The main aim of this group is to promote Plant Virology as a subject through innovative outreaching activities such as organising conferences and workshops. This brings people together for discussions and meetings on recent developments in the area.​

Every 18 months the group organizes a 3-day conference ‘Advances in Plant Virology’ that encourages PhD students and early career scientists to take up and/or continue working on plant viruses. We also offer two student-specific competitions at the conference – the Bryan Harrison prize for the best oral presentation and the Raymond and Roger Hull prize for the best poster presentation.

In order to foster links between the global community of plant virologists this group includes members from across the world. Please get in touch with the Convenor if you are interested in becoming part of the group.

The group also curates the Description of Plant Viruses database which is an important (free) resource for anyone interested in plant virology. We are actively recruiting new Descriptions of Plant Virus and have simplified the submission form using an automated form.

Submit a new DPV here.

Group Convener

Andrew Love

Andrew is a research leader in Cell and Molecular Sciences at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, and an honorary senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow. He has interests in understanding how viruses can manipulate plant defence mechanisms and nucleolar machinery to facilitate replication and spread. He also has significant research portfolios in modifying plant virus structures for biotechnological purposes.​

Andrew graduated with a PhD in molecular plant virology and followed that with several postdoctoral researcher positions at the University of Glasgow prior to taking up more senior positions at the James Hutton Institute in 2009.


Group Members

Sabrina Bertin

Sabrina is a Research Scientist at Research Centre for Plant Protection and Certification of the National Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA-DC) in Rome, Italy. She is experienced in plant virology and applied entomology, with a main expertise in detection and experimental transmission of viruses and phytoplasmas as well as in biology and genetics of insect vectors. She works in the Plant Virology lab of CREA-DC that deals with the characterization, aetiology and epidemiology of major crop viral diseases and with the production of virus-free plant germplasm through tissue culture. The lab has been appointed European Union Reference Laboratories (EURL) for plant viruses and is equipped for virus detection and quantitation (ELISA, PCR, Real-Time PCR, dPCR).

She graduated from the University of Turin (Italy) in 2002 at the Agricultural Biotechnology faculty. In 2007 she obtained her PhD in Cell Biology under the joint supervision of the University of Pavia (Italy) and University of Paris-Sud 11 (France) with a dissertation on the Sterile Insect Technique against fly pests. She worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Turin from 2008 to 2015 on hemipteran vectors of grapevine pathogens. She joined the CREA-DC centre in 2015.

Jens Tilsner

Jens is a Lecturer in Plant Molecular Virology at the University of St Andrews and the James Hutton Institute, Dundee. His lab uses cell biology, including RNA in vivo imaging, molecular biology and biochemistry to investigate the mechanisms by which plant viruses spread through their host via intercellular nano-channels (plasmodesmata).​

Jens graduated from the University of Bayreuth, Germany in 1999 with a diploma (MSc) in plant ecology. He obtained a PhD in plant biochemistry from the Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany, in 2003. Since moving to Scotland in 2003, he has been working on plant virus cell-to-cell transport, first as a Marie Curie fellow at Edinburgh University and a postdoctoral researcher at the Scottish Crop research Institute (now James Hutton Institute), since 2012 as an independent research fellow in St Andrews. He was obtained a lectureship at St Andrews in 2015.

Lisa Ward

Lisa is currently the Head of Plant Pathology at Forest Research. Prior to this she was the Principal Plant Pathologist in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS; 2019-2021), responsible for overseeing plant health and biosecurity across the RHS including the development of plant health policies and standards, response preparedness, and the delivery of surveillance programmes. Before joining the RHS Lisa managed the Virology and Quarantine team in the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (2006-2019), delivering diagnostic services for viruses and virus-like organisms for plant imports and exports, surveillance and response, and overseeing the provision of quarantine services. She was a molecular plant pathologist for six years in Fera developing diagnostic tools for plant and honeybee viruses, and worked in Montana State University researching biocontrol methods for non-native grass species.

Lisa did her PhD in Edinburgh University on the use of fungi as biological control agents of cereal diseases and is a trained auditor for the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 quality management standard. She will be officially based in York with regular travel to Alice Holt and Northern Research Station.

Betty Chung

Originally from New Zealand, I pursued a PhD in Biochemistry at University College Cork, Ireland where I focused on elucidating non-canonical gene expression mechanisms in RNA viruses. I am now a MRC Career Development Fellow at the University of Cambridge where my group aims to understand how living organisms utilise novel protein synthesis regulatory mechanisms to counteract external stresses, especially during host:pathogen interaction and in response to temperature fluctuation.

John Walsh

John is a Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick. The research on the so-called Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV), led by John and funded under the BBSRC Crop Science Initiative, has been taken forward in a new partnership with Syngenta Seeds. Dr Walsh said “TuMV causes really nasty-looking black necrotic spots on the plants it infects – ‘a pox on your’ vegetables! This can cause significant yield losses and often leaves an entire crop unfit for marketing. The virus is particularly difficult to control because it is transmitted so rapidly to plants by the insect vectors”
John and his team identified the major gene involved in resistance to TuMV and discovered that the way in which it creates resistance is completely new. Using this knowledge, they found that it was possible to identify plants with an inherent resistance that could be used to speed up the breeding process and develop commercial varieties that are resistant to TuMV. The group has a broad range of research projects from Applied, through Strategic to Fundamental, funded from a wide variety of sources. The underlying aim is to provide environmentally friendly sustainable disease control measures whilst at the same time reducing inputs


Mark Varrelmann

Mark is an Associate professor at the Georg-August University Göttingen (Germany) in the faculty of Agricultural Sciences and teacher for Plant Virology since 2002. He works as the head of the Department of Phytopathology at the Institute of Sugar beet research, Göttingen, focussing mainly on sugar beet (virus) diseases. In addition, he is working as editor for the Journal of Phytopathology and chair of the national working group of Plant Virology of the German phytopathological society.​

The research focus is in the field of plant virus reverse genetic systems and their use in plant resistance research to study host-pathogen interactions. Mark graduated in molecular Plant Virology in 1999 from the University of Hannover, Germany.

Jeanmarie Verchot

Jeanmarie is Professor and Fellow of the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M University, USA.​

Plant cells have an amazing ability to adapt and survive the impacts of virus infection. Cellular membranes provide a network for communication with all parts of the cell. Membranes vesicles transport cargo to various locations within and the cell as well as depositing cargo outside of the cell. Membranes contain channels for ion signaling and sensors for activating changes in gene expression. All RNA viruses depend upon cellular membranes as scaffolds for virus replication, encapsidation, and egress. Creating these scaffolds requires significant rearrangement of cellular membranes. Our investigations are to understand the cell adaptive machinery to the changes that viruses bring to cells. We are particularly interested in the cellular adaptive machinery, known as the ER stress machinery, which is well conserved between plants and animals and humans. The primary goal of our work is to understand how plant virus proteins at the ER manipulate cellular signaling to maintain a cellular environment that is favorable for infection.

Fabrizio Cillo

Fabrizio Cillo is a research scientist at the CNR, Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection. Previously, he was awarded with a postdoctoral Marie Curie Research Fellowship to spend two years at the (now) James Hutton Institute in Dundee. His main research projects include: the biological and molecular characterisation of plant viruses, with a major focus on vegetable viruses; assessment of plant virus resistance in transgenic plants; characterisation of RNA silencing mediated defense mechanisms in virus-infected plants, in transgenic plants and by virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of endogenous host transcripts; identification of tomato host factors involved in the susceptibility to viruses, by genome-wide transcriptomics and more focused gene expression approaches; use of wild Solanum accessions for the identification of host factors (genes/traits) involved in the susceptibility to viruses.

Charlotte Nellist

Charlotte is a Pathology Programme Leader at NIAB Cambridge Crop Research, in Cambridge, UK.  Her research sits within the broad area of improving plant health and resilience, with the ultimate goal of ensuring global food security.  She has a particular interest in understanding resistance mechanisms to plant pathogens, understanding pathogen populations and deploying resistance in agriculturally important crops.  She has a background in exploiting loss-of-susceptibility resistance to turnip mosaic virus and is interested in identifying new targets for durable resistance to plant viruses.  She has recently been involved in several projects exploring virus diversity in numerous Sub-Saharan African crops through the CONNECTED (Community Network for African Vector-Borne Plant Viruses) Network.


Charlotte graduated from the University of Leeds with a BSc in Bioscience in 2007.  She then went on to gain an MSc in Plant Bioscience for Crop Production in 2009 and obtained her PhD in Molecular Virology in 2014, both from the University of Warwick.

Trisna Tungadi

Trisna is a Lecturer in Plant Health at Keele University, UK. Her research aims to understand plant responses to viruses and how this influences vector behaviour by utilising a range of techniques in molecular biology, chemical ecology, and entomology. She has a particular interest to study plant-virus-vector interaction at the landscape level, specifically in virus and vector movement between crop and non-crop plants. The aim is to utilise the knowledge gained to improve pest management practices.

Previously, she mainly worked with non-persistently transmitted viruses, such as cucumber mosaic virus and bean common mosaic virus. She had an extensive experience working with and analysing aphid performance on virus-infected plants. She had worked in projects with partners in Kenya and in the UK to study whether planting a mixture of bean varieties in the field can reduce the spread of virus.

Trisna graduated from Imperial College London with a BSc in Biology (2008) and MSc in Environmental Technology (2009). She then joined Professor John Carr’s lab at the University of Cambridge where she obtained her PhD (2014) and completed two postdoctoral projects (2014-2019). In 2019, Trisna moved to NIAB where she worked on spotted wing drosophila, an invasive insect pest affecting soft fruit production worldwide. In 2022, she joined Keele University.

Outside work, Trisna is active in outreach and capacity building. She had organised molecular biology training workshops for African agricultural researchers in Cambridge and Benin Republic. She is also a Board member at the British Society for Plant Pathology.


Miguel Aranda

Miguel is a Research Professor at the Department of Stress and Plant Pathology of “Del Segura” Center for Applied Biology (CEBAS) from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) (Spain). He is also a founder and shareholder of the technology-based company Abiopep S.L. Alongside this, he is the Senior Editor for the Plant-Pathogen Interaction area of ​​Annals of Applied Biology and for the Virology area of ​​Molecular Plant Pathology. Since 2009 he has been teaching applied virology in the Master’s Degree in Plant Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Murcia (Spain). From 1995 to 1998 he carried out postdoctoral research at John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK). During 2008, 2011-2012 and 2017 he carried out sabbatical stays at John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK), U. C. Berkeley (CA, USA) and U.C. Davis (CA, USA), respectively.

Miguel has been working for more than 25 years to understand the biology of plant viruses and how they interact with their hosts. From an applied point of view, his work aims at generating sustainable strategies to control plant diseases induced by viruses, with special emphasis on identifying, characterizing and introgressing genetic resistance to plant viruses in crops. Important contributions of Miguel´s work in this area include the characterisation of resistance genes and resistance mechanisms to viruses in melon, cucumber and tomato.