Autumn Science Lecture 2022: Keeping up with Plant Killers

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's Autumn Science Lectures are back for 2022. This year we have five, free online lectures with expert speakers exploring the world of plant microbe interactions.

Join Prof. Sophien Kamoun for the first lecture that will introduce you to the secret life of the parasites that colonize plants. Ever since Heinrich Anton de Bary called the microbe that causes the potato blight a plant killer, we have learned much about how these microbes cause disease and fight off the plant immune system. Some of these plant pathogens even turn their plant hosts into living puppets or 'zombie' plants. Others are threatening our crops and driving the global food crisis. Plant pathologists like Sophien are hard at work learning more about these parasites and applying new knowledge and technologies to build disease-resistant crops.

Sophien grew up in Tunisia where he developed a passion and curiosity about nature. He studied genetics in Paris and Davis, California, before working in Wageningen, Ohio and Norwich, where he is currently a Senior Scientist at The Sainsbury Laboratory and Professor of Biology at The University of East Anglia. He is known for his seminal contributions to our understanding of plant diseases and plant immunity. Sophien has received many awards and recognitions, notably election as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Kuwait Prize and The Linnean Medal.


The Autumn Science Lecture Series 2022 runs every other Thursday from 6 October to 1 December 2022. 

All lectures will be hosted online and are free to attend.

Upcoming speakers include:

20th October - Professor Phillip Poole, University of Oxford - 'Climate breakdown and agriculture; can we square the circle?'

3rd November - Professor Katie Field, University of Sheffield - talk title TBC

17th November - Dr Jill Kowal, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - 'Understanding mycorrhizal fungi and their functional role to facilitate healthy soils and ecologically sustainable gardens'

1st December - Dr Mark Spencer, forensic botanist - 'It's not all love, peace and harmony; the deadly world of plant/fungal interactions'