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Rola El-Amil receives a Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Award for 2013

The work by Rola El-Amil, a PhD student at INRA in Versailles-Grignon, on the biology of a pathogenic fungus that attacks wheat, was rewarded for its exceptional quality by the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative. She received her award at a ceremony on 20 August 2013.

August 20th, 2013, Rola El-Amil receives a Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum for her thesis work on the epidemiology of yellow rust in the Research Unit for Biology and Risk Management in Agriculture - Plant Pathogenic Fungi (Bioger-CPP) (INRA Versailles-Grignon). The winners are photographed in the presence of J. Borlaug Laube, in the center. R. Al-Amil is second on the left.. © BRGI, BRGI
Updated on 11/18/2015
Published on 09/20/2013

Rola El-Amil is a PhD student in the Research Unit for Biology and Risk Management in Agriculture - Plant Pathogenic Fungi (Bioger-CPP) at the Versailles-Grignon Research Centre, where she is working under the supervision of Claude de Vallavieille-Pope and Kumarse Nazari (from ICARDA).  Her work focuses on the epidemiology of a wheat pathogen, Puccinia striiformiis f. sp. tritici, which causes yellow rust.

Understanding the adaptation of yellow rust to host varieties and the environment

Yellow rust is a major threat to wheat production on the Asiatic continent.  Although the Fertile Crescent was the birthplace of this plant 11,000 years ago, it is now the focus for repeated epidemics of yellow rust.

Started in September 2011, in the context of field observations that scientists could not ignore, Rola El-Amil's thesis project has since focused on the interactions between:

  • the agent which causes yellow rust, P. striiformiis, whose genetic diversity she has studied in populations from Syria and Lebanon, together with the role of Berberis sp., and other wild plants, in its developmental cycle;
  • wheat, where she is studying the impact of genes for resistance to the disease in elite commercial varieties and local populations (landraces) on the population structure of the parasite;
  • the environment, and particularly temperature.  She is analysing its impact on the pathogenic agent as regions that were previously considered to be too hot (southern USA, Western Australia, South Africa) have seen recent epidemics caused by individuals adapted to high temperatures.

On a daily basis, Rola El-Amil is a research assistant in the Plant Breeding Department of the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute.  Work by this department focuses in particular on evaluating the health status of arable crops and fruit trees in Lebanon, and on integrated pest management.

She has thus displayed her entire commitment to agriculture in an international context.

A prestigious award at the service of agricultural development

It was at the annual Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Technical Workshop, which took place from 19 to 22 August 2013 in New Delhi (India), that Rola El-Amil was a recipient of one of its Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Early Career Awards.

The award winners had an opportunity to present their work during this Workshop.  They have now been invited to participate in a training programme at the CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) at the Ciudad Obregón Experimental Research Station in  Mexico.

The Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Award

Set up in 2010 and attributed for the first time in 2011, the Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Awards are designed to acknowledge the work of young female scientists working on wheat in terms not only of the quality of their efforts but also their commitment and passion at the service of agricultural development.  The awards carry the name of Jeanie Borlaug Laube, President of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative since 2009 and daughter of Norman Ernest Borlaug (1914-2009), a renowned agronomist who is considered to be the father of the green revolution and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1970.