Mike Jeger is an Emeritus Professor in the Division of Ecology and Evolution and Senior Research Investigator in the Centre for Environmental Policy based at the Silwood Park campus of Imperial College, London. He received a PhD in plant pathology from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1979, having worked under the joint supervision of Professors Gareth Jones and Ellis Griffiths on disease spread in heterogeneous mixed stands of cereal cultivars. He moved to East Malling Research Station working on the epidemiology and management of airborne fungal diseases of top fruit from 1978 to 1983. From 1983 to 1986, he was an Associate Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M University working on the epidemiology of soilborne diseases, receiving tenure in 1986. In that year he joined what eventually became the UK Natural Resources Institute working on tropical plant diseases, subsequently taking on the roles of Head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Research Director. He moved to Wageningen University to take up the position of Professor of Ecological Plant Pathology from 1994 to 1999.
With the new millennium he joined Wye College, University of London, as Professor of Horticulture in October 1999, which merged with Imperial College in 2000. With the demise of agriculture at the College he was appointed Campus Dean in 2006 to oversee the winding down and eventual closure of the campus in 2009. During this period he was based at the Silwood Park campus where he continued his research, especially in theoretical epidemiology, with main collaborators including Frank van den Bosch (Rothamsted Research), Larry Madden (Ohio State University) and Xiangming Xu (East Malling Research). Topics include network analysis for the movement of plant pathogens in the nursery trade, with Marco Pautasso; modelling of plant virus epidemics; mechanisms and deployment strategies for biocontrol of foliar plant pathogens; diseases in natural grassland communities; and the epidemiology of Acute Oak Decline, with Forest Research. These research lines have continued since his academic retirement in 2010. He currently chairs the Plant Health Panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which conducts pest risk assessments at the request of the European Commission.
During his research career he has worked with a wide range of plant pathogens, including fungi, viruses, bacteria and nematodes, across all crop types including annual and perennial crops and trees. He has published more than 200 refereed journal articles and book chapters, made keynote plenary presentations at international congresses, including those for Plant Protection in Jerusalem 1998, and for Plant Pathology in Christchurch 2003. He has supervised/co-supervised/promoted 30 PhD students in the UK, the USA and the Netherlands. He was Senior Editor of Plant Pathology from 1990 to 1994 and President of the BSPP in 1999, having previously served as a member of Council from 1987 to 1989. He was made Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society in 1988. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Plant Pathology, published in co-operation with the European Foundation for Plant Pathology. Internationally, he is involved with the International Society for Plant Pathology Committee on Epidemiology, currently planning the next International Epidemiology Workshop to be held in conjunction with ICPP 2013 in Beijing. He has contributed more widely in service to agriculture and in 2009/10 was President of the Association of Applied Biologists.