Title of PhD
Identification Methods of the Powdery Mildew Fungus
Briefly describe your area of research
I work with a fungal plant disease named powdery mildew in the field of molecular biology, taxonomy and systematics.
I use DNA sequences in order to differentiate between the hundreds of powdery mildew species that can appear identical to the naked eye and under a microscope.This can aid in the prevention of the spread and proliferation of this harmful plant pathogen.
Why did you select Reading?
Reading is a great, vibrant, multicultural university with useful close ties to important horticultural organisations.
What do you enjoy about studying at Reading?
The proximity to many influential research centres is a real positive when studying at Reading; lectures across the south of England can be attended with relative ease.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting your research?
In my experience, collaborations can be very challenging. Working as part of a seamless team is hugely rewarding but rarely the reality.
When working alone you know all your own shortcomings; these can be hugely frustrating when identified within a team of people with differing priorities.
What advice would you give a new postgraduate researcher?
Relax. It is almost certainly the case that you are unsure what form your research will take and how you will go about gathering suitable and sufficient data to reach any novel conclusions.
Read plenty. The majority of articles that you read will not end up in your completed thesis but knowledge around, as well as within, your subject is always a great thing.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
I would love to be heading a team of researchers, interns and volunteers identifying and quantifying fungus and/or fungal plant pathogens with potential future importance.
The future health of our planet, as well as humans and plants, is not insignificant and if naturally growing fungi could aid in any one of these aspects I would like to be part of the discovery of such important features.