PhD: Complementary strategies for the sustainable management of an invasive pest in Africa
I completed my BSc in Biology at Royal Holloway University of London, where I predominantly focused on applied entomology. During my undergraduate dissertation, I produced a literature review titled ‘How insects use intracellular symbionts to overcome plant defences and some of the restrictions’. My undergraduate research project was titled ‘Can Mycorrhizae influence the infectivity of an entompathogen to Otiorhynchus sulcatus’. Following that, I undertook an MSc in Entomology at Harper Adams University, where my Master’s thesis focused on biological control of scale insects, which I presented at the International Congress of Entomology 2016.
My lifelong passion for insects has inspired me to take part in various work experience over the years. This led me to my first job as a Research Assistant at The Pirbright Institute. For two and a half years my team and I researched the Lepidoptera Diamond Back Moth (Plutella xylostella).
My PhD in collaboration with Rothamsted Research investigates the interaction between the soil microbiotic and plant health, and it’s response to the Fall Armyworm moth (Spodoptera frugiperda). In particular, I will focus on plant chemical responses. This is especially important because the Fall Armyworm is spreading throughout Africa and causing a major threat to maize production in Kenya. During my PhD I will use analytic chemistry to analyse plant volatiles and I will conduct mortality assays to test entomopathogen. The results of this study will further develop the current knowledge on soil conditioning and which biopesticides or agronomical options should be used in Kenya to control Fall Armyworm.