Professional summary

Research Interests

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.

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Helen_Hesketh

Brief CV

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

Qualifications

  • 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

Panels, committees and memberships

  • Editorial Board - Bulletin Entomological Research
  • Editorial Board - Biological Control
  • Editorial Board - BioControl
  • Secretary to Executive Council of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology (2020-2022)
  • 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)

Publications