Plant Pathology (plant breeding and genetics minor).
Professor Holub trained in legume pathology and plant breeding in the US, completing research that catalysed a public-commercial partnership with regional seed companies for release of multiple disease resistance in alfalfa forage varieties.
His genetics career began in the UK as a postdoc with Professor Ian Crute. They established experimental models in Arabidopsis thaliana for molecular investigation of resistance to two highly specialised pathogens (Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis and Albugo laibachii). This work led to numerous publications on R-gene mediated resistance, defense-signaling and pathogen avirulence with UK and international collaborators. His transition back to bonafide crop pathogens, began with genetic dissection of non-host resistance in A. thaliana to Albugo candida (brassica white blister rust). This has led to molecular characterisation of a broad-spectrum receptor-like resistance gene WRR4, that has potential use in transgenic brassica crops. A high quality reference genome for A. candida race 2V has also been generated from further collaboration with Canadian partners.
His interests in tackling challenges of food insecurity includes research to improve disease resistance in brassicas (downy mildew, white blister rust and black rot), drawing of advances from A. thaliana research. He has also recently revived elite material from the NVRS-Wellesbourne Phaseolus baked bean breeding programme, which had been working to adapt this crop for UK production.