27 January 2016 Dr Julie Flood, CABI’s Senior Global Director for Commodities, became President of the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) on 1 January 2016. This is a 12-month post that follows on from her role as Vice-President in 2014 and President Elect in 2015. BSPP was founded in 1981 for the advancement of plant pathology the study of organisms that cause diseases in plants. Dr Flood was one of the founding members of the society.
Dr Julie Flood
With growing demands on global food and commodity crop production, it is becoming increasingly important to share plant health information. Each year, the BSPP President holds an event bringing together leading scientists from the UK and overseas to discuss current issues about plant pathology. As part of her new role, Dr Flood will lead the presidential meeting. The theme will be ‘Food security, biosecurity and trade; the role of plant health’, and will be held at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, in September 2016.
Specifically, the meeting will examine the interactions of food security, biosecurity and trade, and the significant role plant pathology and plant pathologists play in these challenges at the start of the 21st century. This theme is linked closely to CABIs work on plant health including Plantwise a network of plant clinics, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers in developing countries can find practical plant health advice.
The meeting will also explore some of Dr Flood’s personal scientific interests such as tropical crop diseases, particularly vascular wilt of coffee and diseases of oil palm and cocoa. The meeting will be linked to a Grand Scientific Challenge at the University of Oxford and BSPP outreach activities with various schools in the Oxford area.
Farmers discuss management of coffee wilt disease
Talking about her vision for 2016, Dr Flood said: Im delighted to hold this prestigious position. This is an opportunity to consider issues of global importance like the role of plant health in food security and helping rural communities to become more involved with trade to improve their livelihoods.
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