Dr Helen Eyles (nee Fones )
Research Fellow


I'm a plant pathologist currently working on:
- Infection biology of Zymoseptoria tritici (Septoria Tritici Blotch of wheat), Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (ash dieback) and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense ('Panama' disease of banana).
- Anti-fungals vs phytopathogens

My main research interests are:
- Fungal and bacterial plant pathogens
- Plant defence signaling, stress signaling and crosstalk
- Climate change and food security
- Crop protection
- Metal hyperaccumulating plants


2006-2011: University of Oxford, UK.

DPhil. - ‘The Ecological and Evolutionary Significance of Disease Resistance in Metal Hyperaccumulating Plants.’  Supervised by Dr Gail M. Preston and Prof J. Andrew C. Smith, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, UK.

2005-2006: University of Birmingham, UK.

MSc (Distinction) ‘Conservation and Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources’

2002-2005: St. Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, UK.

BA Biological Sciences (First Class Honours).


2016- present: University of Exeter, UK. Research Fellow with Prof Sarah Gurr.

2013- 2016: Postdoctoral Research Assistant with Prof Sarah Gurr.  In these roles I am / have been involved in a number of projects including work on the lifecycle of the ash dieback pathogen, Chalara fraxinea and the Panama disease pathogen Fusarium oxysporum, as well as plant defence response to these fungi; the testing of novel antifungals; studying the effect of abiotic and biotic stresses on the susceptibility of wheat to fungal diseases, and investigation of the infection strategies of and natural variation in the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici.

2011-2013: Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany.

2012-2013: Postdoctoral Researcher, AG Romeis; continuation of previous project

2011-2012: POINT Fellow, Dahlem Centre of Plant Science; AG Romeis.  '“Nutritional Stress” and the Priming of Plant Defence’: in this project I investigated the possibility that “nutritional stress” by deficiency or excess zinc or nitrogen may alter defence signalling through cross-talk via shared signalling components such as ROS, protein kinases or plant hormones.

Contact details

AddressGeoffrey Pope Building
University of Exeter
Stocker Road

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