Dr Kanyuka leads NIAB’s strategic and applied research on the biology, detection, surveillance, epidemiology and management of diseases and pests of field crops, working with a wide range of academic and commercial partners and customers.
With a background in virology, Dr Kanyuka’s overall research interest is to understand how pathogens cause disease on plants and how plants resist pathogens at the mechanistic and molecular level with the aim of developing sustainable solutions for disease control in crops, extensively utilising existing and developing new plant virus-based expression tools for rapid gene function analysis in both plants and the associated pathogens.
During the past decade he has led research on dissecting the wheat interactions with Septoria and identification of disease resistance genes in wheat, and more recently also on understanding the genetic basis of resistance to fungal pathogens such as Cercospora and mildew in legumes and development of new RNA-interference based and genome editing approaches for crop improvement.
He joined NIAB from Rothamsted Research, where he focused on resistance to viral and fungal diseases in barley and wheat. Prior to that, following a PhD in plant virology at the Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology in Moscow, he did his postdoctoral study at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich on the isolation of genes for resistance to viruses and nematodes.