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Plants @ Cambridge

The Department's Jiefeng Tan has been awarded the British Society for Plant Pathology's 2021 prize for best undergraduate research in plant pathology.
To celebrate 40 years of supporting the plant pathology community, the BSPP has this year brought in a new set of prizes for final year undergraduate students. These prizes have been created to encourage and reward undergraduate students interested in plant pathology and to publicly recognise their achievements.
“We decided to establish these prizes during our 40th anniversary year to promote the study of plant pathology at the undergraduate level. Research projects done by this year’s winners focused on a wide range of topics, from molecular biology to bioinformatics to mathematical modelling,” said the BBSP. 
Jiefeng Tan, winner of this year's BBSP best undergraduate research prize, graduated in July from the University of Cambridge with a First Class degree in Plant Sciences. His final year project which won him the prize was titled A Reactive Proximity Based Survey Strategy for Effective Detection of Plant Disease.
"Having studied the devastating socio-economic and environmental impacts of infectious plant diseases as an undergraduate plant scientist, I wanted to apply my knowledge of mathematical modelling and epidemiology to investigate better strategies for managing real-world plant disease epidemics," explained Jiefeng. Adding "I hope to pursue further work in the control of crop diseases, which I believe will be critical for global food security in the coming decades."
Jiefeng's supervisor, Head of the Department's Theoretical and Computational Epidemiology Research Group Dr Nik Cunniffe, commented: "Jiefeng was absolutely outstanding. With relatively little direction given by me – and coming, as far as I am aware, with no advanced pre-existing knowledge of computing – within a few weeks Jiefeng was able to programme quite complex spatial stochastic models and use them to design and test ecological hypotheses."
"Following the success of the prizes this year, we will repeat this exercise in future years. All in the Society can be reassured that the future of our discipline appears to be in the very safest of hands!" remarked the BSPP.