Rachel is currently working two different projects, one on Ash dieback and one on innate immunity in Brassica.
Ash dieback is a serious fungal disease that is killing ash trees across Europe. Rachel is investigating the interaction between the tree and the fungus.
With Brassicas she is looking at how a diversity panel of 192 lines responds to different PAMPs (pathogen associated molecular patterns) and a variety of pathogens including Botrytis cinerea and Pseudomonas spp. PAMPs are essential conserved molecules in microbial pathogens that can be recognised by the host plant. Rachel has run the majority of the assays for the project.
As part of the Brassica project Rachel has been responsible for running an outreach activity. She’s worked with 21 schools across Europe on two-year long projects. Each school grew five different brassica lines and made detailed notes on growth and disease presence. Rachel was able to visit one of the local schools taking part and in return they were able to visit the John Innes Centre.