PhD Students

Katie Stewart

Katherine’s research interests include plant-pathogen interactions and the many disciplines involved in this, including genetics, molecular microbiology and plant breeding.

Currently she is carrying out a PhD in environment and agrifood, and is based between NIAB at East Malling and Cranfield University. Her project focusses on the sexual reproduction of the apple scab fungus (Venturia inaequalis) with the aim to identify new methods to reduce the incidence and severity of infection in orchards.

Eda Knights

Research interests

I joined the team of Dr. Stéphanie Swarbreck as a PhD student in October 2023. In my project the overall hypothesis to be tested is whether we can reduce greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions associated with wheat production by careful selection of new wheat lines and agronomic practises associated with regenerative agriculture.

Deborah Babalola

Research interests

Deborah has a BTech and MSc in Biochemistry. Her research interest is in the applications of genetics and genomic tools to crop improvement for economic sustainability, enhanced nutrition, and health.

She is currently enrolled in the CTP-FCR PhD studentship in Crop Sciences at the University of Reading and based at NIAB East Malling. Her PhD research is focused on understanding the mechanism and genetic control of primocane and floricane fruiting habits in raspberries and blackberries.

Catherine Chapman

Research project:

Below ground carbon sequestration potential of apple trees
Date: September 2019- September 2023
Partners: University of Reading, NIAB East Malling and CTP FCR
Funders: AHDB, BBSRC, Berry Gardens, M&S, NACM, WorldWide Fruits and The Worshipful Company of Fruiters.

David Fisher

David is a second year PhD student, under the SoCoBio DTP programme, whose current research focuses on understanding and improving the nutritional quality of fruit and vegetable, within the wider context of improving food system sustainability and micronutrient security.

He is particularly interested in the application of stress conditioning as a means of increasing nutrient accumulation in strawberry, as well as subsequent associations between nutritional quality and crop tolerance of pre- and post-harvest stresses.

Camila Gonzalez Campo

Camila has a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Plant Breeding. Her research interest include molecular genetics and genome editing for precision crop breeding and she is currently carrying out a full-time BBSRC PhD studentship in Crop Sciences at the University of Reading, based at NIAB East Malling.

Research project

Camila's PhD project is focused on understanding the genetic control of the everbearing trait in the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) by using gene editing, and to further develop reliable markers for the selection of optimised everbearing habit.

Ece Imam Moustafa

Ece works in NIAB's Crop Science and Production Systems department in East Malling, specialising in plant physiology.

Research projects

Title: Improving cane crop resilience by overcoming the legacy effects on photosynthesis from short-term stresses
Partners: NIAB , University of Essex, AHDB & Berry Gardens
Funders:  BBSRC, CTP-FCR

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