25 May 2022

Ash dieback - progress in search for tolerant species


Ash dieback - progress in search for tolerant species

Ash tree. File pic.

Teagasc has announced the appointment of Dr Dheeraj Rathore as a new permanent tree improvement researcher in the Teagasc Forestry Development Department.

Dheeraj Rathore is a molecular biologist with a broad interest in conventional and molecular breeding, genetic improvement and bio-stimulants.

His role is to lead the broadleaf tree improvement programme in Teagasc where he will be working as part of the research and advisory team led by Dr Nuala Ní Fhlatharta, Head of the Forestry Development Department.

Before taking up his new research position, Dr Rathore worked as a crop improvement research technologist in the Teagasc Crop Science Department. Dr Rathore has also worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Best4Soil, an EU-wide Horizon 2020funded project.

He has previously worked on Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)-funded research projects including WheatEnhance and CostM in Teagasc.

Dr Rathore graduated from Junagadh Agricultural University, India with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Science and went on to complete an MSc in Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement from the John Innes Centre & University of East Anglia, UK.

In 2017, he was awarded a PhD from University College Dublin funded by Teagasc Walsh Scholarships, where his research focussed on ‘enhancing the utility of Ensifer adhaerens OV14 as a vector for plant transformation’.

Dr Nuala Ní Fhlatharta, Head of the Forestry Development Department welcomed Dheeraj saying; “Dheeraj will build on, and develop, the work that has been done in Teagasc to date on the selection and improvement of a range of broadleaf tree species. We have already identified and are testing an ash collection that is putatively tolerant to ash dieback. We look forward to working with Dheeraj on progressing this work and working on a range of other tree species with a focus on ensuring quality planting material for our future forests and woodlands.”

Speaking following his appointment, Dr Rathore said: “I am delighted to join the Forestry Development Department and passionate to work with the team of researchers, advisors and educators. I’m excited about the future development of Irish forestry and looking forward to working to improve tree genotypes that are productive and resilient to diseases and pests, and adapted for a changing climate.”

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