Prof. Steve Woodward

Personal chair

Research Focus

Research in Prof Woodward’s laboratory is focused on plant-pathogen interactions, mainly using woody plants as the model hosts. Pathogens include both true fungi and Oomycetes. We are examining [1] genetic variations in susceptibility to pathogens; [2] the distribution and frequency of pathogens, particularly Oomycetes, in the plants for planting trade pathway, [3] elucidating the volatile chemical signals produced by pathogens and infected plants, and [4] utilizing the information gained to devise improved and sensitive methods of detection and for the control of the pathogens.

Scientific Activities

Prof Steve Woodward holds a personal chair in the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, directing a research group working on fungi and Oomycete plant pathogens and saprotrophs. He has worked at the University of Aberdeen since 1989, firstly in the Department of Forestry and subsequently in Biological Sciences. He has coordinated 5 large EU-funded projects, taken part in several other EU programmes and also obtained funding from several UK sources.

Following the confirmation of an outbreak of ash dieback in the UK in late 2012, Prof Woodward was invited as a member of the UK Government’s Task Force on Tree and Plant Health. He has also acted as a Trustee to the Scottish Forestry Trust. He is frequently consulted on tree health issues by the press and has appeared on UK radio and TV numerous times.

Significant Publications

Fossdal, C.G., Nagy, N.E., Hietala, A.M., Kvaalen, H., Slimestad, R., Woodward, S. & Solheim, H. (2012). Indications of heightened constitutive or primed host response affecting the lignin pathway transcripts and phenolics in mature Norway spruce clones. Tree Physiology 32:1137-1147.

Santini, A., Ghelardini, L., De Pace, C., Desprez-Loustau, M-L., Capretti, P., Chandelier, A., Cech, T., Chira, D., Diamandis, S., Gaitniekis, T., Hantula, J., Holdenrieder, O., Jankovsky, L., Jung, T., Jurc, D., Kirisits, T., Kunca, A., Lygis, V., Malecka, M., Marçais, B., Schmitz, S., Schumacher, J., Solheim, H., Solla, A., Szabò, I., Tsopelas, P., Vannini, A., Vettraino, A.M., Webber, J., Woodward, S., & Stenlid, J. (2013). Biogeographic patterns and determinants of invasion by alien forest pathogenic fungi in Europe. New Phytologist 197: 238–250.

Jarvis, S., Woodward, S. & Taylor, A.J.T. (2015). Strong altitudinal partitioning in the distributions of ectomycorrhizal fungi along a short (300 m) elevation gradient. New Phytologist 206:1145-1155.


Contact information

Department of Plant and Soil Science
Cruickshank Building
AB24 3UU