The aim of Vanessa’s PhD is to study the dynamics of wheat rust pathogens within a wheat field.
Wheat rust diseases pose a significant threat to wheat production worldwide, causing yield losses of 5 million tons every year.
Wheat rust diseases are caused by the Puccinaceae family, with three species being responsible for the three major wheat rust diseases: stem rust, leaf rust and stripe rust, casued by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, Puccinia triticina and Puccinia striiformis f. sp. stritici respectively.
The evolution and biology of these pathogens have been widely studied. However, the dynamics of the pathogen transmission and dispersal still remain unknown.
Firstly, Vanessa is working to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of stripe rust in order to build an epidemiological model that can predict how this disease behaves. This is key to be able to design effective warning systems for wheat stripe rust infection in the UK.
Vanessa is also interested in spore dispersal of stem rust within a field, studying how spores are released and transported in order to predict how far away they can travel.
Bueno-Sancho V., Persoons A., Hubbard A., Cabrera-Quio L. E., Lewis C. M., Corredor-Moreno P., Bunting D. C. E., Ali S., Chng S., Hodson D. P., Madariaga-Burrows R., Bryson R., Thomas J., Holdgate S., Saunders D. G. O. (2017)Pathogenomic analysis of wheat yellow rust lineages detects seasonal variation and host specificityGenome Biology and EvolutionPublisher's version: .