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Fellows Directory

Nicholas Talbot

Professor Nicholas Talbot FRS


Elected: 2014


Twitter @talbotlabexeter


ORCID 0000-0001-6434-7757


Nick Talbot is making significant contributions to our understanding of how fungi infect plants and cause disease. Nick focuses specifically on the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, which destroys up to a third of the annual global rice harvest — enough to feed 60 million people.

In rice blast disease, large disease lesions form on the leaves then spread to other parts of the plant and other plants in the crop. As a result, there is a severe decrease in the overall yield of rice. Nick’s research group is using cell biology and molecular genetics approaches to dissect the precise molecular and cellular events that occur during infection by the rice blast fungus, simultaneously uncovering potential targets for new fungicides.

To help control fungal diseases, rice growers can plant varieties that have been bred, or genetically modified, to contain resistance genes. Fungi, however, quickly evolve to overcome such tactics. Nick is therefore also searching rice genomes for fresh resistance genes in order to improve long-term prospects for controlling this devastating plant disease.

Professional positions

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Applied microbiology, Developmental biology, Fungal diseases, Fungal genetics, Fungal genomics, Fungal pathogens, Fungal physiology, Mycology, Plant disease resistance, Plant fungal pathogens, Plant microbiology, Plant-microbial interactions, Rice blast fungus