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Anna Avrova

Staff picture: Anna Avrova
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Molecular Plant Pathologist
anna.avrova@hutton.ac.uk
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Invergowrie
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK

 

Qualifications

  • MSc with Distinction (Biotechnology), St Petersburg, Russia, 1990
  • PhD (Plant Protection from pests and diseases), St Petersburg, Russia, 1994

Current research interests

A major focus of my research is the development of comparative and functional genomics for barley fungal pathogen Rhynchosporium commune (formerly known as R. secalis). It will advance identification and functional characterisation of pathogenicity factors (including effectors) vital for survival of R. commune on the leaf surface, penetration and establishment of a compatible interaction with the host plant barley. Pathogen effectors found to be crucial for the successful infection of barley represent good targets for host plant recognition to protect itself. Some pathogenicity determinants may also represent efficient fungicide targets if they are essential for the core biology of the pathogen during infection.

Scottish Government (RESAS)-funded R. commune genome and interaction transcriptome sequencing resulted in genome  sequences of 7 R. commune strains with different race specificities as well as a set of R. commune transcripts abundant early (3 dpi) during the host infection.

Real time RT-PCR is being used for transcription profiling of R. commune genes in pre-infection stages and in planta. R. commune genes upregulated early during the interaction with barley are selected for functional characterisation using specific knock-outs and complementation or silencing.

Current Contract Research Activities

  • Scottish Government: Animal/Plant Health and Disease and Animal Welfare, Theme 6, workpackage 4: Prevention and control of important endemic and new diseases of plants.
  • Supervision of The James Hutton Institute/University of Aberdeen PhD studentship: The role of Rhynchosporium secalis cell wall proteins in cell wall integrity and pathogenicity.

Past research

  • April 2011-present: PI, Cell and Molecular Sciences, The James Hutton Institute- barley molecular pathologist.
  • October 2008-April 2011: PI, Plant Pathology Programme, SCRI- barley molecular pathologist.
  • 2004-2008:  Senior Post Doc, Plant Pathology Programme, SCRI - functional characterisation of appressoria and infection stage-specific proteins from Phytophtora infestans using dsRNA induced transient gene silencing.
  • 2001-2004: Post Doc, Plant-Pathogen Interactions, SCRI - molecular bases of P. infestans pathogenicity and host resistance.
  • 1998-2000: Post Doc, Fungal and Bacterial Plant Pathology Department, SCRI - bacterial pathogen of potato Pectobacterium atrosepticum and resistance to P. atrosepticum and  P. infestans in potato.
  • 1997-1998 - NATO Royal Society post-doctoral fellow, Fungal and Bacterial Plant Pathology Department, SCRI - Mechanisms of Solanum spp. resistance to P. atrosepticum and P. infestans.
  • 1996-1997:  Royal Society postdoctoral fellow, Department of Crop and Disease Management, IACR Rothamsted - tomato interaction with the symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mosseae and the pathogenic oomycete Phytophthora nocotianae var. parasitica.
  • 1994-1998: Scientific Officer, Department of Phytotoxicology, All Russia Institute of Plant Protection - biochemical characterisation of tomato - Alternaria solani interaction and in vitro selection of tomato plants for resistance to early blight.

Bibliography

  • Birch, P.R.J.; Avrova, A.O., (2009) Gene expression profiling., In: Lamour, K.H. & Kamoun, S. (eds.). Oomycete Genetics and Genomics: Diversity, Interactions and Research Tools. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, 477-492.
  • Whisson, S.C.; Grenville-Briggs, L.J.; van West, P.; Avrova, A.O., (2009) Mechanism and application of gene silencing in oomycetes., In: Lamour, K.H. & Kamoun, S. (eds.). Oomycete Genetics and Genomics: Diversity, Interactions and Research Tools. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, Chapter 25, 493-515.
  • Birch, P.R.J.; Avrova, A.O.; Dellagi, A.; Lacomme, C.; Santa Cruz, S.; Lyon, G.D., (2000) To die and let live: programmed cell death in plants in response to pathogen attack., In: Molecular Plant Pathology (eds. M. Dickinson and J. Beynon). Annual Plant Reviews, Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield, Volume 4, pp175-197.

  • Newton, A.C.; Avrova, A.O.; Thirugnanasambandam, A.; Looseley, M., (2011) Asymptomatic infection - the Trojan horse of crop production., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2010, pp14-15.
  • Avrova, A.O.; Birch, P.R.J.; Hein, I.; Jones, J.T.; Pritchard, L., (2010) Functional analysis of pathogen effectors: how to go from genomics to durable resistance., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2009, 39-41.
  • Whisson, S.C.; Boevink, P.; Pritchard, L.; Avrova, A.O.; Morales, J.; Birch, P.R.J., (2006) Effector protein translocation in the Phytophthora infestans - potato infection., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2006, pp24-25.
  • Toth, I.K.; Pritchard, L.; Holeva, M.C.; Hyman, L.J.; Bell, K.S.; Whisson, S.C.; Avrova, A.O.; Birch, P.R.J., (2004) New discoveries with Erwinia genomics., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2002/2003, p101.
  • Whisson, S.C.; Avrova, A.O.; Birch, P.R.J.; Adam, M.; Blok, V.C.; Jones, J.T., (2004) Functional genomic tools for the major eukaryotic pathogens of potato., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2003/2004, pp127-128.
  • Whisson, S.C.; Avrova, A.O.; Armstrong, M.R.; Jones, J.T.; Venter, E.; Birch, P.R.J., (2004) Targeting late blight with gene discovery., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2002/2003, pp102-103.
  • Toth, I.K.; Bell, K.S.; Holeva, M.C.; Bryan, G.J.; Avrova, A.O.; Hyman, L.; Birch, P.R.J., (2002) Erwinia genomics: A new era in the battle against potato disease., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2001/2002, pp25-28.
  • Whisson, S.C.; Avrova, A.O.; Armstrong, M.R.; Campbell, E.; Birch, P.R.J., (2002) Late blight of potato: Pathogen genomics approaches to a continuing problem., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2001/2002, pp29-32.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.