Association of Applied Biologists
AAB - President

The Nematology Group was established in 1973 when the main topics of interest were the biology and control of plant parasitic nematodes.


Whilst these subjects remain very much within the concern of the Group, our range of interests has broadened to include the population biology, ecology, genetics and biological control of all types of nematodes, as well as the use of nematodes as biological control organisms and as environmental bioindicators.


Each December, the Group holds a popular annual conference ‘Advances in Nematology’ at the Linnean Society in central London, offering the opportunity for nematologists to meet and discuss their research in an informal setting, albeit in the same room associated with the delivery in 1858 of Charles Darwin’s and Alfred Russell Wallace’s papers on natural selection. As well as keynote papers from invited speakers, this conference provides a forum for presentations of new research and has provided a platform for many scientists new to nematology, including many international students, to make their first presentations.  


The Group has also recently held a second meeting on ‘Nematodes as Environmental Bioindicators’ and is planning a ‘4th Symposium on ‘Potato Cyst Nematodes’.


The Nematology Group is keen to integrate with other Groups to develop a cross-disciplinary forum for highlighting new and innovative research and we are always interested to hear ideas for future workshops and conferences.

Matthew Back

Matthew has a first degree in Zoology (Royal Holloway University of London) and an MSc in Plant Health (University of Leeds). Following brief periods at CSL (now FERA) and Cambridge University Farm, Matthew moved to Harper Adams University College (now Harper Adams University) in 1999 to undertake a PhD on 'Interactions between potato cyst nematodes and Rhizoctonia solani diseases of potatoes.  Matthew is now a senior lecturer/researcher at Harper Adams University and has responsibility for teaching on BSc and MSc modules in addition to supervising a number of PhD students. He has expertise in plant pathology and nematology, and particularly with the management of potato cyst nematodes (PCN). Recent research has focussed on the use of biofumigation for the management of PCN and other pests and diseases. Matthew and his PhD students are investigating the optimal rotational position of biofumigant plants and the factors which affect the overall biofumigation process both during plant development and following the incorporation of their residues.

Group Members
Steve Edgington
Steve has a first degree in Agricultural Science from Wye College and an MSc in Applied Entomology from Imperial College London (Silwood Park). He spent a couple of years at ECOSUR in southern Mexico working on IPM of coffee pests before joining the insect pathology team at CABI in 2000 – where he now works. Steve has worked on a range of biological control projects using microorganisms (mainly nematodes and fungi), both in the UK and overseas, with considerable time spent with research groups in the Middle-East, Latin America and South Asia. He continues to work on methods for controlling insect pests using pathogens however he is also the principal nematologist at the CABI UK-Centre and provides diagnostic and technical support for nematode issues relating to plant health. From 2006-2010 Steve did a PhD on the diversity of entomopathogenic nematode in Chile, at the University of Reading.
Ivan Grove

After several years in commercial agriculture Ivan returned to education in 1991 to undertake a BSc honours in agriculture.   Having completed the degree he then undertook a nematology PhD which investigated the potential for foliar nutrient application to ameliorate damage caused by potato cyst nematodes.  On completion of his PhD Ivan took up a position of senior lecturer/researcher at Harper Adams teaching undergraduate, post graduate and the specialist BASIS agronomy short courses.  The majority of the research since the PhD has been concerned with the potato cyst nematodes, Globodera spp. specifically the efficacy and use of nematicides, but also population dynamics, viability and other cyst and free living nematodes.  In the last five years the emphasis of the research has shifted away from agrochemical control and now includes more work on plant extracts, phtyohormones, trap cropping and agronomic practices, though agrochemicals still feature.    With specialisms in both agronomy and nematology the roles of AAB editor, PhD supervisor and researcher provide a constant source of interest and a continuing desire to find agronomic solutions to these remarkable organisms.

Rosa Manzanillia -Lopez
Rosa Manzanilla-López got her first degree and M.Sc. in Biology from the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM). She did her Ph.D. in the UK and Mexico, the degree being awarded by Reading University (UK) in 1997. In her native Mexico she worked as research assistant and associate professor at the UNAM, Escuela Normal Superior de Mexico (ENS), Merited Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP), and the Postgraduate College of Agriculture (CP). In 2001 she joined Rothamsted Research, UK, researching diverse subjects such as attachment tests of Pasteuria penetrans on Meloidogyne spp., Lotus japonicus as a model for plant-nematode interactions; plant hypersensitive reaction to nematodes; and assessment of genetic variation and biology of the biological control agent P. chlamydosporia. Nacobbus aberrans has been her major area of research, she co-authoring a comprehensive review of the genus and promoting diagnostic molecular tools for taxonomic and quarantine purposes. She has co-authored a number of book chapters and research papers on nematology and is a frequent reviewer of scientific papers for international journals, Rosa is also on the international editorial board of Revista Mexicana de Fitopatología, visiting professor (Centre for Development of Biotic Products, National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico), Honorary National Researcher (National Council of Science and Technology, SNI-Mexico), Past President (Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America) and is currently Vice-President of the International Federation of Nematology Societies.


Barbara Pembroke

Barbara Pembroke is a Senior Research Technician in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Developments at the University of Reading.  Barbara has many years’ experience of working with nematodes and students; often introducing students to nematodes for the first time! She has known and worked with many of circa one hundred nematology PhD students who have graduated from Reading. She has also jointly supervised some higher degree students and has made supervisory visits to Greece and Kenya.  Her research interest has always been focused on root-knot nematodes and their biological control completing her MPhil degree on the practical aspects of using Pasteuria penetrans for the management of root-knot nematodes. Barbara currently convenes and teaches modules which include introducing undergraduates and postgraduates to nematodes and the wider aspects of biological control in general. Barbara is a strong supporter of the Advances in Nematology meeting, she has regularly helped with the management of the meeting and is particularly keen to encourage student participation.

John Pickup
I graduated in Zoology from Oxford University in 1979 and went on to gain my Ph.D in Entomology from Liverpool University, studying the gut contents of damselfly larvae. In 1984 I was appointed to a research post working for the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, spending 28 months on Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands to investigate the survival strategies of nematode worms in a cold and dry environment. I started as a Nematologist/Entomologist at the then Agricultural Scientific Services of the Scottish Office, located at East Craigs in 1989. My job at SASA involves managing service delivery for diagnostic laboratories providing information on the presence of potato cyst nematodes in soil samples prior to seed potato production, the incidence of aphids in suction trap catches and the amount of potato viruses in seed potato crops. We also carry out surveillance work regarding pests of plant health significance, provide diagnoses of bee diseases and provide advice to the Scottish Government’s policy makers.


Wim Wesemael

Wim has an MSc in Bioscience engineering and a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences (Ghent University, Belgium). For his PhD he worked on the biology and management of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne chitwoodi in field vegetable crops. Wim is a staff member of the nematology lab at ILVO (Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research, Merelbeke, Belgium) and their main researcher on root-knot nematodes. Since 2012 he is also guest professor at Ghent University. His research focuses on the biology and management of root-knot nematodes and resistance and tolerance screening of vegetables and green manure crops for Meloidogyne spp. including the quarantine root-knot nematodes M. chitwoodi and M. fallax.


Grace Hoystead

Grace graduated with a BSc in Biology from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2011 and and an MSc in Bioscience (Plant Sciences and Biotechnology) at the University of Leeds in 2012. It was during her MSc that she was introduced to nematology by undertaking a six month research project, which focused on characterising the function of effector proteins that are secreted by the potato cyst nematode, Globodera pallida. She is currently in the final year of her Ph.D. at the University of Leeds where she is researching plant-mediated interactions between the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae and the potato cyst nematode, Globodera pallida.

Tom Prior
After graduating with honours from the University of Leeds, Tom studied nematode taxonomy at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), CABI Bioscience, the Royal Belgian Natural History Museum and Rothamsted Research. He joined the Nematology team at Fera in 2000 and is currently responsible for the identification of plant-parasitic nematodes intercepted by the PHSI for Defra and for the UK's largest plant clinic, delivering to a wide range of commercial growers and overseas governments. Tom has led international projects and training courses, and provided training in nematode detection and identification as part of European Twinning initiatives. Tom is currently the UK representative on the EPPO Panel for Diagnostics in Nematology and a member of the IPPC working groups for X. americanum s. l. and Anguina.
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