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Professor John Walsh

Professor of Plant-Virus Interactions


Phone: 024 765 75028

Office (W): PPB 1.26

 Office (GH): D 126

Walsh webpage


Research Clusters

Plant & Agricultural Biosciences

Microbiology & Infectious disease

Environment & Ecology

Warwick Centres and GRPs

Warwick Crop Centre

Vacancies and Opportunities

For PhD and postdoctoral opportunities, and interest in potential collaborations, please contact me at the above email address.

Research Interests

Plants, like most living things, are infected by viruses. These viruses can cause major diseases and are a major constraint limiting crop production worldwide, but particularly in underdeveloped regions.

Withdrawal of pesticide active ingredients is exacerbating problems Plant viruses are responsible for 47% of new/emerging infectious diseases of plants.

Current Research and Teaching Interests:

Our group has a diverse research programme ranging from fundamental research through translational to very applied research directly relevant to industry and farmers. These include:

  • Plant - virus interactions
  • Identifying, characterising and understanding the mechanism of plant resistance genes with a view to developing durable disease resistance
  • Studying plant virus diversity
  • Exploring the insect vectors of plant viruses
  • Investigating viruses in wild plants
  • Researching plant viruses transmitted by fungi and single-celled organisms

Research: Technical Summary

Our group has a diverse research programme ranging from fundamental research through translational to very applied research directly relevant to growers. These include:

  • Plant - virus interactions, particularly viruses infecting brassicas (turnip mosaic virus, turnip yellows virus etc.)
  • Identifying, characterising, mapping and understanding the mechanism of plant resistance genes and identifying their viral determinants with a view to developing durable plant resistances
  • Understanding virus - virus interactions in plants and viral fitness
  • Plant virus diversity
  • Plant - virus co-evolution in wild plants
  • Plant viruses transmitted by fungi and protists and the vectors themselves

John's group have a number of patents and have had a number of products commercialised including germplasm possessing resistance genes to plant viruses and diagnostic reagents for detection of plant viruses and protists.

John studied Applied Biology at the University of Leeds and then went on to a co-operative award PhD at Rothamsted Experimental Station (now Rothamsted Research) and University of Leeds in Plant Pathology. During his PhD studies, John was awarded the Best Student Paper Award, from the Society of Nematologists at their meeting in Salt Lake City. This was followed by a Potato Marketing Board postdoctoral fellowship at Rothamsted. John arrived at the Wellesbourne Crop Centre site in 1983 and is currently group leader for the Plant - Virus Interactions group. This group has a broad range of research projects from Applied, through Strategic to Fundamental, funded from a wide variety of sources. The underlying aim is to provide environmentally friendly sustainable disease control measures whilst at the same time reducing inputs.

John has served his field as a member of the Association of Applied Biologists Virology Group Committee, secretary and president of to the International Working Group on Legume and Vegetable Viruses, Microbilogy Society Virology Division Committee and NERC Peer Review College. He has also been an editor of a number of journals including including the Annals of Applied Biology, the European Journal of Plant Pathology, General Plant Pathology and Horticultural Plant Journal.