From early on I was interested in nature and the environment. I enjoyed biology at school and studied ecology at university. Through my studies I became aware that ecology can play a useful role in crop protection research. Pest problems can become uncontrollable due to changing populations, ecology helps us to better understand these dynamics. I later completed an M.Sc. in applied entomology and a Ph.D. in chemical ecology. In my spare time I enjoy swimming and hiking.
Agriculture interests me because of the vital role it plays in global food security and the opportunities for reducing our environmental footprint through more efficient farming practices. Since 2000 I have been working at Rothamsted Research, focusing on chemical ecology and integrated pest management (IPM). My greatest success so far is contributing to development of an IPM system for orange wheat blossom midge based on resistant wheat varieties and pheromone traps to rationalise insecticide use.
Currently I lead three projects: one developing a lure-and-kill system for beetle pests of beans involving formulating an aggregation pheromone with an entomopathogenic fungus; a project on maize that responds to insect egg laying by emitting odours that attract natural enemies of the pest; and CROPROTECT, an innovative online resource for knowledge exchange with farmers and agronomists in the UK.