Francis is based at NIAB East Malling in the pest and pathogen ecology department .
- Insect-plant and insect-virus interactions
- Insect pathogen discovery and molecular diagnostics.
His research interests are disrupting insect-mediated damage and transmission of plant pathogens and detecting pathogens in insect and plant hosts. He has worked quite extensively on understanding how insect (aphid) foraging, feeding and settling behaviour is manipulated by the presence of plant viruses and how this contributes to increased transmission of plant pathogens. Recently, his work has focused on insect-infecting viruses and their potential use as environmentally friendly biocontrol and disruption of insect vectoring of viral pathogens. To detect pathogens in insects and plants, he has extensively used high-throughput sequencing and developed molecular detection tools for accurate and speedy detection of bacterial and viral pathogens.
Wamonje FO, et al. (2021) Detection and identification of a ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacerum’ species from ash tree infesting psyllids. Phytopathology.
Mhlanga NM, Murphy AM, Wamonje FO et al. (2021). An innate preference of bumblebees for volatile organic compounds emitted by Phaseolus vulgaris plants infected with three different viruses. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Wamonje FO. (2020). Post-COVID-19 Action: Guarding Africa's crops against viral epidemics requires research capacity building that unifies a trio of transdisciplinary interventions. Viruses. DOI:10.3390/v12111276
Wamonje FO, et al. Three aphid-transmitted viruses encourage vector migration from infected common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) plants through a combination of volatile and surface cues (2020). Frontiers in Plant Science DOI:10.3389/fpls.2020.613772.
Wamonje FO, et al. (2020) Different plant viruses induce changes in feeding behaviour of specialist and generalist aphids on common bean that are likely to enhance virus transmission. Frontiers in Plant Science. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01811.