Chris’s research focuses on characterising plant immunity for pre-breeding purposes to enable the development of crops with durable disease resistance.
His research includes work on brassicas and cereals, especially barley, and aims to add value throughout the supply chain.
Chris is also exploring opportunities in mycorrhizal research for enhancing nutrient acquisition into cereal crops.
- Identifying durable disease resistance in brassicas and cereals
- Adding value throughout the supply chain
- Nutrient acquisition through mycorrhizas for crop improvement
- Finding downy mildew resistance in baby leaf kale
Chris works on immunity in barley and brassicas with a focus on translational research and commercialisation for agriculture. The Brassica work develops our understanding of PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI) from Arabidopsis, and applies this to improve understanding of quantitative disease resistance (QDR).
With European partners, Chris’ group are using a brassica diversity panel to unravel how PTI could contribute to QDR against the most important pathogens of this crop. There are useful resistance genes in old varieties and landraces of crops. They are studying resistance in old barley varieties including Chevallier, and are working with maltsters and brewers to evaluate their commercial potential.
Through a BBSRC partnering award, they have established links with this research in USA and Canada.
Chris is on the science advisory board for the Royal Horticultural Society.
Enquires about summer student work in plant pathology are welcome.