Cassandra Jensen

Postgraduate Researcher Plant Health

Yellow rust (YR) of wheat, caused by the fungus Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (PST), is a devastating disease that leads to significant reduction in quality and yield in susceptible cultivars.

Despite this dire threat to global food security, the molecular mechanisms regarding host pathogen interactions in this pathosystem remain poorly understood.

A major source of resistance in wheat is provided by intracellular receptors that can detect pathogen proteins called effectors.

However, effectors can often evade detection and reprogram host processes to benefit the pathogen.

Cassandra’s Phd focuses on developing reliable systems to identify and characterise candidate effectors of yellow rust in planta. The long term aim is to uncover the molecular functions of PST effectors to hopefully outsmart this devastating plant pathogen in the future.