Dr Helen Cockerton
My interests focus on understanding the genetic control of plant-microbe interactions and desirable plant traits. I am currently working on quantifying genetic associations between root architectural traits, phosphorus use efficiency and arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in strawberry. Ultimately, this work will enhance our understanding of how below ground systems impact on strawberry fruit quality.
Additional interests include the identification of resistance loci and virulence factors associated with plant pathogens. Work on Verticillium wilt in strawberry has included the use novel imaging techniques to obtain robust and objective phenotyping data. Using these tools in conjunction with genotypic information has allowed the identification of resistance loci that will be used in breeding disease resistant strawberry cultivars.
I have developed an interest in working with powdery mildew an obligate pathogen of strawberry. So far, we have generated a draft genome sequence for the pathogen and identified a range of stable and resistant QTL in the host. Future work seeks to expand the resources available for this pathosystem in order to better understand the plant- pathogen interaction and assist the control of powdery mildew.
- Fan, R., Cockerton, H.M., Armitage, A.D., Bate, H., Cascant-Lopez, E., Antanaviciute, L.. (2018). Vegetative compatibility groups partition variation in the virulence of Verticillium dahlia on strawberry. PLoS One. 13(2), e0191824.