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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Ms Franziska Fischer


Franziska holds an M.Sc in Agricultural Sciences from TU Munich, majoring in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, and an MSc in Crop Improvement from the University of Nottingham. During a research project in Malaysia, on fungal disease in oil palm, she developed her interest in plant pathology that she is now pursuing in her PhD project. She has also gained experience in the plant breeding industry during a project with KWS UK. Alongside her studies, she has further developed an interest in agricultural policy, including experience in an EU project, with the Food and Agriculture Organization, and in regulatory policy with Bayer Crop Science.

Subject groups/Research projects

Plant Biology and Food Security:

Departments and Institutes

Department of Plant Sciences:

Research Interests

I am investigating resistance towards Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in wheat. FHB is caused by a group of fungi in the genus Fusarium and occurs in every wheat growing region worldwide. The disease is feared among farmers, because it not only reduces harvests, but also contaminates the remaining grain with mycotoxins that are dangerous for humans and animals. Agronomic measures for controlling the disease are incomplete and to date there is no completely resistant wheat variety.

In the UK, models predict an increase in FHB, due to climate change and changes in agronomic practices. Simultaneously, data indicates that resistance in UK wheat has been decreasing. My project uses a new type of wheat population and field trials in different environments across Europe to help us better understand resistance mechanisms in general and specifically, potential sources of resistance in UK wheat varieties.

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