I graduated in 1990 from Queensland University of Technology, Australia, with a degree in microbiology, so I am not exactly a ‘classically trained’ plant pathologist. I then moved to the University of Queensland to work as a research assistant on molecular genetic diversity in Phytophthora sojae. Next was a PhD at UQ under supervision of John Irwin, Don Maclean, and Andre Drenth, and focussed on the molecular genetics of avirulence in P. sojae. A postdoc position at the Scottish Crop Research Institute brought me to the UK, to work with Paul Birch on positional cloning of avirulence genes in Phytophthora infestans. A Scottish Government senior research fellowship followed, also working with P. infestans, and I am now a staff molecular plant pathologist at SCRI. My current research is focussed on identification and characterization of pathogenicity and avirulence factors from P. infestans, using tools such as genome comparisons, analyses of gene expression, fluorescent protein tagging and confocal microscopy, and gene silencing.
As BSPP’s Programme Secretary I am largely responsible for organizing the society’s annual Presidential meeting and other scientific meetings. Topics for Presidential Meetings are decided by the society’s president, but suggestions of topics for other, smaller meetings are welcome from BSPP members.