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Professor John Walsh

Job Title
Life Sciences
+44 (0)2476 575028
Research Interests

Plant viruses are a major constraint limiting crop production worldwide, particularly in underdeveloped regions. Withdrawal of pesticide active ingredients is likely to exacerbate problems in developed countries. Plant viruses are responsible for 47% of new/emerging infectious diseases of plants (fungi 30%, bacteria 16%).

Current Research Interests:

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

  • Plant - virus interactions, particularly Turnip mosaic virus - Brassica and Arabidopsis interactions
  • Identifying, characterising, mapping and understanding the mechanism of plant resistance genes and identifying their viral determinants with a view to developing durable resistance to potyviruses
  • Understanding virus - virus interactions in plants
  • Plant virus diversity
  • Plant - virus co-evolution in wild plants
  • Plant viruses transmitted by fungi and protists and the vectors themselves

John studied Applied Biology at Leeds University and then went on to a co-operative award PhD at Rothamsted Experimental Station (now Rothamsted Research) and Leeds University 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 joined HRI 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 to the International Society for Horticultural Science, Vegetable Virus Working Group, SGM Virology Division Committee and NERC Peer Review College. He is also an editor for the Annals of Applied Biology and the European Journal of Plant Pathology. John is President Elect of the International Working Group for Legume and Vegetable Viruses.

John's group 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.

  • Walsh, J.A., Verbeek, M., 2012. Genus ? Varicosavirus. In Virus Taxonomy ? Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, Elsevier, pp. 777-781
Title Funder Award start Award end
MTA - DSMZ GmbH - polyclonal antibody against BWYV Leibniz-Institut DSMZ 15 Jan 2020 14 Jan 2025
h20 SMARTPROTECT: SMART agriculture for innovative vegetable crop PROTECTion: harnessing advanced methodologies and technologies European Commission 01 Jan 2020 31 Dec 2022
Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability BBSRC 01 Sep 2018 31 Aug 2021
Developing integrated approaches for pest and disease control in horticultural field crops (IAPAD) BBSRC 01 Apr 2015 31 May 2020
Deployment of durable, broad-spectrum resistance to Turnip mosaic virus into Brassica oleracea in sub-Saharan Africa BBSRC 01 Jan 2019 31 Dec 2019
Exploiting new sources of broad-spectrum resistance to Turnip mosaic virus in brassicas (iCASE) Sakata UK Ltd 05 Oct 2015 04 Oct 2019
Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network (VeGIN) extension 2017 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Apr 2017 31 Mar 2018
CIRC training grant BBSRC 01 Oct 2011 30 Sep 2015
Support towards 4 year BBSRC CIRC studentship (Max Newbert) travel/conferences only Perry Foundation 01 Oct 2011 30 Sep 2015
Exploiting sources of resistance to turnip yellow virus for deployment in oilseed - CIRC proposal BBSRC 01 Sep 2011 31 Aug 2015
The incidence of turnip yellow virus (TuYV) in over wintered cauliflower and brussel sprouts AHDB (Formerly HDC) 01 May 2010 30 Apr 2013
Brassica and lettuce propagation: Scaling up means of controlling clubroot resting spores in trays to avoid infection of transplants. AHDB (Formerly HDC) 01 Apr 2011 31 Jan 2013
Amendment to RLFJW0502 (26890) The time of infection of overwintered cauliflower and Brussels sprout by Turnip yellows virus (TuYV) and the potential of insecticides to control the virus (FV365a) AHDB (Formerly HDC) 01 Apr 2011 31 May 2012
IF0157 Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network (VeGIN): Leafy vegetables and salads Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Apr 2009 31 Mar 2012
Introgression of broad-spectrum resistance to turnip mosaic virus (Tumv) in to Brassica rapa Syngenta Ltd 01 Jan 2009 31 Dec 2011
Studentship: Deploying virus resistance in brassicas and understanding the interaction between the viral VPg protein and brassica eIF4E and eIF(iso)4E proteins (CASE) Syngenta Ltd 01 Oct 2008 30 Sep 2011
FV0160b / 13540 Reducing losses from Virus-induced storage disorders of processing cabbage Horticultural Development Council 01 Feb 2006 30 Jun 2010
Brassica & Lettuce propagation: Identifying means of killing clubroot and olipidium resting spores Horticultural Development Council 01 Apr 2008 17 May 2010
Exploiting eIF4E - based and associated broad spectrum recessive resistance to potyviruses in dicots and monocots. BBSRC 01 Apr 2007 31 Mar 2010
Wild brassica screen for virus resistance (Wibsvir). Pre-breeding research to support sutainable farming of brassicas in the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Jan 2009 31 Jan 2010
IF0191 Wild brassica screen for virus resistance (wibsvir). Pre-breeding research to support farming of brassicas in the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Jan 2009 30 Sep 2009
Crop Improvement of Field Vegetables Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Apr 2004 31 Mar 2009
Watercress: Optimising Zinc applications for controlling crook root disease and minimising zin discharges. Horticultural Development Council 01 Jan 2003 01 Sep 2004