School of Biology

Staff Profile

Professor Angharad MR Gatehouse

Professor of Invertebrate Molecular Biology

Background

Profile

Prof Gatehouse has the Chair of Invertebrate Molecular Biology at Newcastle University. Her research has focussed on the molecular and biochemical bases of plant-pest interactions with a view to developing novel strategies for crop protection. Her group was one of the first to produce insect-resistant transgenic crops. More recently her group has been using functional genomics to better understand the molecular responses of crops to biotic stress (pathogens and insect pests) for the development of molecular markers. In collaboration with Durham University, her group are actively involved in developing novel biopesticides. In addition to their efficacy, the group is also involved in the biosafety of these strategies, notably in terms of their potential effects on beneficial insects such as pollinators and natural enemies.  She has published extensively in the field, including in discovery journals. She was ranked 3rd in the world ratings for citations on work on GM crops and awarded an Honorary Doctorate for contributions to Biotechnology (Banat's University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine). Recently she was awarded the ‘Certificate of Distinction in Recognition of Outstanding Achievements in Entomology’, by the Council of the International Congress of Entomology (to be conferred Sept 2016, Florida, USA). In 2015 she elected an Honorary Member of the National Italian Academy of Entomology.



Research

Research Interests

Key Research Interests and Activities

Research Interests:

Molecular and biochemical responses in plant/pest interactions (ii) genetic engineering of crops for resistance to pests and assessment of their impact in the environment and (iii) Safety of GM crops and novel foods to consumers (development of quantitative methodology based on genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics).  All three research areas are underpinned by platform technologies in genomics and proteomics.

 

Specific Major Research Objectives:

  • Identification of genes switched on in the plant/pest/predator interaction
  • Molecular response in plants to biotic/abiotic stress
  • Role of transgenic crops in agricultural systems
  • Production of crops with enhanced resistance to pests, via recombinant DNA technology
  • Environmental safety assessment of transgenic crops (in particular, effects on beneficial insects i.e.   pollinators, predators, parasitoids)
  • Safety assessment of transgenic crops and novel foods for human consumption
  • Insect digestive biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Development of novel biopesticides

Scientific Achievements

The group is recognised as a world leader in the genetic modification of crops for enhanced levels of resistance to pests and the impact of such crops on beneficial insects. It was the first to produce insect resistant crops expressing plant-derived transgenes (Nature, 1987, 330: 160-163). It has maintained its lead in the field and is actively using both genomics and proteomics to better understand the molecular and biochemical responses of plants to both biotic and abiotic stress.

 I have published over 110 refereed papers in the field, and have written 30 invited reviews, 18 book chapters and edited 5 books; I also hold several patents relating to insecticidal molecules for crop protection.  I am committed to the Public Engagement of Science and regularly participate in national and international debates on the use of GM technologies.

 At present I am involved in several European Networks, in addition to having strong industrial links. I have extensive collaborations both within the UK and overseas.

 Active Collaborations

The linked research groups at Newcastle University and Durham University, headed by Prof Angharad Gatehouse and Prof John Gatehouse, have set out to bring a multidisciplinary approach to the study of plant-pest interactions, although the emphasis is on the molecular rather than the whole organism aspect of biology.

Major collaborators include:

John Gatehouse (Durham University)

Linda Walling (UC Riverside)

Gongyin Ye (Zhejiang University)

Kanglai He (CAAS, Beijing)

Paul Christou (Lleida University)

Elaine Fitches (Defra)

Howard Bell (Defra)

Franco Pennacchio (University Naples)

Jorg Romeis (Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART)

Bruce Tabashnik (University of Arizona)

Neal Stewart (University of Tennessee)

Felix Ortego (CSIC Madrid)

Fred Francis (Gembloux University)

Fatima Grossi de Sa (Embrapa, Brasilia)

Frantisek Sehnal (Biology Centre AS CR)

Carlo Leifert (Newcastle University)

Funding

The group attracts substantial funding, including from BBSRC, NERC, EU, Scottish Executive, Royal Society, Yorkshire Agriculture Society, Industry (e.g. Syngenta).

Recent Awards

  • BBSRC Crop Science Initiative. Enhancing resistance to existing and emerging insect pests of UK cereals (Funding Body: BBSRC; 2007-2010)
  • Enhancing Wheat Defence against Insect Pests (Funding Body: Yorkshire Agric. Soc; 2008)
  • Doctoral Training Grant Awards (Funding Body: BBSRC; 2008 -2011)
  • Improving nutrient efficiency in major European food, feed and biofuel crops to reduce the negative environmental impact of crop production (Funding Body: EU – FP7; 2009-2014)
  • Development of Benaki Phytopathological Institute as a Centre of Excellence in Plant Health and Crop (Funding Body: EU – FP7; 2009-2012)
  • Doctoral Training Grant Awards – Systems Biology (Funding Body: BBSRC 2010-2011)
  • Fusion protein-based biopesticides for sustainable crop protection (Funding Body: Technology Strategy Board (TSB); 2011-2014)







 

Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching

BIO2015  Biotechnology 1 (Module Leader)

BIO3006 Plant-Animal Interactions 

Postgraduate Teaching

BIO8044  Gene Technology (Module Leader)

BIO8045  Genetically Engineered Organisms: Food, Pharmaceutical and Industrial Sectors (Module Leader)

Publications