Luca Steel 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
Rothamsted Research/University of Nottingham, UK
Area of expertise/study
I’m a PhD student researching Zymoseptoria tritici, the fungal pathogen of wheat. I enjoy being in the lab and sharing my work with others. I try to get involved in lots of outreach projects, as I think it’s really important to share all of the great work plant pathologists do and spread the word about how much we need it! So far I’ve been lucky to take part in Soapbox Science, Skype a Scientist, various projects at Rothamsted and lots of Zoom calls with Girl guiding groups and schools. I’ve had fun running ‘Plant Defenders’, a BSPP-funded challenge all about plant health, aimed at Brownies and Guides.
About your early experiences in education
At school, my favourite lessons were ones where we learned about the world and how it works – geography, economics, science. I especially enjoyed biology at school, but had never heard of plant pathology until I went to the Gatsby plant science summer school while I was at University.
If you could solve one problem in plant pathology, what would it be?
I’d love for the importance of plant pathology to be more widely known, and for more young scientists to be excited to join in!
If you could solve one issue relating to inclusivity and diversity within the field of plant pathology what would it be?
I’d make sure plant pathology was accessible and welcoming for all. From personal experience, I’ve felt very welcomed by the plant pathology community, with professionals giving up their time to show me around their workplaces, explain what they do and help me with applications. I’d love for that experience to be the same for everyone considering plant pathology, and I look forward to being part of a more diverse, inclusive cohort!
If you weren’t a plant pathologist, what would you be?
I’d support young people with disabilities to join in fun activities; I’ve done this part-time since I was 14, and have so much fun!