Matias Silva, mentee in the 2020-21 program in VIC (Deakin University).

Matias Silva is currently a second-year PhD student at Deakin University, researching plant pathology. Matias holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering and moved from Chile to pursue a Master’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Melbourne in 2016.

Matias’ PhD research project focuses on control strategies and understanding the biology of the fungus Gnomoniopsis smithogilvyi that causes chestnut rot. So far, he has developed a diagnostic technique based on PCR and described part of the infection process of this disease. During the second part of the project, Matias will be evaluating different approaches including biological and conventional control strategies to minimize the impact of this disease.

The research project is co-funded by an industry partner leader in the chestnut sector. This has allowed Matias to engage directly with growers and thus knowing the real challenges that the industry faces today. This unique opportunity has helped him to drive his research project to find meaningful results that could positively impact on the chestnut industry.

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