IS-MPMI > COMMUNITY > Interactions > Posts > InterStellar: Giles Oldroyd has been Elected as Fellow of the Royal Society
Jun 16
InterStellar: Giles Oldroyd has been Elected as Fellow of the Royal Society

Giles Oldroyd, the Russell R Geiger professor of crop science and director of the Crop Science Centre and group leader at the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to science in plant-microbe interactions with his election as a fellow of the Royal Society. 

What area(s) of molecular plant–microbe interactions do you feel your research has impacted most?

My research over the last 20 years has focused on beneficial interactions that plants form with microorganisms, in particular those associations leading to intracellular colonization. I started work on the nitrogen-fixing association between legumes and bacteria, but have since diversified, especially the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. Recent work has revealed that the signaling processes we have dissected in legumes, most likely are used in all intracellular symbioses in plants. 

What advice do you have for young scientists aspiring to achieve the level of science that has major impact?

Follow your heart and your passion. You have to love what you are doing. A science career is not always the easy path. One has to deal frequently with rejection, papers or grant applications, and often one needs to work long hours. It is the passion and enthusiasm for one’s subject that sees you through the tough times.  

When you were a post-doc, what had the largest influence on your decision to enter your specific research area in your permanent position? Was this a “hot topic” at the time, or did you choose to go in a different direction?

I started working in nodulation because I thought it a fascinating area: a bacterial signal that can promote plant development. But I also recognized that the skills I had learnt as a PhD student in molecular genetics were invaluable for understanding nodulation. At the time I started my postdoc at Stanford University, the model legumes had just been developed, mutant populations existed, and genetic maps were available. It was a field that my skills could be readily applied. I was lucky to join this field at an exciting time as the process of nodulation, symbiosis signaling in particular, was genetically dissected. It was incredibly exciting to be part of the discovery of this signaling pathway.

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