Accessibility navigation

Rob Jackson to join the University of Birmingham

colour portrait photograph of Prof Rob Jackson

Rob Jackson, Head of School of Biological Sciences (SBS), is joining the University of Birmingham in January 2020. He has been appointed the Chair in Tree Pathology at the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR).

Rob is a renowned plant microbiologist and specialises in the study of the interaction between microbes and plants. He has more than 25 years’ experience working on plant pathology problems, and was appointed the Head of School in August 2017.

Rob said the decision to leave Reading has been difficult for him. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my 13 years at Reading, developing myself and supporting the University in the areas of microbiology research and teaching, and more recently leadership. The role in Tree Pathology at the University of Birmingham offers an exciting opportunity to develop a new Forestry Institute, working with a broad range of interdisciplinary researchers to work on a major biological problem that has global impacts.

“The new job will employ my research and leadership skills to build capacity and expertise, and develop the institute strategy. It also offers an opportunity to develop new links between Birmingham and Reading.”

Mark Fellowes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning and Resource, said, “I would like to congratulate Rob on the new role. It offers a unique opportunity for him to apply his skills to understanding a truly global issue. Rob has been a fantastic leader of the School of Biological Sciences and has been closely involved in the development of the University’s new Health & Life Sciences building. I wish him the very best on his new role.”

The process to recruit a new Head of School for SBS will be initiated soon. The University is looking to make an appointment by November 2019 to facilitate a smooth transition of leadership.

Specialist in plant pathology

Rob Jackson completed a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol in 1998. He went on to become a Post-doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) at UWE and also at the University of Oxford.

He joined Reading in 2006 as a Lecturer and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. He served as the Director of Impact and Enterprise (2012-2015) before becoming a Professor in 2016.

Rob specialises in plant pathology problems has done research into the pathology of trees like Horse Chestnut, Oak and Cherry. He is interested in exploring the multitude of problems that trees face – including pests and diseases, climate change and over-exploitation.

He collaborates widely in the UK and globally, and has delivered teaching and research seminars at diverse locations abroad. He was an elected Board member of the British Society for Plant Pathology from 2010 to 2013, and re-joined the Board in 2019 as its Publicity Champion.

Rob served as a Senior Editor for Phytopathology between 2012-2014, and has been a Senior Editor for Molecular Plant Pathology since 2015. He currently sits on the Action Oak Research & Monitoring sub-committee and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Akureyri, Iceland.

BIFoR was set up to provide a better understanding how forests will respond to future increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, including effects on forest growth and agricultural pests and diseases.

Page navigation

Search Form

Main navigation