Screening for resistance to kauri dieback: NZBI 2022 Scholarship
Category: National. Posted: 24 January 2023
A wish to discover more about what causes kauri dieback, has earned Otago University student Scott Heslop one of two 2022 NZBI Scholarships made this year.
Scott’s research aims to determine if a protein (GH12) of the agent causing Kauri dieback disease can be used to screen plants for resistance against kauri dieback. He will look for plants that may be capable of detecting this protein’s presence and initiating an immune response to prevent successful kauri dieback infection.
Says Scott: “These effector screening methods have the potential to be used for the identification of kauri that carry resistance towards one of the key effectors involved in the virulence of Phytophthora agathidicida and improve our current understanding of how Phytophthora agathidicida achieves virulence against Agathis australis by characterising some of the pathogen’s key effectors.”
“This award will be a huge help to me over the next year. A big part of my project, and any research really, is built on collaboration with other researchers and iwi across New Zealand, sharing techniques and knowledge for working with the pathogen that causes Kauri dieback disease.
“The money from this award will make travelling to see what other researchers are doing in person, and sharing ideas, far more feasible, while also helping to make the costs of a Master’s sting just a little bit less.”
The purpose of the scholarship is to provide funds to assist with an individual’s research to improve knowledge in the field of biosecurity.
The Selection Committee considered the value of the research to furthering New Zealand’s biosecurity interests and its practical relevance to the aims of the NZ Biosecurity Institute.