Peter van Esse presented an overview of the mission of the 2Blades Foundation and how they approach public outreach.
Peter is a research group leader for the non-profit 2Blades Foundation, with his research group embedded within The Sainsbury Laboratory at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. The mission of the 2Blades Foundation is to discover, advance, and deliver genetic improvements in crop disease resistance, with a focus on improving food security in developing countries. Peter’s laboratory has been identifying naturally occurring disease resistance genes that confer resistance to rust fungi, with a near term goal of conferring resistance to Asian Soybean Rust and Wheat Stem Rust. The 2Blades Foundation has effectively exploited Twitter and other social media outlets to promote awareness of the challenges presented by plant diseases, and the power of genetics to address these challenges. In addition, they have created a series of infographics and videos to help explain these issues to the public.