For the long haul: South Africa’s running potato pathology professor chasing after spud diseases

Jacquie van der Waals is not only a professor of potato pathology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa – she is also a recognized national 10km and cross country runner in that country. Yesterday she came third in her age group during the national sprint triathlon championships in South Africa. Other running achievements include being South African Cross Country Ladies Champion (40 – 44) in 2014 and 2015. Jacquie is the founder and lead of the Potato Pathology Programme at the university. This initiative is the flagship programme for research on bacterial and fungal diseases of potatoes in South Africa, also housing a diagnostic clinic for potato diseases. Research is focused on sustainable, integrated management of potato diseases, currently focused on some of the most pressing potato diseases that potato growers in South Africa deal with – including powdery scab, blackleg / soft rot, and a-typical tuber blemishes, such as corky cracks. Jacquie maintains strong collaborations with researchers in Scotland, The Netherlands, Israel, Poland and Zimbabwe and also work closely with numerous South African colleagues at the University of Pretoria and the Agricultural Research Council. Anyone interested in more details about the Potato Pathology Programme activities is welcome to get in touch with Jacquie at jacquie.vanderwaals@up.ac.za. On Twitter: @jacquievdw