University of Dundee

Young Plant Scientist accolade for Dundee-based researcher

19 Dec 2017

A PhD student at the University of Dundee and James Hutton Institute has been selected as Young Plant Scientist 2018 in the fundamental research category by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).

Shumei Wang, based at the Institute’s Cell and Molecular Sciences group, has discovered a new pathway involved in infection by Phytophthora infestans, the pathogen responsible for potato late blight. Her work significantly improves the understanding of plant-pathogen interactions and may open new possibilities in the development of defence strategies.

She will be presented with her award at the Plant Biology Europe 2018 conference, which will take place from the 18th to the 21st June in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Shumei said: “I am very honoured to receive this accolade from EPSO. This award inspires me to continue to perform my very best in plant science research. Ultimately, I want my research to reach and improve the food that people eat. EPSO's recognition of my efforts strengthens my self-confidence and belief to be a strong plant scientist in the future."

Professor Paul Birch, Shumei’s academic supervisor, added: “I am very proud that EPSO has recognised Shumei's ground-breaking research. I hope that it will encourage her to reach her potential in an excellent scientific career in future.”

Professor John Jones, leader of the Institute’s Cell and Molecular Sciences group, commented: “I am delighted that Shumei’s fantastic work has been recognised in this way. This award is a further demonstration of the value of the partnership between the James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee”.

The EPSO Young Plant Scientist award jury panel evaluates novel ideas or approaches to plant science, as well as the potential of the research to improve understanding or outcomes in the selected field of plant science; and the clarity with which the problem or research topic is conveyed to a non-specialist plant scientist.

EPSO is an independent academic organisation that represents more than 200 research institutes, departments and universities from 28 European countries, Australia and New Zealand, and 3,300 individuals representing over 27,000 people working in plant science.

The James Hutton Institute’s Cell and Molecular Sciences group comprises more than 100 plant scientists with research specialisms in cell and molecular biology, genomics, genetics, pathology and physiology.

It has a major research focus on the genetic improvement of cereals, potatoes and soft fruit crops concerning yield and quality, resource use efficiency and pest and disease resistance.

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