Professor Julie Scholes

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Emeritus Professor

 Julie Scholes
j.scholes@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 4780

Full contact details

Professor Julie Scholes
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TN
Profile

Career

  • Emeritus Professor of Plant and Microbial Sciences, University of Sheffield (2020 – present).
  • Professor of Plant and Microbial Sciences, University of Sheffield (2003 – 2020).
  • Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (1995 – 2003).
  • Royal Society University Research Fellow, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (1987 – 1995).
  • Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellow, Department of Botany, University of Sheffield (1986 – 1987).
  • BSC (1982) PhD (1986) University of Wales.
Research interests

My research group focuses on understanding the physiological and molecular interactions between plants and their symbionts, particularly the root parasitic weeds of the Orobanchaceae family. A specific focus of our research is the parasitic witchweed Striga. Striga hermonthica and S. asiatica infect the staple cereal crops of sub-Saharan Africa including maize, sorghum, millet and upland rice, causing devastating losses in yield.

Our work spans from the molecular to the applied and encompasses laboratory studies and field trials, the latter in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. We exploit physiological, genomic, comparative genomic, quantitative genetic and molecular approaches to identify genes underlying resistance in cereals to different genetic ecotypes of Striga species and to identify virulence/effector genes in the parasite.

We have recently finished sequencing the S. hermonthica genome. The ultimate aim of this work is to understand the molecular basis of host-parasite specificity, which is essential for delaying the evolution of virulence in the parasite and to enable predictive breeding of durable defence.

Field trial of Striga-resistance
Field trial of Striga-resistance in rice varieties at Mbita Point, Kenya

Striga plant with pink flowers
Striga hermonthica

Publications

Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles

Chapters

Conference proceedings papers

  • Pierce S, Ley G, Mbwaga AM, Lamboll RI, Riches CR, Press MC & Scholes JD (2003) Farmers, farms and physiology: an integrated approach to Striga research. BCPC INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS CROP SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2003, VOL 1 AND 2, CONGRESS PROCEEDINGS (pp 1017-1022) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Press MC, Scholes JD & Riches CR (2001) Current status and future prospects for management of parasitic weeds (Striga and Orobanche). WORLD'S WORST WEEDS, PROCEEDINGS(77) (pp 71-88) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Press MC, Scholes JD & Watling JR (1999) Parasitic plants: physiological and ecological interactions with their hosts. PHYSIOLOGICAL PLANT ECOLOGY (pp 175-197) RIS download Bibtex download
  • WIGGINS TE, JAGER BJ & SCHOLES JD (1994) EFFECT OF A METHOXYACRYLATE INHIBITOR ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS. BIOCHEMICAL SOCIETY TRANSACTIONS, Vol. 22(1) (pp S69-S69) RIS download Bibtex download
  • SCHOLES JD (1992) PHOTOSYNTHESIS - CELLULAR AND TISSUE ASPECTS IN DISEASED LEAVES. PESTS AND PATHOGENS (pp 85-106) RIS download Bibtex download
  • WRIGHT DP, SCHOLES JD, HORTON P, BALDWIN BC & SHEPHARD MC (1990) THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE DEVELOPMENT OF HAUSTORIA OF ERYSIPHE-GRAMINIS AND THE ENERGY STATUS OF LEAVES. CURRENT RESEARCH IN PHOTOSYNTHESIS, VOLS 1-4 (pp D223-D226) RIS download Bibtex download
Research group
  • Nat Phon-Or - Mapping resistance QTL underlying Striga resistance in rice. Malaysian Government PhD Scholarship (2017–2020).
  • David Rapley - Understanding resistance in rice to the parasitic weed Striga hermonthica in sub-Saharan Africa. Grantham PhD Scholarship (2017 – 2021).
  • Rachel Greenhill - Identification and functional validation of effector genes in the parasitic weed Striga. BBSRC-DTP PhD (2018 – 2022).
  • Dr Mamadou Cissoko GCRF Fellow (2019 – 2021).
Grants

GCRF-BBSRC Foundation Award (2017 – 2019) Facilitating smart crop breeding through understanding the genetics of resistance and virulence in the Striga-rice interaction. Lead PI: Julie Scholes; Co-PIs: Mathias Lorieux (IRD Montpellier/CIAT Colombia); Roger Butlin.

CIMMYT maize CRP programme (2017 – 2019) Characterising resistance mechanisms in maize for targeted breeding of durable defence against Striga hermonthica ($300k). Lead PI: Julie Scholes; Co-PI Abebe Menkir (IITA, Nigeria).

HEFCE-ODA Quality Research allocation (2017-18) Understanding the genetics of resistance in maize for breeding durable defence to both to the insect pest Fall Armyworm and the parasitic witchweed S. hermonthica. Lead PI: Julie Scholes; Co-PIs: Jurriaan Ton, Abebe Menkir (IITA, Nigeria); Georg Goergen (IITA, Benin).

BBSRC SCPRID initiative (2013-2017) Genomic approaches to understanding resistance and virulence in the cereal Striga interaction for targeted breeding of durable defence (£1.3M). Lead PI: Julie Scholes; Co-PIs: Roger Butlin (Sheffield); Jonne Rodenburg (Africa Rice Centre); Steven Runo (Kenyatta University, Kenya); Mathias Lorieux (CIAT, Columbia/ IRD France); Jenipher Bisikwa (Makerere University, Uganda).

Leverhulme Trust (2014-2017) Exploiting Next Generation Sequencing to find virulence genes in Striga, a major parasite of African crops (£249k). Lead PI: Julie Scholes; Co-PIs: Roger Butlin (Sheffield).

Professional activities
  • President of the International Parasitic Plant Society (2016 – 2020).
  • Vice President of the International Parasitic Plant Society (2012 – 2016).
  • Panel member, UKRI GCRF Grant Assessment Panel (2016 - 2020).
  • Panel member, Royal Society International Capacity Building Advisory Network (2012 – present).
  • Panel member, Royal Society Environmental Advisory Network (EAN) (2000 –present).
  • Panel member, Leverhulme-Royal Society Africa Award Grant Panel (2009- 2018).
  • Panel member, DfID-Royal Society Pan Africa Capacity Building Initiative Panel (2012-2016).
  • Panel member, BBSRC pool of grant panel members (Committee B) (2012-2016).
  • Panel member, the BBSRC-DfID-GATES Grant panel for Sustainable Crop Production Research for
  • International Development (SCPRID) (2011-2012).
  • Panel member, BBSRC-DfID Grant Panel for the Sustainable Agriculture Research for International Development (SARID) initiative (2006 -2007).
  • External examiner at the University of Exeter (2010 -2014) and University of Leeds (2002 – 2006).