Philip A. Roberts

Rev. 01/01/2020




Dr. Roberts received a B. Sc. (Honors) in Agricultural Zoology from the University of Leeds (1975) and a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham (1978).  He moved to the Department of Nematology, University of California, Riverside, as a postdoctoral researcher.  In 1981, he joined the department as an Assistant Nematologist/Assistant Extension Nematologist stationed at Kearney Agricultural Center and was promoted to the Associate level in 1986.  In 1990, he moved to the UC-Riverside main campus, and was promoted to Professor in 1992.  He served as Chair of the Department in 1996, but was soon appointed Associate Dean of the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS).  In 2001, he returned to the Department as Professor of Nematology and Nematologist.

Dr. Roberts has established a unique research program that has earned him international recognition in host-plant resistance to phytoparasitic nematodes, including Meloidogyne spp.  His research addresses various biological components of the host-parasite system, ranging from basic questions of resistance gene interaction, inheritance, and expression, to the application of host plant resistance in cropping systems and its use in understanding the effects of interacting disease organisms.  This focus provides an integrated framework for scholarly endeavor and is of critical importance to agriculture because many chemical control approaches are restricted or disappearing due to regulatory exclusion.  Dr. Roberts is very involved in the discovery, characterization, and evaluation of resistance in many economically important crops as diverse as carrot, cotton, and tomato.  As one example, he made major contributions to alleviation of world hunger through his long-term studies on root-knot resistance in cowpea, which culminated in release of nematode-resistant commercial cowpea.  His research productivity has resulted in 201 publications: 64 refereed journal publications and reviews; 8 semi-technical reviewed publications; 19 invited chapters; 34 bulletins, reports, special publications, and proceedings; 2 book reviews; and 74 abstracts.  He also has a patent pending on nematode resistance in lima bean.  An excellent collaborator and instructor, Dr. Roberts has been and continues to be a mentor for numerous graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting scientists.

Dr. Roberts has an exemplary commitment to service.  For example, he has provided leadership to a number of committees for the Society of Nematologists, serves on the Editorial Board for the journal Nematology, and has been a long-time member of the Cotton Disease Council of the National Cotton Council.  He is in high demand as a seminar speaker and reviewer for competitive grants and technical articles.

Dr. Roberts received the CIBA Award from the Society of Nematologists in 1994, and in 2001 he was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.   

In 2004, Dr. Roberts was named Fellow of the Society of Nematologists.


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