NIAB has appointed Dr Gia Aradottir to lead its emerging cereal entomology research programme.
Dr Aradottir will be developing NIAB’s research into plant-pest interactions in cereal and other combinable crops. This includes studying aphid resistance in wheat from a diverse background, working with NIAB plant breeders in identifying beneficial traits that can be translated from wild relatives into commercial varieties, further advancing the institute’s work in working with industry to deliver new sources of wheat genetic innovation onto farm.
Dr Richard Harrison, NIAB’s Director of Cambridge Crop Research says, “It is a pleasure to welcome Gia to the team at Cambridge. Our crop research programme will benefit enormously from her experience and knowledge, both in field work and plant genetics. She is well known and respected across the UK and globally for her research and communication skills. We are looking forward to a new chapter in cereal entomology research at NIAB and our wider Cambridge partnerships.”
Speaking about her appointment Dr Aradottir highlighted the opportunities in being part of an organisation that has an international reputation for independence and innovation in applied science: “There is an increased urgency to develop sustainable crop protection solutions in agriculture, both in the UK as well as globally. So, I am very excited about joining NIAB as this brings an opportunity to work more closely with breeders to identify and deliver plant resistance traits to insects and the diseases they transmit, which could bring real impact.”
Dr Aradottir’s research is based on insect-plant interactions, insect pest behaviour and management in agro-ecosystems. She joins NIAB from Rothamsted Research where she has led work on the identification of aphid resistance in wheat as part of the BBSRC-funded ‘Designing Future Wheat’ industry research programme. She has also investigated resilience in wheat to the aphid-transmitted barley yellow dwarf virus as part of the Defra-funded Wheat Genetic Information Network.
A visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, Dr Aradottir is a regular speaker to science, industry and agricultural audiences, and a contributor to the Science Media Centre, Sense about Science and the BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme. A Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society she holds several committee and convener posts, including on the Society’s Aphid Special Interest Group, the International Plant Resistance to Insects working group and is an editorial board member for the Annals of Applied Biology.