Robert Jackson

Colleges, School and Institutes

External positions

Professor, University of Reading

1 Jan 202031 Dec 2022

Professor, University of Akureyri

1 Jan 202031 Dec 2022


1 Jan 201931 Dec 2022


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.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of the West of England

    Plasmids and virulence in Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola

    1 Oct 1994 - 31 Dec 1997
  • Bachelor of Science, University of the West of England

    Applied Biological Sciences

    1 Oct 1991 - 30 Jun 1994

Willingness to take 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.