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My research interests are in the biological control of invertebrate pests and the ecology of insect pathogens, especially insect pathogenic viruses and fungi. I am particularly interested in how co-infections of pathogens (and other toxins) affect disease severity and transmission in insect populations and the implications this has for sustainable pest control and as a regulating factor in populations of beneficial insects. I use mixed pathogen studies in model invertebrate host systems to understand ecological mechanisms and predict infection in different mixed infection scenarios. Emergent parasites and pathogens are a major threat to biodiversity and much of my current work focusses on the effects of pathogens on non-managed insect populations to improve our understanding of the ecological mechanisms that underpin the role that microbial pathogens play in insect population dynamics.
2003 - I Joined the CEH Disease Ecology group to work on a Defra project investigating the potential to exploit mixed pathogen infections for biological control of Horticultural pests.
2001 - Horticulture Research International (East Malling). Numerous projects in top fruit (apples, cherries) and soft fruit (primarily strawberries) involving chemical and biological pest control. This inluded work with; entomopathogenic fungi, synthetic pesticides and pheromones against aphids, weevils and Lepidoptera.
2001 - Central Science Laboratory (York - now fera). Short project involving bioprospecting for potential biological control agents for the common house dust mite. This was funded by DtI as a blue skies project with a private company.
1999 - HortResearch, Canterbury (NZ). Comparison of native and exotic entomopathogenic fungi to control diamondback moth and common NZ leafroller species, building on work developed between Rothamsted Research and HortResearch
- 2000 PhD, University of Nottingham, "A biorational approach to selecting mycoinsecticides for aphid control" (based at Rothamsted Research)
- 1996 MSc Temperate & Tropical Agronomy (Distinction), University of Nottingham
- 1993 BSc Hons. Biology (Upper 2nd Class), University of Southampton
- Editorial Board - Bulletin Entomological Research
- Editorial Board - Biological Control
- Trustee of the Society of Invertebrate Pathology (SIP)
- Current Chair - Division of Diseases of Beneficial Invertebrates, SIP (2016-2018)
- Chair - Division of Fungi, SIP (2011-2015)
- Member Society Invertebrate Pathology (SIP)
- Member British Ecological Society (BES)