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Mar 19
InterConnections: Get to Know Freddie King

Border Control: Manipulation of the Host–Pathogen Interface by Perihaustorial Oomycete Effectors

Name: Freddie King

Current Position: Ph.D. Student in the Bozkurt Lab at Imperial College London

Education: M.Res. degree in synthetic and systems biology from Imperial College London; M.Biol. degree in biological sciences from Balliol College, University of Oxford

Non-scientific Interests: Climbing, running, and reading

Brief Bio: My first experience of molecular plant pathology was at Rothamsted Research Station, where I undertook a summer internship in Professor Kim Hammond-Kosack's group. At Rothamsted, I worked on developing genetic resistance against Fusarium head blight, a fungal disease that still poses a significant threat to global cereal production.

At the University of Oxford, I joined Professor Renier van der Hoorn's group for my master's project to improve plant molecular farming. Plant molecular farming uses plants as biofactories to produce valuable pharmaceutical proteins, such as antibodies and enzymes. I investigated using pathogen effectors to suppress the plant immune system and boost plant molecular farming yields.

My current Ph.D. project in Dr. Tolga Bozkurt's lab at Imperial College London combines my interests in synthetic biology and molecular plant pathology. I am working toward engineering plant immune receptors, using synthetic biology approaches and structural modeling, to recognize new pathogen effectors.

In our review published in MPMI, we discuss effectors from oomycete plant pathogens that accumulate near the haustorium, a specialized digit-like pathogen feeding structure.

By summarizing the current literature on perihaustorial effectors, we found that many perihaustorial effectors convergently target host endomembrane trafficking to suppress the plant immune response at this crucial interface.

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