Lab-based research

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As demonstrated powerfully by recent outbreaks of tree pests and diseases such as ash die-back, oak processionary moth, and phytophthora, current forestry and woodland management practices leave us vulnerable to catastrophic landscape change and economic losses. BIFoR will address tree defence, susceptibility and resistance under current and future climate, using discovery tools drawn from biomedical science and, from a broader ‘complex systems’ perspective, innovative approaches to manage risks to forest health. Laboratory based research will tackle these increasingly important issues. Plans are in place for refurbished laboratories and growth facilities on-campus.

We will address:

  • tree defence, susceptibility and resistance under current and future climatic and environmental scenarios;
  • disease systematics and diagnostics;
  • genomic, metabolomic and bioinformatic tools for discovery of biomarkers of toxicity that are predictive of whole plant disease;
  • disease epidemiology and modelling;
  • invasiveness;
  • methods of control, containment and mitigation;
  • and, from a broader systems perspective, innovative approaches to manage risks to forest health.

We are delighted to announce, this July the BIFoR team of experts will be joined by Dr Graeme Kettles and Dr Estrella Luna-Diez. They join the Biosciences plant sciences team of lecturers and will help drive forward the Action Oak research on plant health, pests and disease. In July 2019 we held an International Symposium, free and open to everyone, which showcased the latest research in plant pathology and tree research. We welcomed researchers from the UK and abroad with a background in forest and plant research. The event was called "Thinking Higer - towards the biosecurity of forest trees."