We recently welcomed Professor Murray Grant, who took up the position of Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security in the School of Life Sciences.
The post has been funded by The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust, which was established in memory of Elizabeth Creak, the first female High Sheriff of Warwickshire, who ran one of the county’s largest and most successful dairy farms for a number of years.
Professor Grant’s research interests are in the molecular basis of plant microbe interactions and he will contribute to developing our profile in fundamental and strategic plant and crop science. As Elizabeth Creak chair he will contribute to sustainability of the agriculture industry in the UK through research, education and public engagement. He says:
I am extremely excited by the opportunity to join a vibrant Plant Science research programme at Warwick and am particularly honoured to represent the Elizabeth Creak Trust in their endowed Chair in Food Security. My research focuses on two areas. The primary aim is to understand how plants respond to pathogens to enable breeding breed crops which broad-spectrum disease resistance. Secondly, we are interested in the bioactive compounds that beneficial organisms in the soil produce to enhance crop growth and provide antagonize pathogens.
Warwick is the ideal University for this multidisciplinary research, with strong Mathematics and Chemistry Departments. Importantly, Warwick Crop Centre based at Wellesbourne, close to the original farm of Elizabeth Creak, provides the unique ability for translating findings from the lab into the field."
Professor Laura Green, Head of the School of Life Sciences, said:
The Trust's support in enabling us to create the Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security will make a significant difference to our research and impact programme focused on the crucial issue of Food Security. We have a very strong Plant and Crop Science theme, with 25 principal investigators and their teams researching into all aspects of plant health, production and basic plant biology. Warwick Crop Centre helps translate much of this research to farmers and advisers.
Paul May, Elizabeth’s nephew, and a trustee for the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust, said that this was a very important gift in memory of his aunt:
Elizabeth would have been proud to support the important work in food security at The University of Warwick by funding the new Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security.
Her own farm was just five minutes’ drive away from the University’s crop centre Wellesbourne and she was a close friend of Jack and Doris Butterworth, the University’s first Vice-Chancellor and his wife.
Clyde Higgs, Elizabeth’s uncle, was well known for introducing innovation into dairy farming and it is appropriate that innovative research into food security at Warwick will benefit the farming community both here in the UK and internationally.”