Robin MacDiarmid

President, Australasian Plant Pathology Society

Robin MacDiarmid, President of Australasian Plant Pathology Society, is a Principal Scientist and Science Group Leader at Plant and Food Research and is Senior Lecturer at The University of Auckland. Her research aims have been to understand and manage those plant pathogens that are risks to NZ’s primary sector and to realise the potential of beneficial viruses such as viruses of fungi. This research interest has focused on discovery of novel viruses and describing their biological impact within ecosystems.

Robin completed Bachelor and Masters degrees at Otago University’s Biochemistry Department then her doctorate at The University of Auckland but based at Plant and Food Research. She completed two post-doctoral research studies at UC Berkeley studying drosophila RNA splicing then defective-interfering RNA-based measures to control tomato bushy stunt virus. Robin returned to Plant and Food Research, New Zealand, in 2001 and lectured part-time for Massey University before being employed at the University of Auckland.

At The University of Auckland she supervises post-graduate students based at Plant and Food Research, and supports the development of Māori and Pasifika researchers’ and scientists’ interactions with their communities and local or national horticultural businesses. Through her roles at both institutes Robin has mentored over 40 students to complete their degrees and several post-doctoral scientists to develop their careers in plant pathology.

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