Sarah Gurr

Sarah Gurr

Professor Sarah Gurr holds the Chair in Food Security at Exeter University. She studied at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (BSc, ARCS, DIC and PhD (Plant Pathology)), where she was awarded The Huxley Medal for her outstanding record of achievement (and a Social Blue).  She was a post-doctoral Fellow at St Andrews University and thence an independent Royal Society University Research Fellow. She was appointed, as Lecturer, promoted to Reader and Professor at Oxford University (21 years) and Fellow of Somerville College. There she held a Leverhulme Trust Royal Society Senior Research and a NESTA (Science, Technology and the Arts) Fellowship. She was a curator of the Oxford Botanic Garden for 20 years. Sarah was recently Head of School, Biosciences, Exeter. She was formerly the first woman President of The British Society of Plant Pathology, member of the Board of Directors of Rothamsted Research and BBSRC Council (Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council). She was recently appointed to The International Advisory Board at SLU University, Uppsala and as Advisor to The Scottish Government on Plant Health (RESAS) and as a member of Plant Heath Scotland (James Hutton Institute), elected to The Rank Foundation Nutrition committee and to The Wolfson Foundation Science and Medicine panel. Sarah held the Donder’s Chair (Honorary) at Utrecht University, appointed Visiting Prof at Utrecht and was awarded the President’s prize by the British Mycological Society. She recently became a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology, is Senior Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford and Fellow of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The James Hutton Institute, Dundee, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by SLU Uppsala.

Her interest is in plant disease – with particular emphasis on fungal infestations and in their global movement and control. Sarah has been invited to speak all over the world – in plenary and keynote conference lectures, and on national and international radio.  She has authored or co-authored over 190 publications, including several high profile papers in Science, Nature and Nature Journals and a contribution to the Government Foresight report on “Biological Hazards”. In 2019 and 2023, she was listed amongst the 1% of most highly cited researchers worldwide (Clarivate Analytics).