PhD Microbe-microbe warfare in the phyllosphere, University of Birmingham
Plant pathogens pose major challenges to the production of crops and in the resilience of our trees and forests. How we protect plants from their most damaging pathogens is therefore vital to a future of sustainable agriculture within a healthy ecosystem. The Kettles laboratory combines molecular biology and protein biochemistry with computational approaches to study what makes bacterial and fungal phytopathogens so adept at causing disease. We also investigate how the immune systems of both crops and trees function to repel pathogens, and how this could be improved to enhance disease resistance. We have recently established a research program that focusses on diseases of oak trees. The two oak tree pathosystems we study are the bacterial complex associated with acute oak decline (AOD) disease and the oak powdery mildew fungus Erysiphe alphitoides.