Dr Sebastian Fairhead

Postdoctoral Scientist
Jonathan Jones Group

I am interested in how agronomically important traits can be introgressed into crop varieties, in particularly durable disease resistance. My research focuses on the Albugo – Brassicaceae pathosystem.

Host defence is initiated through recognition of pathogen derived avirulence (AVR) effectors by the corresponding host resistance (R) gene. We are applying next generation sequencing to map multiple R genes from Arabidopsis thaliana for deployment in transgenic Brassica crops, whilst mapping complementary resistance in crop varieties to enable marker assisted selection.

We are also interested in how virulent pathotypes evade host recognition. An understanding of causal mutations in the AVR genes of natural populations may enable the identification, and pre-emptive deployment of the corresponding R genes.


Witek K, Lin X, Karki HS, Jupe F, Witek AI, Steuernagel B, Stam R, Van Oosterhout C, Fairhead S, Cocker JM, Bhanvadia S, Barrett W, Song T, Vleeshouwers VGAA, Tomlinson L, Wulff BBH, Jones JDG (2020)

A complex resistance locus in Solanum americanum recognizes a conserved Phytophthora effector. bioRxiv preprint May 15, 2020 doi:

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Lin X, Song T, Fairhead S, Witek K, Jouet A, Jupe F, Witek AI, Vleeshouwers VGAA, Hein I, Jones JDG (2020)

Identification of Avramr1 from Phytophthora infestans using long read and cDNA pathogen-enrichment sequencing (PenSeq). bioRxiv preprint May 14, 2020 doi:

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Job History

2012 – 2016 PhD student, University of Warwick, UK

2011 – 2012 MSc student, University of Warwick, UK

2010 – 2011 Technical Assistant, KWS UK LTD

2007 – 2010 BSc student, University of Brighton, UK