During my time as a PhD student at the University of Reading I have been lucky enough to attend a number of conferences, summer schools, and annual meetings and take part in various other outreach events. With a little more luck I will graduate this Summer, July 2017, and this blog post is therefore a summary of these conferences before my time as a PhD student comes to its end.
- Initial meetings with powdery mildew expert Roger Cook were a hands-on introduction to the life of this common garden disease.
- The Powdery mildew summer school, Eger, Hungary took place in August 2014 and was a great introductory meeting to attend; mixing reviews of established papers within the field and practical techniques for molecular and morphological techniques for fungal species identification. I presented a review of a Desprez-Loustau paper.
- The 4th International Powdery Mildew Workshop offered me my first real insight into the breadth of research on powdery mildews. This highlighted a particular focus on sequencing of as much DNA as possible and aims to determine the function of each section within it. I presented a summary of my intended research and the aims of the Powdery Mildew Citizen Science Scheme.
- In 2015 I was convinced into presenting my research in a slightly different way: via the Science Slam! This addressed a public audience at South Street Arts Centre and was an extremely rewarding endeavour.
- In the summer of 2015 I attended the second Powdery mildew summer school, once again in Eger, Hungary. This was bigger and better than that of 2014 and with an extra year of experience I was able to contribute my knowledge and experience to proceedings; presenting the paper of leading powdery mildew phylogeneticist Susumu Takamatsu.
- 2016 began with a placement in the Peterborough office of my industrial sponsor the Royal Horticultural Society. I worked as part of their publishing and online teams. Helping to produce their regular publications for RHS members as well as one off Monographs and Handbooks.
- This was followed by a two-day meeting at the Royal Society. ‘Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience‘ was an eye-opening, high-impact meeting taking into account the most significant examples of fungi infecting human behaviours. Examples included human, animal, and crop diseases.
- In the summer of 2016 I attended my first overseas conference: the 2016 International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions XVII Congress at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon. The whole experience, from travelling to and within the USA to interacting with the international diversity of scientists present is one I am unlikely to forget. I presented a summary to date of my research into improving identification techniques coupled with the citizen science survey at the main congress and the satellite Powdery Mildew Symposium.
- The Dynamic Fungus meeting was hosted by the British Mycological Society and the Microbiology Society and took pace in the Autumn of 2016 at the University of Exeter. The meeting allowed me to take in Exeter and it’s University campus and particularly highlighted the importance of fungal diseases Candida, ‘the plant destroyer’ (Phytophtora infestans), and powdery mildew.
- Next came the BSPP Presidential Meeting 2016 at St. Hugh’s College, University of Oxford. I presented my work as part of the PH Gregory award for early career researchers and to school children as part of the Damaging and Deadly outreach.
- The conference was coupled with the Grand Challenges in Plant Pathology Interdisciplinary Study Group. This was a great couple of days in which we interacted with like-minded young researchers and professionals already established within the field from companies such as APHA, FERA, and Syngenta.
- At the end of 2016 I attended the RHS John MacLeod Lecture at which Dr Ross Cameron presented ‘Urban Horticulture – Repairing the Rift?’ and I won the Marsh Christian Trust Horticultural Science Award.
- Finally, next week I will attend the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Here I will present my final PhD poster.
- Powdery Mildew Genomics Workshop, September 2017, Eger, Hungary: presented work on new loci for improved powdery mildew identification.
- Fungal Conservation in a Changing Europe, EMA-ISFC Meeting, October 2017, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia: presented work on the importance of conservation of plant pathogens.
- 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology, 12th – 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland: presented “Rare or ignored? Working with the citizen science community to survey potentially endangered fungi in the UK“.
- State of the World’s Fungi, 13th – 14th of September 2018, Kew: presented poster “The Lost and Found Fungi project” and aided as a local helper, contributing towards the smooth running of the conference.