Megan McDonald

Colleges, School and Institutes


Dr. Megan McDonald completed her PhD in 2012 in the Phytopathology Group at the ETH Zürich in Switzerland. After completing her PhD she was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship to take-up post-doctoral work in the genomics of plant pathogens at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. In Australia she was funded by wheat growers to continue her work on the genomics of fungal plant pathogens, looking specifically at genome plasticity and fungicide resistance. In 2020, Megan was awarded a Birmingham Fellowship to start her own research group at the University of Birmingham

Research interests

Megan uses next-generation sequencing tools identify and characterise virulence genes from fungal pathogens of wheat and barley. To do this Megan has worked extensively with long-read de novo genome assembly, genome annotation and transposon annotation. Megan’s background is in population genetics of plant pathogens, studying their origins and global movement during her graduate studies. More recent interests include transposon mediated horizontal gene transfer and 3D chromosomal reconstruction techniques using sequencing data.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Science, ETH

    Evolution and acquisition of necrotrophic effectors by the fungal wheat pathogen Phaeosphaeria nodorum and close relatives

    16 Sep 2008 - 4 Oct 2012

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Fungal pathogens
Genome plasticity
Population genomics
Plant Pathology
Genome sequencing


  • Q Science (General) - Mycology, Fungal pathogens, Plant Pathology, Genome Plasticity, population genetics, Fungicide resistance