Microbial and population genomics

This theme is about understanding and harnessing microbial diversity of both pathogenic and beneficial microbes associated with horticulture. It will involve going from population level data to candidate DNA regions associated with phenotypes of interest that can be functionally validated. It will also explore what evolutionary processes drive the expansion of pathogen populations and how growing systems affect this.

Key areas of research

  • Host specificity
  • Population dynamics of pests and pathogens
  • Genome evolution

A UK-China partnership to understand the genetic architecture of the Colletotrichum gloeosporoides – Fragaria x ananassa interaction

China is the foremost producer of strawberries globally, accounting for over 38% of total production. 2,000,000 mu (330 thousand acres) of land is devoted to strawberry production in China, with an estimated value of twenty billion RMB (£2.2 billion) per … Continue Reading


Investigating the circadian clock of Verticillium dahliae and its influence on pathogenicity

This project aims to use bioinformatics and experimental approaches to characterize the circadian clock in the broad host range pathogen Verticillium dahliae and its influence on pathogenicity. In addressing this question, we aim to discover whether the pathogen is able … Continue Reading


The molecular basis of pathogenicity of Neonectria ditissima.

The causal agent of European Canker, Neonectria ditissima, has become a globally important pathogen of apple over recent years. Very little is known about this pathogen at the molecular level. Therefore, this project aims to unmask the components of the … Continue Reading


The nature of resistance to Neonectria ditissima in apple species

The fungal pathogen, Neonectria ditissima, is the causal agent of European canker in apple. Most modern apple varieties are susceptible and there is poor chemical control of canker of trees due to its systemic nature of the disease. It has … Continue Reading


Developing durable disease resistance to bacterial canker of cherry

Bacterial canker, caused by Pseudomonas syringae is a major disease of cherry, for which there is no effective control. This project aims to use bioinformatic and experimental approaches to understand the host adaptation and pathogenicity of P. syringae and elucidate … Continue Reading


Genomics of Phytophthora fragariae

The work aims to apply sequencing technologies and ‘-omics’ approaches to understand the cause of the differences in the ability of isolates of the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora fragariae to cause disease in varieties of the cultivated strawberry Fragaria × ananassa. … Continue Reading


Exploiting next generation sequencing technologies to understand pathology and resistance to Fusarium

Onion is a major crop across the world and as such is the second most valuable vegetable crop tomato. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae causes basal rot of onion. In the UK alone postharvest losses due to F. oxysporum f. … Continue Reading

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