Georgina Elena Jiménez is a Plant Pathology researcher who aims at improving the management and the control of fungal plant pathogens. She studied B.Sc. Biology at the University of Barcelona (UB), followed by two M.Sc. in Experimental Biology and Environmental Agrobiology at the same University, with both M.Sc. projects on Phytopathology. After finishing her studies, she carried out a PhD in Plant Biology at the Institute of Food and Agriculture Technology (IRTA), which was focused on the biology, epidemiology and control of grapevine trunk pathogenic fungi, in the frame of the project “Biology, epidemiology and development of new techniques for the control of grapevine trunk fungal diseases (RTA2010-00009-C03)”. After the PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), still performing research on grapevine trunk diseases and also studying other fungal pathogens affecting fruit trees, such as almond and loquat, in the frame of the research projects “Integrated study of Diaporthe and Phytophthora on almond (RTA2017-00009-C04-04)” and “New epidemiological and molecular tools for the management of fungal diseases affecting the aerial part in Mediterranean fruit trees (RTA2013-00004-C03-03)”.
Since 2019, she is a postdoctoral researcher at the business unit Biointeractions and Plant Health of Wageningen Plant Research (WUR), working in the project BioNeedit. BioNeedit is a project inside the program Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions-Individual Fellowship (Grant Agreement: 838433), which has the objective to contribute in the development of a new biological control product for the management of European fruit tree canker disease, one of the most devastating disease in apple crop. To achieve this objective, potential antagonistic microorganisms are being selected against Neonectria ditissima, the causal agent of this disease,
i) based on the beneficial role of the microbiome found in N. ditissima infected and healthy tissues of apple trees,
ii) through a systematic stepwise antagonist screening program,
iii) testing the antagonist behavior of the microorganisms against N. ditissima in a robust and cost-effective bioassay in planta and
iv) evaluating the up-scaled biomass production of the selected antagonists.
The multidisciplinary approach used in this project ensures that the selected microorganisms not only have antagonistic properties, but also fulfil the basic criteria regarding commercial production, safety and registration of plant protection products, as well as the ecological needs for the applications on the field.