Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Professor Eric Holub

Job Title
Life Sciences
+44(0)2476 575163
Research Interests

Graduate Field:

Plant Pathology (plant breeding and genetics minor).

University of Wisconsin-Madison


Prof Holub is a geneticist with expertise in plant health, culinary breeding and food hub development. He has been selecting Meso-american food crops for UK production from British sunshine including haricot beans, tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos. The aim is to work with UK consumers to establish new heirloom varieties for healthier diets that combine our favourite pulse with other home-grown ingredients. Provenance, convenience and versatility are key. Thus, National Listing was obtained for three fast-cooking bean varieties: Capulet (a conventional white navy bean), Godiva (a blonde kidney bean) and Olivia (an oval black bean). Participatory research with consumers was launched in Coventry for the 2019 British Science Festival [For more information see:].

In earlier genetics research, Prof Holub developed tetraploid alfalfa with multi-genic resistance to a root-rotting complex of oomycete pathogens, which has since had major impact in the US dairy industry by improving resilience under harsh winter and wet soil conditions of a high protein perennial forage legume. He moved to the UK and quickly established Arabidopsis thaliana as an experimental system to investigate the molecular basis of resistance to natural parasites. This work generated seminal publications with international collaborators on R-gene mediated resistance, defense signaling and pathogen avirulence. He shifted research to a crop pathogen (Albugo candida causing brassica white rust) for genetic dissection of non-host resistance in A. thaliana. This revealed multiple defense layers, including a receptor-like gene WRR4 with potential use for broad-spectrum resistance in transgenic brassica crops. Parallel research on white rust in brassicas was advanced with DEFRA and BBSRC funding (BB/L011646/1). The later linked collaborative research with scientists in India on oilseed mustard (B. juncea) to UK production of English mustard, in which white rust is an emerging climate related disease.

Title Funder Award start Award end
RIPEHouse Farming Innovation Pathways (FIP) ? industrial research (RIPE Building Services LTD Lead) Innovate UK 01 Dec 2021 30 Nov 2023
Developing genetics and genomics interface to develop strategies for sustainable use of resistance to white rust in oilseed mustard (Brassica juncea) BBSRC 01 Oct 2014 30 Sep 2018
BBSRC GCRF IAA 2017 Establishing an India-Africa-UK innovation hub for seed and root health in brassica and bean crops BBSRC 01 Sep 2017 28 Feb 2018
Establishing an African-UK innovation hub for common bean health and protection. BBSRC GCRF IAA BBSRC 01 Sep 2016 31 Dec 2016
Association genetics to identify conserved virulence effectors and targets for durable host resistance in a globally important bacterial pathogen of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund 01 Jun 2015 31 May 2016
BBSRC Industrial CASE studentship (Laura Davies) Glasshouse trials evaluating resistance Dow Agrosciences 03 Oct 2011 02 Oct 2015
Assessing the impact of plant mating systems and ploidy on adaptation to parasitism in changing environments NERC 01 Dec 2009 01 Mar 2014
FCT funding of personal PhD award for student project Vania Isabel Horta de Passo FCT (Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia) 01 Feb 2010 31 Jan 2014
Accelerated breeding of black rot resistant brassicas for the benefit of east African smallholders - subcontract from Harper Adams BBSRC 31 Dec 2008 08 Mar 2013
Accelerated Breeding of Black Rot Resistant Brassicas for the Benefit of East African Smallholders BBSRC 31 Dec 2008 30 Dec 2012
Role of Two Novel Pollen Tube Proteins in Polarised Rho GTPase Signalling BBSRC 20 Oct 2008 19 Oct 2011
IF0174 Identification of candidate genes for resource-use-efficiency by genome-wide association mapping in Arabidopsis thaliana Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Oct 2008 31 Mar 2009
Crop Improvement of Field Vegetables Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Apr 2004 31 Mar 2009
Genetic dissection of receptor - mediated susceptibility and molecular cloning BBSRC 03 Oct 2005 02 Oct 2008