Vincent Were

Postdoctoral Scientist
Nick Talbot Group

My interest in plant fungal pathogens started in 2009 while working at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) -Hub in Kenya; to analyse maize grain samples for fungal contamination and quantify the levels of mycotoxins. I later on moved to the University of Queensland, Australia, for further studies and graduated with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology.

In 2018, I completed my PhD studies in Biological sciences from the University of Exeter and currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in Professor Nick Talbot’s group. My research project is geared towards understanding the population biology of rice blast in Sub-Saharan Africa with an ultimate goal of developing rice lines with durable resistance to rice blast disease. I am also using molecular and live cell imaging as tools to analyse effector-host cell interactions during infection and to observe cytological changes. The aim is to determine sets of genes involved in disease process during plant-pathogen interaction, and to gain insight into the function of un-characterised secreted proteins in Magnaporthe oryzae and on their putative effector host targets in rice.


Mutiga SK, Rotich F, Were VM, Kimani J, Mwongera DT, Mgonja E, Onaga G, Konaté K, Razanaboahirana C, Bigirimana J, Ndayiragije A, Gichuhi E, Telebacnco-Yanoria MJ, Otipa M, Wasilwa L, Ouedraogo I, Mitchell T, Wang GL, Correll J, Talbot N (2021)

Integrated strategies for durable rice blast resistance in sub-Saharan Africa. Plant Dis. 2021 Jul 12. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-03-21-0593-FE.

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Lopez-Moya F, Martin-Urdiroz M, Oses-Ruiz M, Were VM, Fricker MD, Littlejohn G, Lopez-Llorca LV, Talbot NJ (2021)

Chitosan inhibits septin-mediated plant infection by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae in a Protein Kinase C and Nox1 NADPH oxidase-dependent manner. New Phytol. 2021 Feb 11. doi: 10.1111/nph.17268.

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Ganeshan VD, Opiyo SO, Mutiga SK, Rotich F, Thuranira DM, Were VM, Ouedraogo I, Zhou B, Soanes DM, Correll JC, Wang GL, Talbot NJ, Mitchell TK (2018)

A Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies SNP Markers for Virulence in Magnaporthe oryzae Isolates from Sub-Saharan Africa. bioRxiv preprint Sep 14, 2018 doi:

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Mutiga SK, Rotich F, Ganeshan VD, Mwongera DT, Mgonja EM, Were VM, Harvey JW, Zhou B, Wasilwa L, Feng C, Ouédraogo I, Wang GL, Mitchell TK, Talbot NJ, Correll JC (2017)

Assessment of the Virulence Spectrum and Its Association with Genetic Diversity in Magnaporthe oryzae Populations from Sub-Saharan Africa. Phytopathology. 2017 Jul;107(7):852-863. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-08-16-0319-R.

Mutiga SK, Were V, Hoffmann V, Harvey JW, Milgroom MG, Nelson RJ (2014)

Extent and Drivers of Mycotoxin Contamination: Inferences from a Survey of Kenyan Maize Mills. Phytopathology. 2014 Nov;104(11):1221-31. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-01-14-0006-R.

Job History

2018 – present Post Doctoral Researcher, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK

2014 – 2018 PhD in Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, UK

2012 – 2013 Master of Biotechnology, University of Queensland, Austrailia / QAAFI

2009 – 2011 Research Assistant, Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BecA) Hub in Kenya

2005 – 2009 Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya