Research in The Harrison Lab at EMR focuses on understanding the genetic basis of interactions between plants, microbes and pests in order to improve primary food production by reducing losses due to pests and pathogens and improving interactions with beneficial microbes. There are several ongoing BBSRC and Innovate UK projects which account for the majority of research in the lab. The research undertaken in these projects aims to improve understanding of how plants defend themselves against pathogen attack and over what timescales these interactions occur and how pathogens evolve virulence and host specificity. There is also ongoing research on the interaction between entomopathogenic fungi and their hosts; in our study system we are looking at the moth Cydia pomonella, commonly known as codling moth (an important pest of apple) and the entomopathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. The group works both in the laboratory and as bioinformaticians, with a particular interest in the analysis of data from next-generation sequencing projects. The objective of most of our work is to provide scientific knowledge to underpin the horticultural industry through pre-breeding and development of novel pest and pathogen control strategies.
Collaboration with industry
At EMR there is a strong emphasis on industrial collaborations and in the Harrison Lab we have links with many different sectors of the horticultural industry, from plant breeders to marketing bodies to instrument manufacturers. We receive support from the Innovate UK and the Horticultural Development Company for a number of industry-led projects. Funding in the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 places Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) at the heart of research and we are keen to engage with SME’s in collaborative research.
We are always keen to talk to industry and engage in collaborative research; please contact Dr Richard Harrison to discuss your ideas.