Kenneth J. Curry

Associate Professor

Teaching Interests

BSC 226/L Botany

BSC 305 Evolution 

BSC 400/500 History of Biology


Research Interests

My formal research training is in developmental morphology of fungi and plants.  I have studied development of fungal spores (ascospores), orchid scent glands (osmophores), and fungal invasion of strawberry and blackberry tissue.  Much of my research is at the ultrastructural level using a transmission electron microscope and occasionally involves techniques in cytochemistry, immunocytochemistry, and morphometry.

Research in plant pathology has been in conjunction with a local USDA research station (Poplarville, MS).  I have examined anthracnose of strawberry, a disease caused by Colletotrichum spp., in which the fungus invades host tissue with symptoms expressed as tissue lesions; double blossom or rosette in blackberry, a disease probably caused by Cercosporella rubi in which the reproductive parts of the flower die prematurely; and blueberry root rot caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi.  Currently I am collaborating on a project for screening strawberry cultivars for resistance to anthracnose.

I have interests in the philosophy of biology and its relationship to the history of biology.  Aspects of scale and hierarchy in natural systems, especially at scales of organization much smaller (nanometer) or much larger (global) than humans, is an extension of my work in electron microscopy.  Theoretical aspects of evolution and biological systematics are among my research interests. I am especially interested in the philosophical underpinnings of the concept of species and philosophical considerations of problems in evolutionary biology.  The history of ideas, such as the nature and application of teleology, is an area of active study for me. 

I have been engaged in a series of collaborative projects that involve transmission electron microscopy or light microscopy.  The most current is a multidisciplinary effort in marine geology exploring mechanisms for long-term preservation of organic material.  My contribution to this effort involves development of techniques for serial reconstruction of clay fabric at the nanometer level of organization and the creative use of image analysis software for visualizing and analyzing that three-dimensional fabric.


Current Graduate Students

Melinda Miller-Butler (PhD) - Screening for strawberry cultivars resistant to the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum


Representative Publications

Curry, K.J., R.H. Bennett, P.J. Smithka, and M.H. Hulbert.  2009.  Hierarchical modeling of biogeochemical processes and mechanisms that drives clay nano- and microfabric development.  Pages 287–317 in New Nanotechniques, A. Malik and R.J. Rawat, eds., Nova Science Publishers, Inc., New York.

Abril, M., K.J. Curry, A.J. DeLucca, S. Boue, B.J. Smith, and D.E. Wedge.  2009.  Greenhouse and field evaluation of the natural saponin CAY-1 for control of several strawberry diseases.  International Journal of Fruit Science 94:211–220.

Abril, M., K.J. Curry, B.J. Smith, and D.E. Wedge. 2008. Improved microassays used to test natural-product based and conventional fungicides on plant pathogenic fungi.  Plant Disease 92: 106–112.

Curry, K.J., R.H. Bennett, L.M. Mayer, A. Curry, M. Abril, P.M. Biesiot, and M.H. Hulbert.  2007. Direct Visualization of Clay Microfabric Signatures Driving Organic Matter Preservation in Fine-grained Sediment. Geochimca et Cosmochimica Acta. 71:1709–1720.

Curry, K.J., and R.E. Baird, 2007.  Ascomycota: The Filamentous Fungi Forming Perithecia, Apothecia, and Ascostromata.  In Plant Pathology 2nded., R. Trigiano, M.T. Windham, and A.S. Windham, eds., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Melinda R. Lyman, Kenneth J. Curry, Barbara J. Smith, and Susan V. Diehl. 2004. Effect of Cercosporella rubi on Blackberry Floral Bud Development. Plant Disease, 87:195–204.

Curry, K.J., M. Abril, J.B. Avant, & B.J. Smith. 2002. Strawberry Anthracnose: Histopathology of Colletotrichum acutatum and C. fragariae. Phytopathology 92: 1055―1063.

Curry, K. J., L. M. McDowell, W. S. Judd, & W. L. Stern. 1991. Osmophores, floral features, and systematics of Stanhopea (Orchidaceae). Amer. J. Bot. 78: 610-623.

Curry, K.J. 1987. Initiation of terpenoid synthesis in osmophores of Stanhopea anfracta (Orchidaceae): A cytochemical study. Amer. J. Bot. 74: 1332–1338.

Curry, K.J. 1985. Ascosporogenesis in Dipodascopsis tothii. Mycologia 77: 401–411.