Dr Jeff Ellis FRS
Jeff Ellis has made an exceptional contribution to understanding interactions between plants and microbes. He was a joint winner in the race to isolate plant disease-resistance genes, showing that they encode a novel family of recognition proteins of general significance for plant and animal immunity. Using the classical flax/flax rust interaction, he identified the molecular components from host and pathogen that determine whether disease occurs, and established that direct molecular recognition triggers defence responses. His work has enabled new approaches to controlling rust diseases that are currently responsible for enormous losses in many crop plants.