Estrella is a Future Leader

Posted on January 5, 2017 in News by . Share this article

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has awarded one of its prestigious Future Leader Fellowships to Dr Estrella Luna-Diez, a P3 Research Fellow.

Estrella’s fellowship provides her with funding to establish herself as an independent researcher and develop the research that will allow her to set up her own research group within the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences.

The research programme that Estrella is undertaking focuses on building tomato crops robust enough to overcome emerging threats. She explained: “Threats to tomato crops include pathogenic, filamentous fungi. There are many directives that restrict the use of fungicides so, in order to grow healthy crops, alternative methods of protection must be found.

“I will study the genetics of the tomato immune system with a view to enhancing the capacity of plants to defend themselves against emerging diseases. I will treat tomatoes with b-amino butyric acid (BABA), which can prime the plants immune system, then identify the genes that lead to the best response by the plants.”

Estrella explained why she is keen to undertake her fellowship at the University of Sheffield: “The University of Sheffield is a really excellent institution to establish a research career in. With so many plant and soil world experts and its key focus on translational research, the P3 Centre at the University is the best place for me to establish my research credentials and nurture the networks that will be the foundation for my career in crop protection biology.

“In addition, through its staff development programmes created for early career researchers, the University of Sheffield provides many supportive activities such as training workshops, career mentoring and work-based opportunities.”

Estrella, who recently received confirmation of the funding award, will be joining other newly appointed Future Leader Fellows in London later in January when she attends a kick-off meeting.

For further information, please contact: Estrella Luna-Diez, P3 Independent Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, 0114 222 4621,

To read other news releases about the University of Sheffield, visit


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, BBSRC invested £473M in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

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