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Iryna Matsiakh

Iryna Matsiakh
I am a Ukrainian born in a city that smells of freedom, coffee, and chocolate. I love mountains and trees and I would like to spend the rest of my life discovering nature, in particular, tree pathogens and their beauty. Forest preservation and forest health may sound outlying and irrelevant to everyday living, but their impact is closer to our homes than we think.


March 2022 - present: Researcher at SLU (from 1st of March 2022) under a new FORMAS grant No. 2021-01119: The fungal pathogen Lecanosticta acicola: A new threat to the native Scots pine in Sweden;

May 2022: Analyst of SLU Forest Damage Center;

2018; 2021: A postdoc at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Alnarp, Sweden;

2012 - present: Assistant Professor at the Forestry Department, the Ukrainian National Forestry University (unpaid position);

Apr 2019 –Dec 2021: International expert (Forest Protection Division, National Forestry Agency of Georgia)

Associate Editor for the national journal "Forestry, Forest, Paper and Woodworking Industry" (NLTU, Ukraine);

2021 – present: Member of SLU Plant Protection Network;

2018 – present: Member of European Mycological Network (EMN); 

2016 – present: Member of EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization) Panels: P QPF (Quarantine Pests for Forestry) and P MYCO (Panel on Diagnostics in Mycology).


2022 spring Sweden: "Broadleaves Forest dynamics, biodiversity and management for multiple-use"

2022 autumn-winter Sweden: distance course "Diagnos, förebyggande och hantering av biotiska skogsskador"; "Urban tree and Forest health"

Course module 3: Forest HealthMy teaching experience started in 2008 and it covers laboratory courses "Forest Entomology" and "Forest Phytopathology" for bachelors in "Forestry"; training practice "Forest Protection", laboratory course "Forest Entomology" for bachelors in "Horticulture"; laboratory course "Entomology" for bachelors in "Ecology"; laboratory course "Plant Protection"  and since 2018 course "Integrated protection of garden and park trees" for master’s students of the specialty "Garden and park economy".

2020-2021: for master’s students in "Horticulture" laboratory course "Integrated protection of horticultural plants" 

In October 2017, I had 8 lectures as a part of the teaching Program for international academic mobility Erasmus+ (direction KA1), Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia. Forest Pathology, master course. 


My research interest and focus are related to forest pathology (tree diseases), partly forest entomology, and forest protection (prevention and control of tree diseases). Research activities are mostly concentrated on epidemiology, biological and ecological features of tree pathogens, and their interactions with tree hosts. I am curious about studying invasive pests and diseases in forests and green areas, to learn new diagnostic tools for the detection and investigation of forest tree diseases (molecular techniques) with practical activities in the field (using biological control treatment) in order to ensure the sustainable development of forests for future generations. I am also in an ideal position to transfer the knowledge related to plant protection to students and forestry specialists. 

I have provided services and expert advice related to forest health in the form of courses for forestry specialists and consultation services to forest workers and quarantine personnel informal training, seminars, and on-site visits to the forest sector and other relevant stakeholders. 

I was also responsible for practical training for foresters, NGOs, the local community, and interested stakeholders regarding phytosanitary conditions in chestnut forests affected by chestnut blight with particular emphasis on sanitary cuttings in the Zestaponi region (Georgia). Between 2021-2022, I was the Coordinating Leader of two national projects on protected areas in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and Kolkheti National Park in Georgia related to the management of heavily damaged pine forests and oak decline (full responsibility for logistics, funding management, communications, reporting, workshops, field staff training, field and laboratory work).


Many European forestry Universities and institutions, forestry enterprises in Ukraine and Georgia, quarantine services in Ukraine, CNF, UNDP, IUCN, EPPO, EMN, COST program.


2022, Dr. habil. Forestry, Biological Science, the Ukrainian National Forestry University

2013, Ph.D. Forestry, the Ukrainian National Forestry University. Discipline/Scientific Field: forestry, forest plant pathology

1997-2002: Student, the Ukrainian National Forestry University (Degree: specialist in forestry and horticulture)


Currently, I am the main supervisor of 1 Master's student and co-superviser of 1 PhD student in Sweden.  Previously I have supervised 16 undergraduate students as the main supervisor and co-supervisor (7 Masters and 10 Bachelor) and 1 internship student on short-term research stay (Lublin University, Poland) as the main supervisor.

Selected publications

Franić I., Allan E., Prospero S., Adamson K., …Matsiakh. I.,…. Eschen R. 2023. Climate, host and geography shape insect and fungal communities of trees. Scientifc Reports,13: 11570. 

Matsiakh, I., López-García, N., Kacprzyk, M., & Cleary, M. 2023. Susceptibility of silver birch and black alder to several Phytophthora species isolated from soils in declining broadleaf forests in western Ukraine. Forest Pathology, 00, e12817. 

Matsiakh, I.; Menkis, A. An Overview of Phytophthora Species on Woody Plants in Sweden and Other Nordic Countries. 2023. Microorganisms, 11, 1309. 

Jung T., Milenković I., Corcobado T., … Matsiakh I., Kramarets V., … Horta Jung M. 2022. Extensive morphological and behavioural diversity among fourteen new and seven described species in Phytophthora Clade 10 and its evolutionary implications. Persoonia 49: 1–57.

Laas M., Adamson K., Barnes I.,... Cleary M.,… Matsiakh I.,…. Sadiković D., Drenkhan R. 2022. Diversity, migration routes, and worldwide population genetic structure of Lecanosticta acicola, the causal agent of brown spot needle blight. Molecular Plant Pathology :1–20.

Matsiakh I., Kramarets V., Cleary M., 2021. Occurrence and diversity of Phytophthora species in declining broadleaf forests in western Ukraine, Forest Pathology, 51(1), e12662.

Agan A., Drenkhan R., Adamson K., Tedersoo L., Solheim H., Børja I., Matsiakh I., Timmermann V., Nagy N., Hietala A. 2020. The relationship between fungal diversity and invasibility of a foliar niche – the case of ash dieback. Journal of Fungi, 6(3): 150.

Morales-Rodríguez C., Anslan S., Auger-Rozenberg M-A., Augustin S., …Matsiakh I.,…et al. 2019. Forewarned is forearmed: harmonized approaches for early detection of potentially invasive pests and pathogens in sentinel plantings. Neobiota, 47: 95-123. 

Matsiakh I., Kramarets V., Mamadashvili G. 2018. Box tree moth Cydalima perspectalis as a threat of to the native populations of Buxus colchica in Republic of Georgia. 2017. Journal of the Entomological Research Society, 20(2): 29-42.

Mitchell R., Chitanava S., Dbar R., Kramarets V., Lehtijärvi A., Matchutadze I., Mamadashvili G., Matsiakh I., Nacambo S., Papazova-Anakieva I., Sathyapala S., Tuniyev B., Vétek G., Zukhbaia M., Kenis M. 2018. Identifying the ecological and societal consequences of a decline in Buxus spp. in Europe and the Caucasus. Biological Invasions, 20 (12): 3605-3620. I., Doğmuş-Lehtijärvi Tuğba H., Kramarets V., Aday Kaya A.G., Oskay F., Drenkhan R., Woodward S. 2018. Dothistroma spp. in Western Ukraine and Georgia - Short Communication. Forest Pathology. 2018;e12409.

Field Guide for the Identification of Damage on Wood Sentinel Plants. 2017. Ed. A. Roques, M. Cleary, I. Matsiakh, R. Eschen. CABI, 289 pp.

Matsiakh I., Kramarets V., Tsiklauri K. 2017. Imeretian oak and a great capricorn beetle – the problem of relations on the territory of Ajameti Managed Reserve (Republic of Georgia). Folia Forestalia Polonica, series A, Forestry, 59 (3): 165–174.

Matsiakh I., Solheim H., Hietala A.M., Nagy E.N., Kramarets V. 2017. Assessment of seasonal patterns in tissue-specific occurrence of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus in stems of Fraxinus excelsior. Baltic Forestry 23(1): 20-24.

Matsiakh I., Oszako T., Kramarets V., Nowakowska J. А. 2016. Phytophthora and Pythium species detected in rivers of Polish-Ukrainian border areas. Baltic Forestry 22(2): 230-238.

Matsiakh I., Solheim H., Nagy Nina E., Hietala Ari M., Kramarets V. 2016. Tissue-specific DNA levels and hyphal growth patterns of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus in stems of naturally infected Fraxinus excelsior saplings. Forest Pathology, 46: 206-214.

Jung T., Orlikowski L., Henricot B., Abad-Campos P.…, Kramarets V., I. Matsiakh I. et. al. 2015. Widespread Phytophthora infestations in European nurseries put forest, semi-natural and horticultural ecosystems at high risk of Phytophthora diseases. Forest Pathology, 46 (2): 134-163. DOI: 10.1111/efp.12239. 

Matsiakh I., Kramarets V., Orlikowski L.B., Trzewik A. 2012. First report on Phytophthora spp. and Pythium lito­rale occurrence in Beskid's rivers (of the Ukrainian Carpathians) / Pierwsze doniesienie o występowaniu Phytophthora spp. i Pythium litorale w rzekach Beskidu Ukraińskich Karpat. Progress in plant protection / Postępy w ochronie roślin. Vol. 52 (4): 1200-1203. (In Polish/English).

Links ResearchGate

Forest Pathology Lab in Alnarp