Josh’s research involves investigating how plants respond to insect attack and focusses on understanding the signalling mechanisms involved in plant defences against aphids.
Aphids are herbivorous insects which utilise a piercing stylet to feed on plants. In doing so, they can alter plant metabolism, reduce plant growth and transmit plant pathogens. This, along with their pesticide resistance and ability to rapidly colonise plants, makes them a formidable pest.
Understanding a plants natural defence mechanisms against these insects may provide opportunities to enhance crop resistance against aphids.
With this in mind, Josh’s research exploits a range of techniques within microscopy, genetics and molecular biology, to better understand how the model plant, Arabidopsis, recognises and responds to a range of aphid species.