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Professor Rob Jackson

In January 2020, Professor Rob Jackson will join the University of Birmingham as the Chair in Tree Pathology in the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR).

Professor Jackson, currently Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Head of School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading, is a renowned plant biologist and specialises in the study of the interaction between microbes and plants.

Announcing the appointment, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Professor Laura Green OBE, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Jackson to the University. BIFoR’s pioneering research is enhancing our understanding of how forests will respond to a changing climate and what this means for both the environment and society. It is great to have Rob on-board as the Institute’s research evolves.”

On accepting the post, Professor Jackson said: “I am delighted to join the University of Birmingham and BiFoR to work on tree pathology. Trees play such an important role globally as well as being much loved by individuals, but they are suffering from a multitude of problems, from pests and diseases, to climate change and over-exploitation. I will be working hard with colleagues in Birmingham, and beyond, to deliver a world-class research programme that tackles the major issues in tree pathology.”

Professor 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. From 2006–2013, Rob was Lecturer in School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading, where he became associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Head of School. In addition, Rob is Adjunct Professor at the University of Akureyri, Iceland.  

BIFoR aims to provide fundamental science, social science and cultural research of direct relevance to forested landscapes anywhere in the world. They make the evidence-based case for forests as part of one-planet living.

As a result of a visionary 15 million pound donation the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research was set up to provide a step-change in our understanding how our forests will respond to future increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, including effects on forest growth and agricultural pests and diseases. The Chair of Tree Pathology and its start-up activities are supported by a £2m donation by the JABBS Foundation.

The Institute is three years into a ten-year ‘big science’ Free-Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) experiment established in Mill Haft, Staffordshire.