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Patrick Sherwood

Patrick Sherwood
I am a forest pathologist specializing in chemical ecology, molecular disease diagnostics and plant resistance mechanisms to pathogens and insects. My research interests lie in understanding the basic mechanisms governing pathogen infection and tree resistance, and the external factors that influence these interactions. I desire to use this knowledge to better safeguard our forest ecosystem and develop practical tools useful for forest protection.


Associate Senior Lecturer in Forest Pathology (Assistant Professor), Researcher


I am a lecturer at SLU for several courses including Trees: structure and function (BI1385), Urban tree health and development (SV0015), Diagnosis prevention and management of biotic forest damage (SG0271), Plant breeding and protection biology (BI1296), and Broadleaves: forest dynamics, biodiversity and management for multiple-use (SG0235).

I am also a “writing coordinator” for the writing across the curriculum aspect of the Forest and Landscape international bachelor’s program at SLU. In this role, I help teach students how to improve their academic and professional writing skills. I work with students through the entirety of the program, tracking their progress and providing feedback on their writing.


My research has focused primarily on understanding how trees and pathogens interact biochemically and how these interactions are modulated by the environment. During my Ph.D. studies and work at the James Hutton Institute, I investigated the role of specialized metabolites like phenolics and terpenoids in pine and how they are involved in defense against fungal and insect pests. I also examined the role of certain primary metabolites and how their levels change during environmental stress and how these physiological changes may predispose trees to subsequent fungal infections.

During a brief postdoc, I worked in collaboration with the J.M. Smuckers company investigating coffee bean biochemistry and bean microbiome to understand their contributions to bean quality and beverage flavor.

My current research program focuses on using the latest technologies to better protect and safeguard Swedish forests against damaging biotic agents. One major aim is to use nanopore sequencing and volatilomics into tools for detecting pathogens of forest trees. Another aspect of my research focuses on developing infrared spectroscopy methods for the rapid screening of Scots pine genotypes for desirable traits like resistance to pathogens.


I currently collaborate with: Assoc. Prof. Michelle Cleary (SLU) on a number of projects related to detecting invasive forest pathogens and tree improvement, with Assoc. Prof. Jonas Rönnberg (SLU) on practical issues related to Heterobasidion root rot of conifers, with Prof. Malin Elfstrand (SLU) on Norway spruce-Heterobasidion resistance and disease detection, and with Dr. Mateusz Liziniewicz (The Forest Research Institute – Skogforsk) on genetic improvement of trees.

My international collaborations are with Dr. Carmen Romeralo Tapia (CIFOR, Spain) on tree microbiology, with Prof. Stephen Woodward (University of Aberdeen, UK) on chemical volatiles for early detection of pests and pathogens, with Prof. Pierluigi Bonello (The Ohio State University, USA) on sentinel plantations for detecting invasive tree pests, with Dr. Iva Franic (WSL, Swizterland) on detecting seed borne pathogens, and with Dr. Diana Marčiulynienė (Lithuanian Forest Research Institute) on larch tree biochemistry.



Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, with specialization in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from The Ohio State University, USA (2014).

B.S. in Molecular Genetics, minor in Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, USA (2009).

Work Experience and History

Feb 2022 – current: Associate Senior Lecturer at SLU
Aug 2021 – Jan 2022: Researcher at SLU
Aug 2019 – Jul 2021: Postdoctoral Researcher at SLU
Jul 2015 – Jan 2018: Chemical Ecologist at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen UK
Sep 2014 – July 2015: Postdoctoral Researcher at The Ohio State University
Sep 2009 – Aug 2014: Graduate Research Associate at The Ohio State University
Aug 2005 – Aug 2009: Student Researcher at The Ohio State University


I am currently a co-supervisor to three Ph.D. students in the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre (2) and Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology (1).

Selected publications

Blomquist, M., Cleary, M., Sherwood, P., Pinto, W., Larsson Herrera, S., Marčiulynienė, D., et al. (2023) The potential of biological control against Heterobasidion root rot is not realized in practical forestry. Forest Ecology and Management, 531, 120778.

Nordström, I., Sherwood, P., Bohman, B., Woodward, S., Peterson, D. L., Niño-Sánchez, J., et al. (2022) Utilizing volatile organic compounds for early detection of Fusarium circinatum. Sci Rep, 12, 21661.

Zaluma, A., Sherwood, P., Bruna, L., Skola, U., Gaitnieks, T. and Rönnberg, J. (2021) Control of Heterobasidion in Norway Spruce Stands: The Impact of Stump Cover on Efficacy of Urea and Phlebiopsis gigantea and Implications for Forest Management. 12, 679.

Conrad, A. O., Villari, C., Sherwood, P. and Bonello, P. (2020) Phenotyping Austrian Pine for Resistance Using Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, 46, 276-286.

Klutsch, J. G., Najar, A., Sherwood, P., Bonello, P. and Erbilgin, N. (2017) A Native Parasitic Plant Systemically Induces Resistance in Jack Pine to a Fungal Symbiont of Invasive Mountain Pine Beetle. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 43, 506-518.

Erbilgin, N., Cale, J. A., Lusebrink, I., Najar, A., Klutsch, J. G., Sherwood, P., et al. (2016) Water-deficit and fungal infection can differentially affect the production of different classes of defense compounds in two host pines of mountain pine beetle. Tree Physiology, 37, 338-350.

Sherwood, P. and Bonello, P. (2016) Testing the systemic induced resistance hypothesis with Austrian pine and Diplodia sapinea. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 94, 118-125.

Sherwood, P., Villari, C., Capretti, P. and Bonello, P. (2015) Mechanisms of induced susceptibility to Diplodia tip blight in drought-stressed Austrian pine. Tree Physiology, 35, 549-562.

Soltis, N. E., Gomez, S., Leisk, G. G., Sherwood, P., Preisser, E. L., Bonello, P. and Orians, C. M. (2013) Failure under stress: the effect of the exotic herbivore Adelges tsugae on biomechanics of Tsuga canadensis. Annals of Botany, 113, 721-730.

Sherwood, P. and Bonello, P. (2013) Austrian pine phenolics are likely contributors to systemic induced resistance against Diplodia pinea. Tree Physiology, 33, 845-854.