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 an informal, yet popular, annual conference ‘Advances in Nematology’ at the Linnean Society in central London, 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.


Steven Edgington

Steve is the principal nematologist at CABI, UK. Providing diagnostic and technical support for nematode issues relating to plant and insect health. He also has over 15 years of experience working on the biological control of insects and mites using nematodes and fungi.

Group Members

Matthew Back

Matthew is 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.

His research interests include plant nematology particularly Globodera spp, Pratylenchus spp and Ditylenchus spp, disease complexes involving nematodes and soil borne pathogens, biofumigation of crop pests and diseases, biology and epidemiology of Fusarium langsethiae, management of diseases caused by Rhizoctonia solani, and sustainable/non-chemical methods of pest and disease management.

Keith Davies

Keith Davies has over 30 years’ experience working in the area of nematode biocontrol most notably on understanding the interactions between the nematode hyperparasites of the Pasteuria group of bacteria and plant-paratasitic nematodes. His interests run from using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism for understanding microbial pathogenicity the molecular level, through to deployment of microbes in the field as an alternative to chemical nematicides. He has active overseas collaborations in Africa, India and the USA.

He is a Fellow of both the Linnaean Society of London and the Royal Society of Biology and is an adjunct Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomic Research, a part-time senior lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire and Director of KG Davies Ltd a company aimed at increasing crop security through the control of plant-parasitic nematodes.

Rebecca Lawson

Rebecca is a nematologist currently working in the plant protection field. I am also the curator of the Rothamsted Nematode Collection which is now located a Fera.

Lindy Holden-Dye

Lindy holds a personal Chair in Neuroscience within Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton. Her interests focus on fundamental processes of neuronal communication and she has established research expertise in invertebrate preparations. Through this interest she has contributed to research relevant to a number of important areas of neuroscience that inform understanding of mental health. Her expertise in invertebrate neuroscience, and in particular nematode neural systems and the model genetic organism Caenorhabditis elegans positions her well to participate in drug discovery and mode of action programmes for novel antiparasitics. For the last two decades she has collaborated with industry to improve prospects for parasitic nematode control. Her research group identified the molecular target for the resistance breaking anthelmintic emodepside showing it acts through a calcium-activated K+ channel SLO-1 to bring about neuromuscular paralysis in nematode worms. This discovery has paved the way for the pursuit of new approaches to the treatment of human filarial disease. The experimental approaches deployed in her research group encompass genetics through to whole animal physiology and incorporate novel methods for tracking animal behaviour and signal processing.

Catherine Lilley

Catherine is a post-doctoral researcher in plant nematology. After completing a degree in Botany and then a PhD at the University of Durham, in 1994 she joined the Plant Nematology Group at the University of Leeds, where she continues to work. During her time at Leeds she has been involved in a wide range of research projects with many collaborators and has witnessed the huge progress that has been made in the understanding of plant-nematode interactions and nematode genomics. She has always had a keen interest in the molecular aspects of the research, however the varied nature of her role has also taken her from field trials of GM potatoes in the UK, via nematode problems of bananas on smallholder farms in Uganda to working with agribusiness in China. Her current research interests include investigating the function of novel glutathione synthetase-like effectors of cyst nematodes, and understanding how the extreme persistence of potato cyst nematodes is mediated. Catherine is a member of the Governing Board of the European Society of Nematologists.