Stem rust training course opportunity for early career wheat scientists

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Course announcement: "Standardization of stem rust field notes and germplasm evaluation, with discussions on stripe rust and leaf rust”

Tentative dates: Oct 5-13, 2019, KALRO, Njoro, Kenya

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in collaboration with Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and Cornell University under the Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat (DGGW) project are pleased to announce the 2019 course on “Standardization of stem rust field notes and germplasm evaluation, with discussions on stripe rust and leaf rust”.

The course is designed for new and upcoming wheat breeders and pathologists from public and private sector in Africa, Middle East, and Central and South Asia, who wish to learn about the three rust pathogens. The course will include field and greenhouse evaluation of germplasm for reaction to stem rust and the standardization of these notes. The course will also include lectures on epidemiology and pathology of yellow (stripe) rust and brown (leaf) rust. Students will be updated with current knowledge and innovative techniques that progress and efficiency in their breeding activities.

Course Objectives:

At the end of this course, participants will have completed a comprehensive overview of the nature of scoring stem rust and germplasm evaluation, and be equipped with information and skills to more effectively evaluate wheat for resistance to stem rust, stripe rust and leaf rust.


1. Participants will be exposed to useful and stimulating educational experiences that will enable them to acquire sufficient understanding and knowledge to:

  • Evaluate and record stem rust observations on wheat germplasm from several countries for response to the Ug99 race of stem rust, including evaluation for Adult Plant Resistance (APR)
  • Understand the principle involved in pathotype analysis and race nomenclature
  • Understand the relationship of trap plots to informed surveillance and developing an initial awareness of pathogen populations in their home country
  • Comment on recent developments in efforts to agree on standardized rust nomenclature
  • Make a significant improvement on standardizing practices for evaluating wheat for rusts in their home countries

2. Participants will be encouraged to develop an awareness of issues relevant to note taking and germplasm evaluation, such as

  • Appreciation of the need for standardized methods of recording, reporting, and interpreting rust observations.
  • Necessity of international communication and cooperation to combat the transboundary rust diseases.

Educational Objectives

1. Knowledge with understanding trainees should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding related to:

  • Standardizing methods of interpreting and recording stem rust observations in the field
  • Standard scales for recording seedling infection types and the relationship to race analysis and race nomenclature
  • Field screening methodologies, including disease nursery  management
  • Resistance gene identification, including major and minor gene effects
  • Use of fungicides in control of the pathogen
  • Slow rusting to stem rusting evaluations
  • Race-specific resistance genes and their expression in greenhouse (seedling) and in field
  • Trap nurseries and their use in pathogen monitoring

2. Handling Information and Problem Solving -Trainees should be able to:

  • Understand standardized note taking methods and recent developments
  • Use information to practice effective note taking
  • Discuss and disseminate information regarding standard scales for note taking

3. Practical training with hands-on training to enable them to:

  • Recognize and report stem rust using a standard scale they will become familiar with
  • Interpret stem rust observations on germplasm and indicator varieties
  • Use lab and field methodologies to improve their understanding of stem rust pathogen populations


This course is a unique professional development opportunity for early career wheat scientists who work in the public or private sectors. Scientists working in National Agricultural Research System (NARS), particularly in the area of wheat breeding and pathology will find this course useful. Participants must fulfill the following requirements:

  • English proficiency to allow for full participation in the course program and discussions.
  • Expected level of participants - PhD or MSc with at least 3 years of experience.
  • Active involvement in research in the area of wheat breeding or pathology.
  • Demonstrated professional experience and leadership potential. Language of the course: English.

Course Lecture Notes: Most of the course lecture notes, presentations, as well as some reference materials will be published electronically.


There will be limited amount of fellowships provided for course participants. The cost for self-sponsored participants is USD $1,500 (excluding air travel). Number of participants is limited to 20.

Intent to participate must be received at CIMMYT no later than Aug. 31, 2019.

Contact person:

Dr. Mandeep Randhawa ( with cc to Maingi Charity ( Wheat Breeder and Wheat Rust pathologist

Manager-International Stem Rust (Ug99) Phenotyping Platform Njoro International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF Campus),

United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, PO Box 1041-00621, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: +254 20 722 4661 (direct) Cell: +254 739 842 527