John is interested plant-pathogen interactions, specifically the role of plant hormones in Fusarium diseases of cereals.
Fusarium graminearum is a devastating fungal pathogen of small grain cereals causing both Fusarium head blight (FHB) and Fusarium root rot (FRR) diseases. Plant hormones are necessary for plants to effectively regulate defence towards invading pathogens. John is investigating whether plant hormones can improve resistance to FHB and FRR in the model cereal Brachypodium distachyon.
Furthermore, he is interested in how F. graminearum can produce their own plant hormones as a virulence strategy to manipulate the defences of the host plant. John is investigating which hormones can be produced and whether these have a role in pathogen virulence.
At the end of his project John hopes to identify specific plant hormones that could be used to effectively control FHB.