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Plant pathology award for John Innes Centre researcher

26 July 2022

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Professor Paul Nicholson, whose research investigates some of the major diseases of food crops, has been honoured by a leading society in the field of plant pathology.  

Paul, a group leader at the John Innes Centre, is the recipient of the British Society of Plant Pathologists (BSPP) RKS Wood prize 

The award celebrates: “excellent science in the study of plant disease biology and its application in the protection of plants against pathogens.” 

As 2022 prize winner, Paul, will deliver a talk on Wednesday 7th September at the BSPP Presidential meeting ‘Microbial lifestyles: from symbionts to pathogens.’   

“This award is a great honour for me and my group at the John Innes Centre and I’m very much looking forward to sharing our research with fellow scientists at the BSPP meeting in September,” he said. 

Paul’s research investigates the basis of resistance to several pathogens of wheat and barley. The main diseases studied by his group are Fusarium head blight (FHB) and wheat blast which affect the head of the cereals and eyespot that attacks the stem base. 

Important career landmarks include:  

Helping to develop the first quantitative PCR diagnostics to study the effect of host resistance and agrochemical treatment on individual components of disease complexes;   

Identifying a locus on the 4D chromosome of the wheat genome that, when eliminated, confers a high level of FHB resistance. The Nicholson group is currently attempting to identify the causal gene; 

The group is also investigating wheat blast, making interesting advances in identifying genes controlling resistance to this newly emerging disease threat. 

The RKS Wood Prize is named and awarded in honour of Professor RKS Wood to acknowledge his role in establishing the discipline of Physiological Plant Pathology. 

Previous winners from the Norwich Research Park include Professor Saskia Hogenhout from the John Innes Centre, and Professor Sophien Kamoun from The Sainsbury Laboratory.  

For more information about the RKS Wood Prize and to view past winners RKS Wood Prize – BSPP – The British Society for Plant Pathology 

Image credit: John Innes Centre

This article was originally posted by our partner, the John Innes Centre, and can be found on their website here.

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