from 2001 to 2003.

He teaches Master Naturalist classes in mushroom identification and continues to write popular articles on “Fungal Foes and Mycological Maladies” for the magazine Fungi.


  1. Peng, H. X., Wei, X. Y., Xiao, Y. X., Sun, Y., Shang, S. P., Biggs, A. R., Gleason, M. L., Zhu, M. Q., Guo, Y. Z., and Sun, G. Y. 2016. Management of Valsa canker on apple with adjustments to potassium nutrition. Plant Disease 100:884-889.
  2. Villani, S. M., Biggs, A. R., Cooley, D. R., Raes, J. J., and Cox, K. D. 2015. Prevalence of myclobutanil resistance and difenoconazole insensitivity in populations of Venturia inaequalis. Plant Dis. 99:1526-1536.
  3. Biggs, A. R. and Peck, G. M. 2015. Managing bitter pit in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples grown in the Mid-Atlantic United States with foliar-applied calcium chloride and some alternatives. HortTechnology 25:385-391.
  4. Xu, C., Wang, C., Ju, L., Zhang, R., Biggs, A. R., Tanaka, E., Sun, G. Y. 2015. Multiple locus genealogies and phenotypic characters reappraise the causal agent of apple ring rot in China. Fungal Diversity 71:215-231.
  5. Turechek, W. W. and Biggs, A. R. 2015. Maryblyt v. 7.1 for Windows: An Improved Fire Blight Forecasting Program for Apples and Pears. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-RS-14-0046.