My name is Sarah Maria Schmidt. I am a scientist, hobby photographer and banana lover. My main scientific interests are plant diseases. In the past few years, a new pathogenic fungus has started to spread around the globe. This nasty fungus is threatening my favourite breakfast ingredient – the banana. It is causing wilting of banana plants, which eventually prevents the fruit production. This disease is called Fusarium wilt or Panama Disease.
I began writing this blog on a field trip to Indonesia, where I joined a research mission of Dutch and Indonesian scientists. Together, we collected samples of banana plants that suffer from Panama Disease. Nowadays, I am using cutting-edge tools such as genome sequencing, bioinformatics and synthetic biology at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK and to develop bananas that are resistant against Panama Disease.