Katie Tomlinson - BSPP Outreach Officer

Having recently been appointed the first ever outreach officer for the BSPP I’m pretty keen to get stuck in! Here’s a little about me and the current situation...

I got turned onto plant pathology whilst studying Life Sciences at Imperial College. Despite being a keen biology student I’d never heard how plants fend off diseases. From just a few lectures I was sold. Hearing about the silent battles between plants and pathogens was totally fascinating. And thanks to some excellent teaching, I finally saw the real impact and application that plant pathology has in the real world. This enthusiasm sadly wasn’t shared amongst many of peers.

A recent audit on plant pathology teaching and training commissioned by BSPP describes an ageing population profile of current plant pathologists and plant pathology being unpopular at both school and University. This is all pretty worrying when future plant pathologists are desperately needed to help tackle crop and tree diseases. The recent developments with ash dieback have finally earned a mention for plant pathology in the headlines. Sadly it looks like there’ll be much more plant pathology destruction to come. So it’s vital that plant pathologists inspire the next generation and that’s where I come in!

Over the coming months I’ll be developing outreach resources for school and university workshops, science festivals and lots more and that’s where you come in!

If you’ve got any ideas for how your research could be used for resources and/or would like to be involved in running outreach activities, please get in touch. I’ll also be promoting plant pathogen research and outreach activities on the BSPP website and Twitter so please follow @BS_PP for updates!