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​2024 Fellow: Blanca Beatriz Landa​

Blanca B. Landa was born in Córdoba, Spain. She has an M.S. degree in agricultural engineer (1995) and a Ph.D. degree in agronomy-plant protection (1999) from the University of Córdoba (UCO). Her master's and Ph.D. research was on biocontrol of Fusarium wilt in chickpeas. In 2000–2001, she was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington State University, Pullman, working on the microbial ecology of disease-suppressive soils. She rejoined UCO, first with a European Union (EU) postdoctoral contract to study the genetic diversity of Xylella fastidiosa, and then obtained a highly competitive Ramón y Cajal Scientific Postdoctoral Fellowship to develop integrated disease-management programs through host resistance, agricultural practices, and stimulation of autochthonous microorganisms. In 2007, she joined the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IAS)-Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Córdoba as a research scientist. Dr. Landa has completed more than 15 research visits at different international laboratories.

Dr. Landa is recognized internationally as a leader in fundamental and applied research on the ecology, epidemiology, biocontrol, and cultural management of both soilborne and vascular pathogens. She has made major contributions in a wide variety of pathosystems, including X. fastidiosa and Verticillium dahliae on olive, Fusarium oxysporum on chickpea, Gaeumannomyces tritici on wheat, Peronospora arborescens on pharmaceutical opium poppy, and Meloidogyne spp. on potato, grapevines, and chickpeas, to name just a few. Most recently, her research has focused on X. fastidiosa, which is threatening olive production throughout southern Europe, as well as other crops such as almonds and grapes. When Xylella began to devastate centuries-old olive orchards in the Lecce Province in Italy in 2014, Dr. Landa was asked by the Directorate General of the Directorate General of Health and Food Safety from the European Commission to serve as an external auditor to assess the disease outbreak and to provide management recommendations. After that trip, she was convinced that she had to devote her research in Spain to keeping Xylella from spreading into Spanish olive orchards. In southern Spain alone, there are more than 1.6 million ha of olive orchards, a crop that is an essential part of the Spanish economy and an intrinsic part of the landscape and cultural inheritance.

Dr. Landa succeeded in getting multidisciplinary and international groups of researchers to work together on Xylella, which is a quarantine priority pest in Europe. She coordinated a €1-million research project financed by the Spanish government and the olive industry. Currently, she leads a 31-institution and 14-country €6.7-million project, “Beyond Xylella, Integrated Management Strategies for Mitigating Xylella fastidiosa Impact in Europe" ( focused on managing Xylella. She raised €1 million for the design and construction of the largest quarantine facility in Spain, which is permitted to perform experiments with Xylella on olive and other tree crops. She currently coordinates the Interdisciplinary Thematic Platform of CSIC on X. fastidiosa (, which includes more than 15 research groups from 10 Institutes from CSIC.

Dr. Landa has published more than 145 peer-reviewed publications. She has also published more than 24 meeting abstracts in JCR-SCI referred journals, and more than 55 scientific papers, book chapters, and technical publications in nonreferred journals. She also edited a book on X. fastidiosa. Dr. Landa is widely sought as a speaker at national and international conferences, having given 49 invited presentations at scientific meetings.

Dr. Landa has an outstanding record of service to the field of plant pathology. She has served in many leadership roles, including current president of the Spanish Phytopathological Society (SEF;, member of the governing board of SEF (2010–2014), member of the governing board of the Mediterranean Phytopathological Union (MPU) (2017–present), head of the Crop Protection Department, IAS (2022–present), coordinator of the Biosecurity Commission on Plant Pathogens at IAS (2017–present). Dr. Landa is or has been section editor, associate editor, and consulting editor of the Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, Plant and Soil, Frontiers Microbiology, Peer J, and Annals of Applied Biology. She is currently a senior editor for Phytopathology.

Dr. Landa has been instrumental in training a generation of students in plant pathology. She has taught more than 10 undergraduate, graduate, and diploma courses in plant pathology, mycology, and crop pest identification. At UCO and IAS, she has supervised 9 Ph.D. and 9 M.S. students and hosted more than 40 visiting scientists from more than nine countries and four continents. She is committed to mentoring future scientists by funding Introduction to Research Scholarships for 10 undergraduate students to help foster their research careers.

Dr. Landa has a long record of activities related to communication, outreach, and transfer of scientific results through collaborations with stakeholders. She raises public awareness of plant diseases by organizing and participating in courses, conferences, and appearances both in social (web, Twitter [now X], Instagram, etc.) and regular media (newspapers, industry publications, radio, TV). She provides technical expertise to help with the implementation of specific policies at regional, national, and EU levels. She has organized and participated in different plant pathology specialized courses and, more recently, on X. fastidiosa. Since 2014, she has acted as external expert for X. fastidiosa in different panels and working groups for the Food and Veterinary Office (DG-Sante), European Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and has been the coordinating expert of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP)-Focus Group on Pests and Diseases of Olive Trees. Starting July 1, 2024, she will be a member of the EFSA Panel on Plant Health (PLH). Her research laboratory has been designated as the reference laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture to genetically type X. fastidiosa populations detected in Spain at the subspecies level. Dr. Landa also provides technical and scientific support to farmers and other laboratories. She coordinates four technical services at IAS for diagnosis of plant pathogens, microbiome analysis, and testing plant resistance or chemical and biological products to control plant diseases.

Dr. Landa's world-class research, dedication to teaching and mentoring students, sustained service to phytopathology and agriculture in Europe, and, especially, her innovative research efforts to protect the Spanish olive industry from X. fastidiosa qualifies her for selection as a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society.​