BSc in Agricultural Botany (University of Wales, Bangor)
MSc & DIC in Plant Physiology (Imperial College, London)
PhD in Plant Pathology (Imperial College, London)
Founder Member of The British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP)
Current employment : Retired
I became interested in plant pathology during my first degree (1964 - 1967) in Agricultural Botany at the University College of North Wales, Bangor (now Bangor University). The head of department at that time was Professor John Harper. (Also, see 'Memories of John L. Harper'). I continued my education at Imperial College, London, firstly by studying for an MSc in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry and then a PhD in Plant Pathology, supervised by Brian Deverall, investigating the biosynthesis of phytoalexins in Phaseolus vulgaris infected with Colletotrichum lindemuthianum.
I continued with a Post-doctoral Fellowship funded by the Potato Marketing Board to look at the response of potatoes to soft rot Erwinia spp. under the supervision of Barbara Lund at the Food Research Institute, Norwich. In 1975 I obtained a permanent post at the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute, Invergowrie where I studied the biochemical response of potato to Erwinia spp. The Institute name was later changed to the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) where I continued to work until my retirement. In 1980 I took a one year sabbatical to work on resistance elicitors with Professor Peter Albersheim at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. During this sabbatical I showed that pectic enzymes produced by Erwinia spp. were able to release elicitor-active carbohydrates from plant cell walls resulting in the accumulation of phytoalexins. This interest in resistance elicitors continued with collaborative work with Adrian Newton at SCRI to look at the practical exploitation of induced resistance. Together with Adrian and Dale Walters we edited a book on “Induced resistance for plant defence: a sustainable approach to crop protection” published by Blackwell in 2007. A second edition of this book "Induced resistance for plant defense" was published in September 2014.
Radio 4 interview with Gary Lyon discussing induced resistance in plants.
I was an honorary lecturer at Dundee University for a number of years giving lectures and running practicals in plant pathology until my retirement. Towards the end of my research career I was the Postgraduate Student Liaison Officer at SCRI and for 4 years I was the Education Officer for BSPP (from 1 Jan 2006 to 31 December 2009).