Robert Jackson

Prof, Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Studying bacterial-plant interactions, including pathogenicity and host resistance, especially in the field of tree pathology; pathogens of insects; beneficial bacteria of plants, including plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, biocontrol bacteria and bacteriophages. Genetics, genomics, gene regulation.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


He has more than 25 years’ experience working on microbiology and plant pathology problems. He studied plasmids and type III secretion for his PhD research, discovering a major bacterial pathogenicity gene that can epistatically suppress the effects of avirulence effectors. Since then, his research topics include the study of bacterial pathogenesis, most recently in tree pathology studying Horse Chestnut, Oak and Cherry; gene regulation and regulatory networks in plant growth-promoting bacteria; the role of surfactants in bacterial motility and biocontrol; the identification and characterisation of bacteriophage for biocontrol; microbiome analyses of invasive alien plant species; and analysis of how bacteria can kill aphids. He collaborates widely in both the UK and globally, and has delivered teaching and research seminars in diverse locations abroad. He has previously served as an elected board member for the British Society for Plant Pathology in 2010-2013 and was involved in developing the Outreach Officer role for the society. He has joined the board again in 2019 as Publicity Champion and is Vice President in 2020. He is also a member of the American Phytopathology Society and served as Senior Editor for Phytopathology between 2012-2014. He has served as a Senior Editor for Molecular Plant Pathology since 2015. He currently sits on the Action Oak Research & Monitoring sub-committee and he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading and Adjunct Professor at the University of Akureyri, Iceland.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Plasmids and virulence in Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola, University of the West of England

1 Oct 199431 Dec 1997

Award Date: 9 Mar 1998

Bachelor of Science, Applied Biological Sciences, University of the West of England

1 Oct 199130 Jun 1994

Award Date: 1 Jul 1994

External positions

Professor, The University of Akureyri

1 Jan 202031 Dec 2022

Professor, University of Reading

1 Jan 202031 Dec 2022


1 Jan 201931 Dec 2022


  • SD Forestry


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