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New BSPP Board members for 2017

16th November 2016

Professor Dawn Arnold (Vice-President, 2017)

After completing my PhD at the University of Bath in 1992 studying crook root disease of watercress, I then did a follow-up post doc at Bath on club root disease of brassicas. I moved to the University of the West of England in 1994 as a post doc and I am now a Professor of Molecular Plant Pathology. At UWE I lead a group investigating Pseudomonas syringae pathogenicity and evolution and more recently tree pathogens.

I have been a member of BSPP for over 20 years during which time I have regularly attended conferences and have gone from competing in the P. H. Gregory prize to judging it. I have served the BSPP and its members via publicity activities, running the MBPP conference and as a senior editor for MPP. I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve on the board to promote the society, its aims and its members. I believe my research expertise coupled with public engagement (e.g. Bristol Science Festival presentations) and departmental service experience (e.g. committee chair work) allow me to contribute significantly to the running of the society.

Professor Mahmut Tör (Treasurer)

Having grown up in rural Turkey, it was a natural choice for me to study entomology and plant pathology for my degree at Çukurova University, in Turkey’s largest agricultural department. When I came to the UK for an MSc and PhD in plant pathology at Wye College, University of London.

I became fascinated by the then new area of molecular biology of plant diseases. Since that time, I have developed my career in molecular host–pathogen interactions, with particular interest in oomycete pathogens. Over the years I have worked at universities in both Turkey and the UK, including London, Akdeniz (in Antalya, Turkey) and Warwick, and now research and lecture in plant and microbial biology at the University of Worcester.

In addition to fundamental research, I have also been successfully involved in translational work for breeding companies to search for markers of pest resistance using new genome technologies.

Dr Andy Bailey (Elected)

I am a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol, running a research group looking at various aspects of applied mycology and plant pathology. I have broad interests in plant pathology, with current research looking at sporulation processes in cereal pathogenic fungi, the roles of fungal secondary metabolites in pathogenesis of plants and mushrooms, fungal genome-mining approaches for discovery of products for crop protection and generation and also manipulation of infectious clones of plant viruses such as those causing Cassava Brown Streak Disease. I have long-standing interests in both undergrad and postgrad training, teaching Plant Disease to one of the largest classes in the country and having served four years as academic coordinator of the regional BBSRC DTP. I have also participated in a wide range of public outreach events relating to plant pathology.

I am a Senior Technical Expert in the Biostress Biology section at Syngenta Jealott’s Hill. My research is focused on developing new molecular tools for chemical genetics in both fungal and oomycete research with a focus on Zymoseptoria tritici and Phytophthora spp. Over the last 17 years I have collaborated extensively with a wide range of academic research groups to further the plant pathology field and am engaged with the wider UK scientific community having sat on both BBSRC’s Strategy and Review Panels.

I am an active member of the British Plant Pathology community, energetically promoting the mixing of industrial and academic science; taking part and encouraging people at Syngenta to participate in the annual Molecular Biology of Plant Pathogens meeting as this gives young researchers exposure to research being carried out by the wider pathology community.

I bring an experienced industrial perspective on crop protection and fungal genetics and work to further encourage interaction between industrial and academic researchers.

Dr Richard Harrison (Elected)

After training in fungal molecular genetics and population genomics through a BBSRC PhD (U/Manchester) and an MRC fellowship (U/Edinburgh) I moved to East Malling (now NIAB EMR) in late 2011 to take up a research leader position in genetics. After attending the 2012 Presidential meeting I was inspired to focus my research in the area of plant–microbe interactions, having seen how my skills could be applied to improve disease resistance.

I am now head of the Genetics, Genomics and Breeding department and lead a multidisciplinary team that works closely with industry and academic collaborators to develop approaches to deploy durable disease resistance across a range of crops including strawberry, apple, cherry and onion. I try to attend as many BSPP/MBPP conferences as possible and encourage my students and postdocs to also involve themselves in the society. It is a fantastic opportunity to serve on the BSPP board and I hope to assist in furthering the membership of the society and helping to inspire others to develop their careers in plant pathology.