John Innes Centre researcher Dr. Diane Saunders has been selected as one of 12 finalists in the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Innovator of the Year Competition 2019.

Dr. Saunders’ nomination is in the category for international impact following her team’s potentially transformative approach to identifying individual strains of complex fungal pathogens directly in the field.

MARPLE (Mobile and Real-time PLant disEase) diagnostics is designed to run at a field site, without constant electricity and on reagents that work in the varying temperatures of the field. Crucially, this method brings wheat rust research out of the labs and puts it in the hands of those best placed to respond; the field researchers on the ground who work with local government and farmers alike.