My research focuses on using high-resolution timeseries transcriptomic data to direct plant breeding for resistance to necrotrophic fungal pathogens. Previously I was undertaking a PhD within the PRESTA project, examining how leaf senescence and pathogen response are integrated through common regulatory elements. After that I was a plant pathology consultant at ADAS UK Ltd., working on a number of industrial and academic research projects relating to fungicide resistance and host resistance in wheat, oilseed rape and a number of other crops. Recently, I have begun a project on breeding for resistance to fungal pathogens in lettuce (Lactuca sativa). We are examining how lettuce alters gene expression in order to establish a defence to the pathogens Botrytis cinerea and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. We plan to use this data to identify key resistance QTL that can be then utilised for plant breeding. Simultaneously to this approach, we are screening wild-accessions for pathogen resistance, so that we can isolate resistance QTL through a classical genetics approach with genotyping-by-sequencing and quantitative genetics.
- Hickman, Richard, Van Verk, Marcel C., Van Dijken, Anja J.H., Mendes, Marciel Pereira, Vroegop-Vos, Irene A., Caarls, Lotte, Steenbergen, Merel, Van der Nagel, Ivo, Wesselink, Gert Jan, Jironkin, Aleksey, Talbot, Adam, Rhodes, Johanna, De Vries, Michel, Schuurink, Robert C., Denby, Katherine J., Pieterse, Corné M.J., Van Wees, Saskia C.M., 2017. Architecture and dynamics of the jasmonic acid gene regulatory network. The Plant Cell, 29 (9), pp. 2086-2105