Professor Mike Pearson

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Honorary Academic

Research | Current

The main research interests of the group are virus diseases of plants and viruses infecting plant pathogenic fungi. Much of our plant virus research involves the study of previously undescribed viral diseases, with a particular emphasis on horticultural crops from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. This includes detection and characterisation of the causal agents, studying their epidemiology, and developing diagnostic tests, the ultimate objective being the development of practical control measures.

The research group has worked on a wide range of tropical and sub-tropical crops including taro, squash, ornamentals, kiwifruit, grapevine, citrus, kumara, and vanilla. The group is also interested in the effects of viruses on New Zealand native plants. Current and recent research topics include:

  • Molecular characterisation of kiwifruit viruses and development of diagnostic techniques (in conjunction with Zespri, Plant and Food Research and The University of Bologna, Italy)
  • Molecular diversity of Grapevine leaf roll virus 3 and implications for detection and epidemiology (in conjunction with Plant and Food Research and Corbans Viticulture)
  • Molecular characterisation of plant nepoviruses of biosecurity significance and development of diagnostic techniques (in conjunction with Ministry of Primary Industries)
Taro Tymv
Kiwi_virus_1 kiwi_virus_2

Research on mycoviruses is being carried out in collaboration with mycologists at Plant and Food Research, Auckland, and researchers at Bristol University, UK, with the ultimate aim of identifying viruses that might be used as biological controls of pathogenic fungi. Work to date has focused on the important plant pathogenic fungi Botrytis cinerea and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. This work is currently funded by the Bio-Protection Research Centre.

Areas of expertise


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Ejmal, M. A., Holland, D. J., MacDiarmid, R. M., & Pearson, M. N. (2018). The Effect of Aspergillus Thermomutatus Chrysovirus 1 on the Biology of Three Aspergillus Species. Viruses, 10 (10).10.3390/v10100539
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robin MacDiarmid
  • Suzuki, N., Ghabrial, S. A., Kim, K.-H., Pearson, M., Marzano, S.-Y. L., Yaegashi, H., ... Koloniuk, I. (2018). ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Hypoviridae. Journal of General Virology, 99 (5), 615-616. 10.1099/jgv.0.001055
  • Ejmal, M. A., Holland, D. J., MacDiarmid, R. M., & Pearson, M. N. (2018). A novel chrysovirus from a clinical isolate of Aspergillus thermomutatus affects sporulation. PloS one, 13 (12)10.1371/journal.pone.0209443
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robin MacDiarmid
  • Blouin, A. G., Biccheri, R., Khalifa, M. E., Pearson, M. N., Poggi Pollini, C., Hamiaux, C., ... Ratti, C. (2018). Characterization of Actinidia virus 1, a new member of the family Closteroviridae encoding a thaumatin-like protein. Archives of virology, 163 (1), 229-234. 10.1007/s00705-017-3610-z
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Arnaud Blouin
  • Sabanadzovic, S., Valverde, R. A., Khalifa, M., Pearson, M. N., Okada, R., & Aboughanem-Sabanadzovic, N. (2017). Taxonomic reorganization of the family Endornaviridae. Paper presented at Annual Meeting the American-Phytopathological-Society (APS), San Antonio, TX. 5 August - 9 August 2017. PHYTOPATHOLOGY. (pp. 1).
  • Amarasinghe, G. K., Bào Y, Basler, C. F., Bavari, S., Beer, M., Bejerman, N., ... Bukreyev, A. (2017). Taxonomy of the order Mononegavirales: update 2017. Archives of virology, 162 (8), 2493-2504. 10.1007/s00705-017-3311-7
  • Puli'uvea C, Khan, S., Chang, W.-L., Valmonte, G., Pearson, M. N., & Higgins, C. M. (2017). First complete genome sequence of vanilla mosaic strain of Dasheen mosaic virus isolated from the Cook Islands. Archives of virology, 162 (2), 591-595. 10.1007/s00705-016-3133-z
  • Higgins, C. M., Bejerman, N., Li, M., James, A. P., Dietzgen, R. G., Pearson, M. N., ... Harding, R. M. (2016). Erratum to: Complete genome sequence of Colocasia bobone disease-associated virus, a putative cytorhabdovirus infecting taro. Archives of Virology, 161 (10), 2951-2952. 10.1007/s00705-016-2995-4

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 338A
New Zealand

Web links