Rong is at East Malling as a joint-training PhD student under the 2015 “Building High Level University Program” initiative of the China Scholarship Council (CSC). She has been a PhD student at the College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University since September 2014.
Rong will be co-supervised by Dr Richard Harrison and Prof Xiangming Xu during her stay at EMR. Her research studies at EMR have the overall aim of understanding the virulence of the fungal pathogen, Verticillium dahliae, a damaging pathogen on a range of economically important crops, including cotton, potato and strawberry. The project title is “Identification and functional characterization of Verticillium dahliae effectors”. The aim is to discover V.dahliae effectors and elucidate their functions in the infection and subsequent colonization of strawberry plants.