Project: Molecular Evolution of Host-Specificity in a Plant Pathogen
Supervisor: Professor James Brown
My love for Biology flourished during my A-Levels, which is when I decided to study Biology as an undergraduate at the University of Kent. Despite having very limited course content that focused on plants, I was accepted at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to do a sandwich year between the second and final year of my undergraduate degree. This involved studying population genetics of Pulsatilla vulgaris and kindled my desire to continue into plant research through a PhD. Due to the experience gained in my sandwich year and good academic record, I was accepted at the John Innes Centre to do a PhD that incorporates my research experience in molecular biology. This PhD also gives me the opportunity to learn new techniques based on plant pathology.
My PhD project is looking at the evolution of Blumeria graminis formae speciales in order to determine at what point in time they diverged from one another. I will also be looking at avirulence genes in Blumeria graminis hordei, characterising isolates as virulent or avirulent and identifying mutations that lead them to be virulent.
The excellent reputation of the JIC as well as my love for research and keen interest in studying plants and their pathogens made it an obvious choice to apply for a PhD here.