Projects per year
Plant diseases, especially diseases of oilseed rape and strawberry. Research on phoma stem canker, demonstrated the differences between Leptosphaeria maculans and Leptosphaeria biglobosa in biology and epidemiology that enable the two pathogens to co-exist on their host (Huang et al., 2001, 2003; Toscano-Underwood et al., 2003; Fitt et al., 2006), provided evidence that the time of ascospore release differed between L. maculans and L. biglobosa (Huang et al., 2005 and 2011) which affects the effectiveness of fungicide application, discovered effects of temperature on expression of R gene-mediated resistance (Huang et al., 2006), provided insights into symptomless growth of the pathogen for understanding and detecting quantitative resistance (Huang et al., 2009, 2014 and 2016), provided evidence that pathogen fitness cost at an Avr locus may be used as an indicator of durability of the corresponding host resistance gene (Huang et al., 2006 & 2010), provided evidence that combination of R genes and quantitative resistnace increases cultivar resistance (Huang et al., 2018; Mitrousia et al., 2018) and quantitative resistance against phoma stem canker pathogen growth in leaves of young plants contribute to quantitative resistance in stems of adult plants (Huang et al., 2019). Other research includes work on Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (stem rot) on oilseed rape (Huang et al., 2000; Liu et al., 2001), Podospheara aphanis (powdery mildew) on strawberry (Jin et al., 2012) and interactions between fungal pathogens causing phoma stem canker (L. maculans and L. biglobosa) and light leaf spot (Pyrenopeziza brassicae) in vitro (Fortune et al., 2019).
1999-2002, PhD, University of Hertfordshire and Rothamsted Research
1988-1991, MSc, Huazhong Agricultural University, China
1984-1988, BSc, Huazhong Agricultural University, China
Supervision of students
Supervison of research students and tutor for undergraduate students. She has supervised seven PhD students and two MSc students, currently supervises three PhD students and co-supervises two PhD students in plant pathology.
Research tutor for Master by research and PhD students in Department of Clinicial, Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences, answering enquiries for a research degree in Clinicial, Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences, process applications and monitoring progresses of research students during the period of their study.
Yongju Huang is a Reader in Plant Pathology at the University of Hertfordshire. Her research area is plant diseases, with specific interests in phoma stem canker (Leptosphaeria maculans and L. biglobosa) on oilseed rape (Brassica napus). Her research involves the following aspects: biology and epidemiology of L. maculans and L. biglobosa; influence of environmental factors (e.g temperature) on effectiveness of major R gene-mediated resistance and quantitative resistance against L. maculans; fitness cost of virulence at different loci in L. maculans; avirulence (Avr) genes in L. maculans populations; effects of fungicides on control of L. maculans and L. biglobosa. Recently, she has also worked on host resistance against Pyrenopeziza brassicae (light leaf spot) and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (stem rot) on oilseed rape and understanding effects of silicon on control of Podospheara aphanis (powdery mildew) on strawberry.
Yongju won a DuPont Young Professor Award in 2005 (the only award made in Europe in that year). With this award, she and Prof Fitt wrote a successful BBSRC Industry Partnership Award (2006-2010) grant proposal. Based on results of this project, they obtained funding for their current BBSRC LINK project (2011-2014) with 16 partners: 9 breeding companies (DSV UK Ltd; Elsoms Seeds Ltd; Grainseed Ltd; LS Plant Breeding Ltd; Monsanto UK Ltd; Pioneer; Saaten-Union UK Ltd; Syngenta UK Ltd), 3 Agriculture and Farm organisations (Co-operative Farms; HGCA; National Farmers’ Union ), 3 Agricultural Trusts (Chadacre Agricultural Trust; Felix Thornley Trust; Perry Foundation) and one university (University of Hertfordshire). She has also had success in writing a British Council Alliance proposal to enable collaboration with France (2007-2008) and two Royal Society UK-China joint projects (2005-2007; 2007-2009), which have enhanced collaboration with China. Since moving from Rothamsted Research to the University of Hertfordshire in March 2011, she has won four student bursary projects & three PhD projects (2015-2018), one AHDB Oilseed and Cereals (previously HGCA) research grant (2015 -2019), one Innovate UK reseach grant (2015-2018), one Agri-Tech Catalyst Round 5 research grant (2016-2019) and two HKEP PhD projects (2017-2021 & 2020-2024).
Commercial and public engagement
She has given poster and oral presentation at several international conferences, trained farmers and extension workers on recognition of important diseases on oilseed rape during the collaboration with China on Royal Society UK-China joint projects and the Defra SAIN project, demonstrated diseases on oilseed rape during agricultural industry events such as Cereals. With recent successful Innovate UK and Agri-Tech proposals, she works closely with industry partners, including distributors (e.g. Hutchinsons), breeding companies (e.g. KWS, LS Plant Breeding etc), agrochemical companies (e.g. DuPont) and farmers to develop strategies for sustainable management of oilseed rape diseases.
Plant Pathology, PhD
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years
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Screening varietal tolerance in potatoes and identifying potential alternate hosts of Alternaria spp.
7/08/23 → 7/08/24
2/03/20 → 1/03/24
Investigating fungal spore production in UK arable crop systems under current and future environmental conditions
2/10/23 → 30/09/27
Fortune, J., Bingol, E., Qi, A., Baker, D., Ritchie, F., Karandeni Dewage, C. S., Fitt, B. & Huang, Y., 29 Nov 2022, In: Pest Management Science. p. 1-10 10 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile1 Downloads (Pure)
Effective control of Leptosphaeria maculans increases importance of L. biglobosa as a cause of phoma stem canker epidemics on oilseed rapeJonathan S West, 26 Oct 2022, In: Pest Management Science. 7248.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile11 Downloads (Pure)
Azole fungicide sensitivity and molecular mechanisms of reduced sensitivity in Irish Pyrenopeziza brassicae populationsBucur, D., Huang, Y., Fitt, B. & Kildea, S., 9 Oct 2022, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Pest Management Science. 12 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile10 Downloads (Pure)
Noel, K., Qi, A., Gajula, L., Huang, Y., Fitt, B. & Stotz, H., 2 Mar 2022, In: Frontiers in Plant Science. 13, 12 p., 785804.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile23 Downloads (Pure)
QTL mapping for resistance against Pyrenopeziza brassicae derived from a Brassica napus secondary gene poolKarandeni Dewage, C. S., Cools, K., Stotz, H., Qi, A., Huang, Y., Wells, R. & Fitt, B., 4 Feb 2022, In: Frontiers in Plant Science. 13 , 13 p., 786189.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile14 Downloads (Pure)