Dr Sylvans Ochola
Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
Plants pathogenic oomycetes cause some of the most devastating plant diseases, with species in the genus Phytophthora boasting of some famous destructive species including P. cinnamomi that cause root rots of avocado. Pathogens secrete an arsenal of effectors that they use to dampen the host defense system, and to cause disease. My research is entitled "Establishment of Nicotiana benthamiana pathosystem for functional characterization of Phytophthora cinnamomi effectors and avocado R genes". The research focuses on the identification and functional characterization of candidate P. cinnamomi effectors.
I graduated with a PhD in plant pathology from Nanjing Agricultural University in China in 2019. During my PhD, my research involved regulation of avirulent (avr) gene expression through manipulation/modification of the core promoter. The study used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool to systematically replace the promoter of core effector with other promoters from other Phytophthora sojae effectors. I also have a Master of Science in Crop Protection, and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Egerton University (Kenya).