Over the last decade RNA interference has emerged as a powerful genetic tool for scientific research. RNAi spray technology also provides an attractive method of biological crop protection against pests and diseases that is environmentally friendly.
We are using an RNAi gene silencing system in leafy vegetables to test the function of diverse pathogen genes in infection and identify potential targets for biocontrol. We are focusing on carbohydrate degrading enzymes (in collaboration with Professor Simon-McQueen Mason) as critical components of pathogen invasion and spread within the host, and on transcriptional regulators of virulence.
Professor Denby is interested in plant disease resistance and plant-pathogen interaction, and in novel approaches for enabling and enhancing breeding of improved crop varieties tolerant to environmental stress and disease.
Professor McQueen-Mason's research encompasses various aspects of lignocellulosic biorefining and biofuels.