Maria R. Finckh 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.
Maria R. Finckh
Institution and country of residence
University of Kassel, Germany
Area of expertise/study
My area of expertise is in plant protection in organic agriculture which has changed from the simple questions about single problems to the question about system management to reduce diseases, insect pests and weeds in order to make plant protection products either obsolete or at least make it possible to work with biologicals that cannot be used for correction but more for prevention. Therefore, my area can now be called agroecological plant health management with a focus on biodiversity including breeding for biodiversity and soil health management practices to enable non-inversion tillage in organic farming and to inspire conventional farmers to adopt agroecological measures. A main focus is now on methods to build and regenerate soil by maximizing the use of plants, soil cover and productivity as a whole in order to transfer carbon into the soil in the form of recalcitrant humus. The focus is little on specific crops by now, however, diversity breeding focuses on cereals and cereal-legume intercrops, pathogens in focus are legume root pathogens, potato and cereal pathogens.
About your early experiences in education
A very important experience was when first starting to work as a graduate student in the USA to discover that I was being viewed as a future colleague rather than just a student. Also very important to me was to be met without prefudice. It did not matter if I was male or female.
If you could solve one problem in plant pathology, what would it be?
I would like to solve the technical problems associated with growing mixtures so they can be used for plant protection and for increasing productivity in their full potential.
If you could solve one issue relating to inclusivity and diversity within the field of plant pathology what would it be?
Increase funds for stipends for students throughout the world including money to support students who had not a chance for basic education.
If you weren’t a plant pathologist, what would you be?