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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Professor Sarah Gurr

Professor Sarah Gurr

Chair in Food Security


 Geoffrey Pope 218


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


Sarah Gurr holds the Chair in Food Security at Exeter University. She studied at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (BSc, ARCS, DIC and PhD (Plant Pathology)), where she was awarded The Huxley Medal for her outstanding record of achievement.  She was a post-doctoral Fellow at St Andrews University and thence an independent Royal Society University Research Fellow. She was appointed, as Lecturer, then promoted to Reader and Professor at Oxford University (and Fellow of Somerville College), where she also held a Leverhulme Trust Royal Society Senior Research and a NESTA (Science, Technology and the Arts) Fellowship. She was a curator of the Oxford Botanic Garden for 21 years. Sarah was Head of School (Biosciences, Exeter - 2015 - 2017).  She was formerly President of The British Society of Plant Pathology (2011), a member of the Board of Directors of Rothamsted Research Institute (7 years) and sat on Council of the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council_ UK (2012 - 2018). She was recently appointed to The International Advisory Board at SLU University, Uppsala (2019 -) and as Advisor to The Scottish Government on Plant Health (RESAS, 2018 -), elected to Board of Trustees of The Rank Foundation (2019 -) and as a member of Plant Heath Scotland (James Hutton Institute). Sarah held the Donder's Chair (Honorary) at Utrecht University (2016 - 2017), was appointed as Visiting Prof at Utrecht (2018 - 2022) and was awarded the President’s prize by the British Mycological Society in 2018. She became a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) in 2019, Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology (2020), is Senior Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford and Fellow of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The James Hutton Institute, Dundee, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by SLU Uppsala (2020).

Her interest is in plant disease - with particular emphasis on fungal infestations and in their global movement and control. Sarah has been invited to speak about this work all over the world - in plenary and keynote conference lectures, and on national and international radio.  She works closely with Prof Gero Steinberg, Dr Dan Bebber and Dr Helen Fones (Exeter). She has authored or co-authored over 180 publications, including 13 high profile papers in Science (2), Nature (2) and Nature Journals (9) and a contribution to the Government Foresight report on “Biological Hazards”. She holds 6 patents as inventor or co-inventor. In 2019, she was listed amongst the most highly cited researchers worldwide (Clarivate Analytics). Her passion for plants and for raising public awareness of the plight of plants to disease has led her to speak at schools, U3A, “Science of Gardening” lectures, charity fund-raising events, to write general “plant” articles (RHS magazine and Country Life) and design (with Timothy Walker and Dr Josephine Peach) 3 gold medal winning displays at the Chelsea Flower Show, on the science underpinning some aspects of plant biology, representing the Oxford Botanic Garden.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Crop disease
  • Fungal biology
  • Pest and Pathogen movement
  • Fungal Biotechnology


BSc, ARCS, DIC, PhD, MA (Oxon)

Research group links

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Research interests

  • Rice blast disease: the fungal wall as a target for disease control (BBSRC funded, with Industry)
  • Antifungal chemistries (funded by PuriCore)
  • Ash die-back disease (funded by BBSRC)

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Journal articles

Gurr SJ, McPherson MJ, Atkinson HJ (In Press). Identification of plant genes expressed at the feeding site of the potato cyst nematode. Journal Cell Biochemistry, 56, 121-131.
Gurr SJ, Field D, Garrity G, Selengut J, Sterk P, Tatusova T, Thomson N, Ashburner M, Boore JL, Cochrane G, et al (In Press). Towards richer descriptions of our collection of genomes and metagenomes. Nature Biotechnology, 16, LBNL-60477.
Fones HN, Soanes D, Gurr SJ (2023). Epiphytic proliferation of Zymoseptoria tritici isolates on resistant wheat leaves. Fungal Genet Biol, 168 Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr S (2023). New honorary member of the BSPP. Plant Pathology, 72(6), 987-987.
Johns LE, Bebber DP, Gurr SJ, Brown NA (2022). Emerging health threat and cost of Fusarium mycotoxins in European wheat. Nature Food, 3(12), 1014-1019. Abstract.
Cannon S, Kay W, Kilaru S, Schuster M, Gurr SJ, Steinberg G (2022). Multi-site fungicides suppress banana Panama disease, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4. PLOS Pathogens, 18(10), e1010860-e1010860. Abstract.
Fisher MC, Alastruey-Izquierdo A, Berman J, Bicanic T, Bignell EM, Bowyer P, Bromley M, Brüggemann R, Garber G, Cornely OA, et al (2022). Tackling the emerging threat of antifungal resistance to human health. Nat Rev Microbiol, 20(9), 557-571. Abstract.  Author URL.
Case NT, Berman J, Blehert DS, Cramer RA, Cuomo C, Currie CR, Ene IV, Fisher MC, Fritz-Laylin LK, Gerstein AC, et al (2022). The future of fungi: threats and opportunities. G3 (Bethesda), 12(11). Abstract.  Author URL.
Kilaru S, Fantozzi E, Cannon S, Schuster M, Chaloner TM, Guiu-Aragones C, Gurr SJ, Steinberg G (2022). Zymoseptoria tritici white-collar complex integrates light, temperature and plant cues to initiate dimorphism and pathogenesis. Nature Communications, 13(1). Abstract.
Fantozzi E, Kilaru S, Gurr SJ, Steinberg G (2021). Asynchronous development of Zymoseptoria tritici infection in wheat. Fungal Genet Biol, 146 Abstract.  Author URL.
Fantozzi E, Kilaru S, Cannon S, Schuster M, Gurr SJ, Steinberg G (2021). Conditional promoters to investigate gene function during wheat infection by Zymoseptoria tritici. Fungal Genet Biol, 146 Abstract.  Author URL.
Chaloner TM, Gurr SJ, Bebber DP (2021). Plant pathogen infection risk tracks global crop yields under climate change. NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, 11(8), 710-+.  Author URL.
Steinberg G, Schuster M, Gurr SJ, Schrader TA, Schrader M, Wood M, Early A, Kilaru S (2020). A lipophilic cation protects crops against fungal pathogens by multiple modes of action. Nat Commun, 11(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Fones HN, Bebber DP, Chaloner TM, Kay WT, Steinberg G, Gurr SJ (2020). Author Correction: Threats to global food security from emerging fungal and oomycete crop pathogens. Nature Food, 1(7), 455-456.
Steinberg G, Gurr SJ (2020). Fungi, fungicide discovery and global food security. Fungal Genet Biol, 144 Abstract.  Author URL.
Chaloner TM, Gurr SJ, Bebber DP (2020). Geometry and evolution of the ecological niche in plant-associated microbes. Nature communications, 11(1). Abstract.
Fisher MC, Gurr SJ, Cuomo CA, Blehert DS, Jin H, Stukenbrock EH, Stajich JE, Kahmann R, Boone C, Denning DW, et al (2020). Threats Posed by the Fungal Kingdom to Humans, Wildlife, and Agriculture. mBio, 11(3). Abstract.  Author URL.
Fones HN, Bebber DP, Chaloner TM, Kay WT, Steinberg G, Gurr SJ (2020). Threats to global food security from emerging fungal and oomycete crop pathogens. Nature Food, 1(6), 332-342.
Chaloner TM, Fones HN, Varma V, Bebber DP, Gurr SJ (2019). A new mechanistic model of weather-dependent Septoria tritici blotch disease risk. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 374(1775). Abstract.  Author URL.
Bebber D, Gurr S (2019). Biotic interactions and climate in species distribution modelling. Abstract.
Bebber DP, Field E, Gui H, Mortimer P, Holmes T, Gurr SJ (2019). Many unreported crop pests and pathogens are probably already present. Glob Chang Biol, 25(8), 2703-2713. Abstract.  Author URL.
Kay WT, Fones HN, Gurr SJ (2019). Rapid loss of virulence during submergence of Z. tritici asexual spores. Fungal Genet Biol, 128, 14-19. Abstract.  Author URL.
Fisher MC, Hawkins NJ, Sanglard D, Gurr SJ (2018). Worldwide emergence of resistance to antifungal drugs challenges human health and food security. Science, 360(6390), 739-742. Abstract.
Fones HN, Eyles CJ, Kay W, Cowper J, Gurr SJ (2017). A role for random, humidity-dependent epiphytic growth prior to invasion of wheat by Zymoseptoria tritici. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 106, 51-60.
Fones HN, Fisher MC, Gurr SJ (2017). Emerging Fungal Threats to Plants and Animals Challenge Agriculture and Ecosystem Resilience. Microbiology spectrum, 5(2). Abstract.
Geoghegan IA, Gurr SJ (2017). Investigating chitin deacetylation and chitosan hydrolysis during vegetative growth in <i>Magnaporthe oryzae</i>. Cellular Microbiology, 19(9), e12743-e12743.
Fones HN, Gurr SJ (2017). NoXious gases and the unpredictability of emerging plant pathogens under climate change. BMC Biology, 15 Abstract.
Geoghegan I, steinberg, gurr (2017). The Role of the Fungal Cell Wall in the Infection of Plants. Trends in Microbiology
Gurr SJ, Fones HN, Mardon C (2016). A role for the asexual spores in infection of Fraxinus excelsior by the ash-dieback fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. Scientific Reports, 6 Abstract.
Lin C, Schuster M, Guimaraes SC, Ashwin P, Schrader M, Metz J, Hacker C, Gurr SJ, Steinberg G (2016). Active diffusion and microtubule-based transport oppose myosin forces to position organelles in cells. Nat Commun, 7 Abstract.  Author URL.
Geoghegan IA, Gurr SJ (2016). Chitosan Mediates Germling Adhesion in Magnaporthe oryzae and is Required for Surface Sensing and Germling Morphogenesis. PLOS Pathogens, 12(6), e1005703-e1005703.
Schuster M, Martin-Urdiroz M, Higuchi Y, Hacker C, Kilaru S, Gurr SJ, Steinberg G (2016). Co-Delivery of Cell-Wall-Forming enzymes in the same vesicle for coordinated fungal cell wall formation. Nature Microbiology, 1 Abstract.
Le Cocq K, Gurr SJ, Hirsch PR, Mauchline TH (2016). Exploitation of endophytes for sustainable agricultural intensification. Molecular Plant Pathology, 18(3), 469-473. Abstract.
Bebber DP, Castillo ÁD, Gurr SJ (2016). Modelling coffee leaf rust risk in Colombia with climate reanalysis data. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1709). Abstract.
Fisher MC, Gow NAR, Gurr SJ (2016). Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1709), 20160332-20160332. Abstract.
Orr RJ, Murray PJ, Eyles CJ, Blackwell MSA, Cardenas LM, Collins AL, Dungait JAJ, Goulding KWT, Griffith BA, Gurr SJ, et al (2016). The North Wyke Farm Platform: effect of temperate grassland farming systems on soil moisture contents, runoff and associated water quality dynamics. European Journal of Soil Science, 67(4), 374-385. Abstract.
Samalova M, Mï lida H, Vilaplana F, Bulone V, Soanes DM, Talbot NJ, Gurr SJ (2016). The β-1,3-glucanosyltransferases (Gels) affect the structure of the rice blast fungal cell wall during appressorium-mediated plant infection. Cellular Microbiology, 19(3). Abstract.
Che Omar S, Bentley MA, Morieri G, Preston GM, Gurr SJ (2016). Validation of Reference Genes for Robust qRT-PCR Gene Expression Analysis in the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. PLOS ONE, 11(8), e0160637-e0160637.
Kilaru S, Schuster M, Latz M, Das Gupta S, Steinberg N, Fones H, Gurr SJ, Talbot NJ, Steinberg G (2015). A gene locus for targeted ectopic gene integration in Zymoseptoria tritici. Fungal Genet Biol, 79, 118-124. Abstract.  Author URL.
Bebber DP, Gurr SJ (2015). Crop-destroying fungal and oomycete pathogens challenge food security. Fungal Genet Biol, 74, 62-64. Abstract.  Author URL.
Fones HN, Steinberg G, Gurr SJ (2015). Measurement of virulence in Zymoseptoria tritici through low inoculum-density assays. Fungal Genet Biol, 79, 89-93. Abstract.  Author URL.
Fones H, Gurr S (2015). The impact of Septoria tritici Blotch disease on wheat: an EU perspective. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 79, 3-7.
Falloon P, Bebber DP, Bryant J, Challinor A, Dessai S, Gurr S (2015). Using climate information to support crop breeding decisions and adaptation in agriculture. World Agriculture, 5(1), 25-42. Abstract.
Grant-Downton DP, Terhem RB, Kapralov MV, Mehdi S, Rodriguez-Enriquez MJ, Gurr SJ, van Kan JAL, Frances M, Dewey FM (2014). A novel Botrytis species is associated with a newly emergent foliar disease in cultivated Hemerocallis. PLoS One, 9, e89272-e89272.
Bebber DP, Holmes T, Smith D, Gurr SJ (2014). Economic and physical determinants of the global distributions of crop pests and pathogens. NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 202(3), 901-910.  Author URL.
Taylor C, Gurr S (2014). Fungal pathogenesis: Past, present and future. Fungal Biology Reviews, 28(1), 24-28.
Bagchi R, Gallery RE, Gripenberg S, Gurr SJ, Narayan N, Addis CE, Freckleton RP, Lewis OT (2014). Pathogens and insect herbivores drive rainforest plant diversity and composition. Nature
Bebber DP, Holmes T, Gurr SJ (2014). The global distribution of crop pests and pathogens. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23(12), 1398-1407. Abstract.
Bebber DP, Ramotowski MAT, Gurr SJ (2013). Crop pests and pathogens move poleward in a warming world. Nature Climate Change, 3, 985-988. Abstract.
Gurr SJ, Steel C, Dewey FM (2013). Lateral-flow devices to rapidly detect levels of stable Botrytis antigens in table and dessert wines. Am Journal of Oenology and Viticulture, 64, 291-295.
Samalova M, Johnson J, Illes M, Kelly S, Fricker M, Gurr SJ (2013). Nitric Oxide generated by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae drives plant infection. New Phytologist(197), 202-207.
Samalova M, Meyer A, Gurr SJ, Fricker MD (2013). Robust anti-oxidant defences in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae confer tolerance to the host oxidative burst. New Phytologist, 201(2), 556-573.
Martinez DA, Oliver BG, Gräser Y, Goldberg JM, Li W, Martinez-Rossi NM, Monod M, Shelest E, Barton RC, Birch E, et al (2012). Comparative genome analysis of Trichophyton rubrum and related dermatophytes reveals candidate genes involved in infection. mBio, 3(5), e00259-e00212. Abstract.  Author URL.
Fisher MC, Henk DA, Briggs CJ, Brownstein JS, Madoff LC, McCraw SL, Gurr SJ (2012). Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health. Nature, 484(7393), 186-194. Abstract.  Author URL.
Samalova M, Johnson J, Illes M, Kelly S, Fricker M, Gurr S (2012). Nitric oxide generated by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae drives plant infection. New Phytologist, 197(1), 207-222.
Gurr S, Samalova M, Fisher M (2011). The rise and rise of emerging infectious fungi challenges food security and ecosystem health. Fungal Biology Reviews, 25(4), 181-188.
Rodgers CJ, Blanford CF, Giddens SR, Skamnioti P, Armstrong FA, Gurr SJ (2010). Designer laccases: a vogue for high-potential fungal enzymes?. Trends Biotechnol, 28(2), 63-72. Abstract.  Author URL.
Spanu PD, Abbott JC, Amselem J, Burgis TA, Soanes DM, Stüber K, Ver Loren van Themaat E, Brown JKM, Butcher SA, Gurr SJ, et al (2010). Genome expansion and gene loss in powdery mildew fungi reveal tradeoffs in extreme parasitism. Science, 330(6010), 1543-1546. Abstract.  Author URL.
Skamnioti P, Gurr SJ (2009). Against the grain: safeguarding rice from rice blast disease. Trends Biotechnol, 27(3), 141-150. Abstract.  Author URL.
Petkov V, Ren Y, Saratovsky I, Pastén P, Gurr SJ, Hayward MA, Poeppelmeier KR, Gaillard J-F (2009). Atomic-scale structure of biogenic materials by total X-ray diffraction: a study of bacterial and fungal MnOx. ACS Nano, 3(2), 441-445. Abstract.  Author URL.
Saratovsky I, Gurr SJ, Hayward MA (2009). The Structure of manganese oxide formed by the fungus Acremonium sp. strain KR21-2. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73(11), 3291-3300. Abstract.
Skamnioti P, Gurr SJ (2008). Cutinase and hydrophobin interplay: a herald for pathogenesis?. Plant Signal Behav, 3(4), 248-250. Abstract.  Author URL.
Skamnioti P, Furlong RF, Gurr SJ (2008). Evolutionary history of the ancient cutinase family in five filamentous Ascomycetes reveals differential gene duplications and losses and in Magnaporthe grisea shows evidence of sub- and neo-functionalization. New Phytol, 180(3), 711-721. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lee S, Gustafson G, Skamnioti P, Baloch R, Gurr S (2008). Host perception and signal transduction studies in wild-type <i>Blumeria graminis</i> f. sp <i>hordei</i> and a quinoxyfen-resistant mutant implicate quinoxyfen in the inhibition of serine esterase activity. PEST MANAGEMENT SCIENCE, 64(5), 544-555.  Author URL.
Danac R, Ball L, Gurr SJ, Fairbanks AJ (2008). Synthesis of UDP-glucose derivatives modified at the 3-OH as potential chain terminators of beta-glucan biosynthesis. Carbohydr Res, 343(6), 1012-1022. Abstract.  Author URL.
Skamnioti P, Furlong RF, Gurr SJ (2008). The fate of gene duplicates in the genomes of fungal pathogens. Commun Integr Biol, 1(2), 196-198. Abstract.  Author URL.
Skamnioti P, Henderson C, Zhang Z, Robinson Z, Gurr SJ (2007). A novel role for catalase B in the maintenance of fungal cell-wall integrity during host invasion in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea. Mol Plant Microbe Interact, 20(5), 568-580. Abstract.  Author URL.
Danac R, Ball L, Gurr SJ, Muller T, Fairbanks AJ (2007). Carbohydrate chain terminators: rational design of novel carbohydrate-based antifungal agents. Chembiochem, 8(11), 1241-1245.  Author URL.
Lees K, Roberts S, Skamnioti P, Gurr S (2007). Gene Microarray Analysis Using Angular Distribution Decomposition. Journal of Computational Biology, 14(1), 68-83.
Skamnioti P, Gurr SJ (2007). Magnaporthe grisea cutinase2 mediates appressorium differentiation and host penetration and is required for full virulence. Plant Cell, 19(8), 2674-2689. Abstract.  Author URL.
Muller T, Danac R, Ball L, Gurr SJ, Fairbanks AJ (2007). Synthesis of UDP-GlcNAc derivatives modified at OH-4 as potential chain-terminators of chitin biosynthesis. Tetrahedron Asymmetry, 18(11), 1299-1307. Abstract.
Zelinger E, Hawes CR, Gurr SJ, Dewey FM (2006). Attachment and adhesion of conidia of Stagonospora nodorum to natural and artificial surfaces. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 68(4-6), 209-215. Abstract.
Gurr SJ, Rushton PJ (2005). Engineering plants with increased disease resistance: how are we going to express it?. Trends Biotechnol, 23(6), 283-290. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr SJ, Rushton PJ (2005). Engineering plants with increased disease resistance: what are we going to express?. Trends Biotechnol, 23(6), 275-282. Abstract.  Author URL.
Zhang Z, Henderson C, Perfect E, Carver TLW, Thomas BJ, Skamnioti P, Gurr SJ (2005). Of genes and genomes, needles and haystacks: Blumeria graminis and functionality. Mol Plant Pathol, 6(5), 561-575. Abstract.  Author URL.
Zelinger E, Hawes CR, Gurr SJ, Dewey FM (2004). An immunocytochemical and ultra-structural study of the extracellular matrix produced by germinating spores of Stagonospora nodorum on natural and artificial surfaces. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 65(3), 123-135. Abstract.
Zhang Z, Henderson C, Gurr SJ (2004). Blumeria graminis secretes an extracellular catalase during infection of barley: potential role in suppression of host defence. Mol Plant Pathol, 5(6), 537-547. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr SJ, Fujita K, Suzuki T, Kunoh H, Carver TLW, Thomas B (2004). Induced inaccessibility in barley cells exposed to extracellular material released by non-pathogenic powdery mildew conidia. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 64, 169-178. Abstract.
Henderson C, Lee S, Gurr SJ (2004). Pathogens: the plight of plants. Genome Biol, 5(3). Abstract.  Author URL.
Vincent KA, Kadodia SM, Armstrong FA, Gurr SJ (2003). Electrochemical insights into inhibition of multi-copper oxidases. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 96(1), 244-244.
Gurr SJ, Mukherjee SN, Sykacek P, Roberts SJ (2003). Gene ranking by bootstrapped P-values. SIGKDD explorations : newsletter of the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining, 52, 14-20.
Wheeler IE, Hollomon DW, Gustafson G, Mitchell JC, Longhurst C, Zhang Z, Gurr SJ (2003). Quinoxyfen perturbs signal transduction in barley powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei). Mol Plant Pathol, 4(3), 177-186. Abstract.  Author URL.
Zhang Z, Gurr SJ (2002). A "step down" PCR-based technique for walking into and the subsequent direct-sequence analysis of flanking genomic DNA. Methods Mol Biol, 192, 343-350.  Author URL.
Hiscock SJ, Bown D, Gurr SJ, Dickinson HG (2002). Serine esterases are required for pollen tube penetration of the stigma in Brassica. Sexual Plant Reproduction, 15(2), 65-74. Abstract.
Gurr SJ, Zhang Z, Priddey G (2002). The barley powdery mildew protein kinase C gene, pkc1 and pkc‐like gene, are differentially expressed during morphogenesis. Molecular Plant Pathology, 2(6), 327-337. Abstract.
Zhang Z, Gurr SJ (2001). Expression and sequence analysis of the Blumeria graminis mitogen-activated protein kinase genes, mpk1 and mpk2. Gene, 266(1-2), 57-65. Abstract.  Author URL.
Jones H, Whipps JM, Gurr SJ (2001). The tomato powdery mildew fungus Oidium neolycopersici. Mol Plant Pathol, 2(6), 303-309. Abstract.  Author URL.
Baker SJ, Newton AC, Gurr SJ (2000). Cellular characteristics of temporary partial breakdown of mlo-resistance in barley to powdery mildew. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 56(1), 1-11. Abstract.
Karpovich-Tate N, Dewey FM, Smith EJ, Lund VJ, Gurr PA, Gurr SJ (2000). Detection of fungi in sinus fluid of patients with allergic fungal rhinosinusitis. Acta Otolaryngol, 120(2), 296-302. Abstract.  Author URL.
Zhang Z, Hall A, Perfect E, Gurr SJ (2000). Differential expression of two Blumeria graminis chitin synthase genes. Mol Plant Pathol, 1(2), 125-138. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr SJ, Kinane JS, Bindslev L, Hall AA, Oliver R (2000). Evidence that the cAMP Pathway Controls Emergence of Both Primary and Appressorial Germ Tubes of Barley Powdery Mildew. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 13, 494-502.
Jones HE, Whipps JM, Thomas BJ, Carver TLW, Gurr SJ (2000). Initial events in the colonisation of tomatoes by Oidium lycopersici, a distinct powdery mildew fungus of Lycopersicon species. Canadian Journal of Botany, 78(10), 1361-1366. Abstract.
Jones HE, Whipps JM, Thomas BJ, Carver TL, Gurr SJ (2000). Initial events in the colonisation of tomatoes by Oidium lycopersici, a distinct powdery mildew fungus of Lycopersicon species. Botany, 78(10), 1361-1366.
Hall AA, Gurr SJ (2000). Initiation of appressorial germ tube differentiation and appressorial hooking: Distinct morphological events regulated by cAMP signalling in Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 56(1), 39-46. Abstract.
Chaure P, Gurr SJ, Spanu P (2000). Stable transformation of erysiphe graminis an obligate biotrophic pathogen of barley. Nat Biotechnol, 18(2), 205-207. Abstract.  Author URL.
Zhang Z, Gurr SJ (2000). Walking into the unknown: a 'step down' PCR-based technique leading to the direct sequence analysis of flanking genomic DNA. Gene, 253(2), 145-150. Abstract.  Author URL.
Dewey FM, Li Wong Y, Seery R, Hollins TW, Gurr SJ (1999). Bacteria associated with Stagonospora (Septoria) nodorum increase pathogenicity of the fungus. New Phytologist, 144(3), 489-497. Abstract.
Hall AA, Bindslev L, Rouster J, Rasmussen SW, Oliver RP, Gurr SJ (1999). Involvement of cAMP and protein kinase a in conidial differentiation by Erysiphe graminis f. sp. hordei. Mol Plant Microbe Interact, 12(11), 960-968. Abstract.  Author URL.
Pryce-Jones E, Carver T, Gurr SJ (1999). The roles of cellulase enzymes and mechanical force in host penetration by Erysiphe graminis f.sp. hordei. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 55(3), 175-182. Abstract.
Skinner W, Bailey A, Renwick A, Keon J, Gurr S, Hargreaves J (1998). A single amino-acid substitution in the iron-sulphur protein subunit of succinate dehydrogenase determines resistance to carboxin in Mycosphaerella graminicola. Current Genetics, 34(5), 393-398.
Baker SJ, Newton AC, Crabb D, Guy DC, Jefferies RA, Mackerron DKL, Thomas WTB, Gurr SJ (1998). Temporary partial breakdown of mlo-resistance in spring barley by sudden relief of soil water-stress under field conditions: the effects of genetic background and mlo allele. Plant Pathology, 47(4), 401-410. Abstract.
(1997). 5589622 Plant parasitic nematode control. Biotechnology Advances, 15(3-4), 664-664.
Gurr PA, Evans K, Dewey FM, Gurr SJ (1997). Otomycosis: the detection of fungi in ears by immunofluorescence microscopy. Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci, 22(3), 275-283. Abstract.  Author URL.
Stevens C, Titarenko E, Hargreaves JA, Gurr SJ (1996). Defence-related gene activation during an incompatible interaction between Stagonospora (Septoria) nodorum and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) coleoptile cells. Plant Mol Biol, 31(4), 741-749. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr PA, Chakraverty A, Callanan V, Gurr SJ (1996). The detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in nasal polyps. Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci, 21(3), 269-273. Abstract.  Author URL.
Francis SA, Dewey FM, Gurr SJ (1996). The role of cutinase in germling development and infection by Erysiphe graminis f.sp. hordei. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 49(3), 201-211. Abstract.
Gurr S, Titarenko E, Ogel Z, Stevens C, Carver T, Dewey M, Hargreaves J (1994). Barley-fungal interactions: signals and the environment of the host-pathogen interface. Biochemical Society Symposia, 60, 75-88.
Atkinson HJ, Gurr SJ, McPherson MJ, MacGregor AN, Bowles DJ (1992). Molecular events at nematode-induced feeding sites. Netherlands Journal of Plant Pathology, 98(2 Supplement), 175-181. Abstract.
Smallwood MF, Gurr SJ, McPherson MJ, Roberts K, Bowles DJ (1992). The pattern of plant annexin gene expression. Biochem J, 281 ( Pt 2)(Pt 2), 501-505. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr SJ, McPherson MJ, Scollan C, Atkinson HJ, Bowles DJ (1991). Gene expression in nematode-infected plant roots. Mol Gen Genet, 226(3), 361-366. Abstract.  Author URL.
Smallwood MF, Gurr SJ, Choudhari U, Bowles DJ (1990). Characterization of plant annexin gene expression. Biochem Soc Trans, 18(6).  Author URL.
Gurr SJ, Whitehead M, Greaves C, Kinghorn J (1990). Homologous transformation of Cephalosporium acremonium with the nitrate reductase-encoding gene (niaD). Gene, 90(2), 193-198.
Johnstone IL, McCabe PC, Greaves P, Gurr SJ, Cole GE, Brow MA, Unkles SE, Clutterbuck AJ, Kinghorn JR, Innis MA, et al (1990). Isolation and characterisation of the crnA-niiA-niaD gene cluster for nitrate assimilation in Aspergillus nidulans. Gene, 90(2), 181-192. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hawkins AR, Gurr SJ, Montague P, Kinghorn JR (1989). Nucleotide sequence and regulation of expression of the Aspergillus nidulans gdhA gene encoding NADP dependent glutamate dehydrogenase. Mol Gen Genet, 218(1), 105-111. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr SJ, Campbell A, Moon R, Duncan J, Kinghorn JR (1989). Protoplast formation and regeneration from sporangia and encysted zoospores of Phytophthora infestans. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 34(4), 299-307.
Whitehead MP, Unkles SE, Ramsden M, Campbell EI, Gurr SJ, Spence D, van den Hondel C, Contreras R, Kinghorn JR (1989). Transformation of a nitrate reductase deficient mutant of Penicillium chrysogenum with the corresponding Aspergillus niger and A. nidulans niaD genes. MGG Molecular & General Genetics, 216(2-3), 408-411. Abstract.
Gurr SJ, Kinghorn J (1988). Designation of filamentous fungal genes identified by molecular cloning. Fungal Genetics, 5, 26-28.
Gurr SJ, Hawkins AR, Drainas C, Kinghorn JR (1986). Isolation and identification of the Aspergillus nidulans gdhA gene encoding NADP-linked glutamate dehydrogenase. Curr Genet, 10(10), 761-766. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gurr SJ, Kinghorn JR (1986). The nucleotide sequence of Aspergillus nidulans gdhA gene. Heredity, 57, 136-139.


Carver TLW, Gurr SJ (2018). Filamentous Fungi on Plant Surfaces. In  (Ed) Annual Plant Reviews online, Wiley, 368-397.
Fones HN, Fisher MC, Gurr SJ (2017). Emerging fungal threats to plants and animals challenge agriculture and ecosystem resilience. In  (Ed) The Fungal Kingdom, 787-809. Abstract.
Carver TLW, Gurr SJ (2007). Filamentous Fungi on Plant Surfaces. In  (Ed) Biology of the Plant Cuticle, Wiley, 368-397.
Gurr SJ, Carver TLW (2006). Filamentous fungi on plant surfaces. In Reiderer M (Ed) Biology of Plant Cuticles, Blackwell Publishing, 112-132.
Gurr SJ, Zhang Z (2002). A “step down” PCR-based technique for walking into and the direct sequence analysis of flanking genomic DNA. In Chen B-Y (Ed) PCR protocols, NJ: Humana Press, 343-350.
Gurr SJ, Chaure P, Spanu P (2002). DNA-mediated transformation of Erysiphe graminis. In Belanger RR, Dick AJ, Bushnell WR (Eds.) The Powdery Mildews: a comprehensive treatise, USA: American Phytological Society, 100-107.
Gurr SJ, Carver TLW, Green JR (2002). The formation and function of infection and feeding structures. In Belanger RR, Dick AJ, Bushnell WR (Eds.) The Powdery Mildews: a comprehensive treatise, St Paul, USA: American Phytological Society Press, 66-83.
Gurr SJ, Hall A, Zhang Z, Carver TLW (2000). Powdery Mildews. In  (Ed) Encyclopedia of Microbiology, Academic Press, 801-808.
Gurr SJ, Francis S (1996). Plant Pathology, Molecular, a Current Review. In Beaubien M (Ed) Encyclopedia of Molecular Biology, 475-485.
Gurr SJ (1995). Molecular Plant Pathology. In Meyers R (Ed) Encyclopedia of Molecular Biology: Fundamentals and Applications, VCH Publishers, 699-703.
Titarenko E, Hargreaves J, Keon J, Gurr SJ (1993). Defence-Related Gene Expression in Barley Coleoptile Cells Following Infection by Septoria Nodorum. In  (Ed) Mechanisms of Plant Defense Responses, Springer Nature, 308-311.
Harper G, Gurr SJ, Scollan C, Glenn MP, McPherson MJ, Atkinson HJ, Bowles DJ (1993). Gene Expression During a Plant-Nematode Interaction. In  (Ed) Mechanisms of Plant Defense Responses, Springer Nature, 340-343.
Gurr SJ, Titarenko E, Hargreaves J, Keon J (1992). Defence-related gene expression in barley following infection by Septoria nodorum. In Fritig B (Ed) Mechanisms of Plant Defence Responses, Kluwer, 125-128.
Gurr SJ, McPherson MJ (1992). Gene cloning via the polymerase chain reaction. In Gurr SJ, Bowles DJ, McPherson MJ (Eds.) Molecular Plant Pathology - a Practical Approach, 147-217.
Gurr SJ, Harper G, Bowles D, Atkinson H (1992). Nematode-induced gene expression. In Fritig B (Ed) Mechanisms of Plant Defence Responses, Kluwer, 136-138.
Gurr SJ, McPherson M (1992). Nucleic Acid Isolation and Hybridisation techniques. In Gurr SJ, Bowles DJ, McPherson MJ (Eds.) Molecular Plant Pathology ¬- a Practical Approach, Oxford University Press, 109-121.
Gurr SJ, McPherson MJ, Jones K (1992). PCR with highly degenerate. oligonucleotide primers. In McPherson MJ (Ed) PCR: a Practical Approach, Oxford University Press, 1770-1780.
Gurr SJ, Bowles DJ, Hammond-Kosak KE, Atkinson HJ (1991). Local and systemic changes in plant gene expression following root infection by cyst nematodes. In Smith CJ (Ed) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plant Pathogen Interactions, 140-152.
Gurr SJ, McPherson MJ (1991). PCR-directed cDNA library construction. In McPherson MJ, Quirke P, Taylor GR (Eds.) PCR: a Practical Approach, Oxford University Press, 123-145.
Gurr SJ, Unkles S, Kinghorn J (1987). The structure and organisation of nuclear genes of filamentous fungi. In: Gene Structure in Eukaryotic Microbes. In Kinghorn J (Ed) Gene Structure in Eukaryotic Microbes, Oxford: IRL Press, 93-139.

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External Engagement and Impact

Committee/panel activities

BBSRC Council, 2012-2015.

Chair, BBSRC Research Institute review of Bioinformatics and Biomathematics, 2013

Chair, BBSRC, NERC; DEFRA committee on Tree Health (THAPSI), 2012-2013

Member BBSRC Biosciences Skills and Careers Strategy panel, 2013-

BBSRC Remunerations Committee, 2013 –

President British Society for Plant Pathology, 2009-2010.

Commissioned Foresight document (Sir John Beddington)“Reducing Risk of Future Disasters” 2012, McLean, Kao and Gurr “Predicting Biological Hazards”

Editorial responsibilities

Editor of Molecular Plant Pathology until 2008

Editor of Food Security from 2013

Invited lectures

Plenary speaker 2009 Epidemics2 International conference in Athens.

Plenary speaker 2012 Patholux conference, Luxembourg. 

Invited speaker “Inside Government” on “Meeting the Challenges of Global Food Security", 2013; UK Plant Sciences Federation Dundee 2013, 27th Fungal Genetics Conference, Asilomar, 2013.

Many conference talks and various at Universities and Research Institutes.

Organised BSPP Presidential (international) meeting at Oxford on “Darwin, Disease, Crops and Pathogens”, September 2009

Media Coverage

Featured in BBSRC Business News April 2008

Various Radio interviews (Farming Today, Radio Oxford

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Sarah will contribute to undergraduate teaching and to the MSc Food Security programme.



Information not currently available

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Supervision / Group

Research Fellows

  • Daniel Bebber

Postdoctoral researchers

  • Helen Fones (starts July 2013)
  • Charli Mardon (Research Technician)
  • Marketa Samalova (BBSRC IPA with PuriCore, Oxford)

Postgraduate researchers

  • Tom Chaloner
  • Sarena Che-Omar (Khazanah scholar, completes 2014)
  • Ivey Geoghegan (BBSRC, completes 2015, Oxford)
  • Will Kay

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