The John Innes Centre is pleased to welcome Dr Rose Kigathi from the Department of Biological Sciences, Pwani University, Kenya, for a nine-month placement as part of her AWARD (African Women in Agricultural Research and Development) fellowship.
Dr Kigathi arrived at the John Innes Centre on 3 October and will be hosted by Dr Diane Saunders a joint research fellow at the John Innes Centre and Earlham Institute.
Dr Kigathi is the second AWARD Fellow to undertake her advanced science placement in the UK. The first, Dr Angela Eni is also undertaking her science placement at the John Innes Centre.
Dr Kigathi will be researching wheat stem rust, which is a rapidly re-emerging global threat to wheat crops.
The emergence of the virulent UG99 race of wheat stem rust was first noted in Uganda in 1999. Since then different strains of the pathogen have overcome traditionally resistant varieties of wheat and the disease has begun to spread into Europe. Dr Kigathi will carry out genome sequencing on an array of global strains of wheat stem rust and use a bioinformatic approach to determine the relationship between recent European isolates and the wider global population.
The African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellowship is a career-development programme that equips the best women agricultural scientists from across sub-Saharan Africa with the advanced science and leadership skills needed to accelerate agricultural gains through research and development.
The science costs of Dr Kigathi’s work at the John Innes Centre will be funded by the John Innes Centre’s recent BBSRC Excellence with Impact award.