Two University of Tennessee plant pathologists whose work with disease-resistant dogwood trees has revitalized the state’s nursery industry are the 2007 recipients of the university’s most prestigious award for entrepreneurship.
Robert Trigiano and Mark Windham will share the Wheeley Award for Technology Transfer, which recognizes scientific achievement coupled with entrepreneurial accomplishments. Both are researchers in the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, part of the UT Institute of Agriculture, and also teach in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
Trigiano and Windham have developed a number of dogwood varieties that are resistant to dogwood anthracnose or to powdery mildew, two tree-killing diseases that have limited the use of the species in ornamental horticulture in recent decades. The varieties, or cultivars, are sold under the "Appalachian" trademark.
Trigiano and Windham started Creative Agricultural Technologies in 2006 to manage licensing and marketing. In addition to dogwoods, the company will handle other agricultural products developed at UT. The company recently licensed the nation’s largest wholesale nursery, J. Frank Schmidt Nursery, to grow the UT dogwoods.
The Wheeley Award will be made at ceremonies on Oct. 30 in the banquet room at the UT Visitors Center.