Saskia Hogenhout recognised for outstanding research

Dr Saskia Hogenhout has been awarded the Derrick Edward Award for outstanding research by a young investigator by the International Organization for Mycoplasmology, for her outstanding research in the field of mycoplasmology.

Mycoplasmology is the study of a class of bacteria that are associated with a wide variety of diseases in plants and animals.

Saskia has been recognised for major research advances in deciphering the intimate conversation among plants, microbes and insect vectors at the molecular level.

Her multidisciplinary research at the John Innes Centre is focussed on phytoplasmas, parasitic bacteria that live in the sap of plants and are spread by insects such as leafhoppers. Phytoplasmas cause a number of diseases in economically important crops.

Saskia established her research group at the John Innes Centre in 2007.

Her research has helped understand the biology of phytoplasmas and how they interact and modify their hosts. Her research has used modern genomics techniques to identify effector proteins in aphid saliva and understand how phytoplasmas use these effector proteins to modify plants to attract insects.

Prior to joining the John Innes Centre, Saskia ran an independent programme on insect transmission of phytoplasmas and rhabdoviruses at The Ohio State University. A major portion of her research efforts addressed phytoplasmas and their relatives, and included genome sequencing and analysis, cell biology and the identification of new phytoplasmas.

Saskia collaborates widely with colleagues in the research community, including coordinating a working group for an EU Cost Action FA 0807: Integrated Management of Phytoplasma Epidemics in Different Crop Systems. This aims to promote exchange of knowledge and to design integrated phytoplasma management strategies.

Through this project Saskia recently hosted a workshop at the John Innes Centre, bringing together researchers from across the world to learn genomic techniques that will further help understand these bacteria and the diseases they cause.

Saskia was also a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Molecular Plant Pathology and a contributing member of the Faculty of 1000, and has published many papers in high impact journals.

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