Fiona Doohan is one of our ’40 Faces of Plant Pathology’
BSPP members can be found in 51 different countries, with 30% of members based in countries outside of the UK. As part of the BSPPs 40th anniversary, we asked our membership to describe some things about themselves, what plant pathology challenges they would most like to see solved, and what could improve the world of plant pathology in terms of inclusivity. Click here to return to 40 Faces Home Page.
Institution and country of residence
University College Dublin
Professor of Plant Health
Area of expertise/study
Our research focuses on unravelling the complexities of plant-microbe interactions in order to improve our ability to control crop diseases and thus improve food security. The main goals of our research programme are to identify, characterize and exploit (1) novel cellular pathways and mechanisms involved in the disease resistance within select wheat, barley and oat germplasm; (2) novel endophytes (microbes that live within plants) capable of reducing the severity of plant diseases. The team focus on the study of plant disease control via biological agents and the improvement of our understanding of the genetics of plant disease resistance mechanisms.
About your early experiences in education
My degree was in microbiology; we had a great lecturer in microbiology in UCD Dublin (Hubert Fuller) who inspired my interest in fungi. After my degree I won a scholarship to do a doctorate in John Innes Centre/Harper Adams Agricultural College/Open University. It was a fantastic experience to work in JIC in the Cereal Lab. I am forever grateful for the great tuition in plant pathology from Paul Nicholson and all the pathology team in JIC.
If you could solve one problem in plant pathology, what would it be?
If you could solve one issue relating to inclusivity and diversity within the field of plant pathology what would it be?
We have always been lucky to have a very diverse and inclusive pathology team here at UCD. I think that pathology could foster more diverse thinking and would greatly benefit from this in terms of new ideas, increasing inclusivity and focusing on ideas more than technology to drive innovation.
If you weren’t a plant pathologist, what would you be?
I think I would be an engineer.