From top ranking student...
Brett Summerell has been collecting fungi and plants his entire life and always loved getting out into the Australian bush. It was this enthusiasm that led him to study a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Sydney in 1985 where he also won the University Medal as the top ranked student in that year.
In 1988 he became Dr Brett Summerell when he received his PhD under world-renowned plant pathologist Professor Lester Burgess. Just one year later on the 9th of January 1989 (30 years ago today) Dr Summerell began his career at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney as a Plant Pathologist - researching and understanding fungi that cause diseases in Australian plants.
Dr Brett Summerell at the Sydney Tropical Centre (now The Calyx) in 1994 implementing biological control programs to control insect pests affecting the living collection.
...To fungi expert
Dr Summerell is now considered one of Australia’s foremost experts on the deadly Fusarium pathogen which can wreak havoc on our food crops and native plants.
He often travels around the world to teach people how to recognise Fusarium and other plant pathogens as they emerge in crops.
In fact, Dr Summerell just came back to the Garden after spending five months at Kansas State University as the 2017-2018 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The fuzzy white substance is the deadly Fusarium oxysporum plant pathogen that can destroy food crops.