Prof. Nicholas J. Talbot FRS

Professor of Molecular Genetics and Deputy Vice Chancellor

Research Focus

Fungal developmental biology, plant-microbe interactions, plant pathology

Scientific Activities

Prof. Talbot his research is focused on the biology of plant diseases. His work utilises a range of cell biology, genetics and genomics approaches and, in particular, investigates the biology of plant infection by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. He is interested in fungal infection-related development and understanding how fungi are able to invade plant tissue and suppress plant immunity. His research on appressorium function has addressed the biology of turgor generation and understanding how appressoria re-polarise and bring about mechanical force generation to penetrate and breach the host cuticle.

Prof. Talbot his group has also demonstrated the importance of autophagic programmed cell death in appressorium function and the role of cell cycle checkpoints in control of appressorium morphogenesis. He has also studied the biology of plant tissue invasion by Magnaporthe oryzae and identified and characterised effectors proteins used by the fungus to enable it to proliferate within plant tissue and to suppress host immunity responses. Finally, we have been involved in a wide range of fungal genomics projects including comparative and evolutionary genomics studies of filamentous fungi.

He is currently an ERC Advanced Investigator and also hold grants from the BBSRC, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Halpin Trust. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) in 2010, a Member of EMBO in 2013, a Member of the Academia Europaea in 2014, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2014.

Significant Publications

Veneault-Fourrey, C., Barooah, M.K., Egan, M.J., Talbot, N.J. (2006) Autophagic fungal cell death is necessary for infection by the rice blast fungus Science 312: 580-583

Dagdas, Y.F., Yoshino, Y., Dagdas, G., Ryder, L.S., Bielska, E., Steinberg, G. & Talbot, N.J. (2012) Septin-mediated plant cell invasion by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae Science 336:1590-95.

Giraldo, M.C.., Dagdas, Y.F., Gupta, Y.K., Mentlak, T.A., Yi, M., Saitoh, H., Terauchi, R., Talbot, N.J. & Valent, B. (2013) Two distinct secretion systems facilitate tissue invasion by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Nature Communications 4:1996


Contact information

Stocker Road
University of Exeter