School of Biology

Staff Profile

Professor Angharad MR Gatehouse

Professor of Invertebrate Molecular Biology



Ph.D., University of Durham .Thesis title: “Protease inhibitors and the biochemical basis of insect resistance in Vigna unguiculata”. Supervisor; Prof. D. Boulter).

Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (London).

Esteem/ Honours

Ranked 3rd top in world ratings for citations on work on GM crops (

Honorary Doctorate; Banat's University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine (Conferred Oct 2005; for contributions to Biotechnology)

Invited by US Department of State to visit Agri-Biotech sector and to meet with key US regulators and legislators (2004)

US Department of State Alumni Member – invited

Editorial Board member for several international journals

 Keynote Speaker at major international conferences both in Plant and Insect Molecular Biology

World Class University International Review Panel member (2008, 2010, Washington DC, USA)

Evaluator of on going EU project EKOTECH – Multidisciplinary education of experts for the use of biotechnologies in the ecology-related fields, Ceske Budejovice, August 2010

Conference organizer e.g. (i) International Symposium on  ‘Insects and Diseases’, Aberdeen 2001. (ii) International Conference on Invertebrate Reproduction and Development in the Age of Genetic Modifications-Prague – August 2010

Supervision of 18 PhDs; plus 1 MRes - 100% success.

Current supervision - 8 PhDs  

Books edited

  • Bruchids and Legumes: Economics, Ecology and Coevolution." K. Fujii, A.M.R. Gatehouse, C.D. Johnson, R. Mitchel and T. Yoshida, eds., pp. 407.  Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 1990.
  • Plant Genetic Manipulation for Crop Protection. A.M.R. Gatehouse, V.A. Hilder and D. Boulter, eds., pp. 266.  C.A.B. International, U.K., 1992.
  • Handbook of Plant Biotechnology. Eds P. Christou and H. Klee, Eds in Chief P. Christou, H. Klee; section Editor A.M.R. Gatehouse. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, UK., 2004.
  • Environmental Impact of Genetically Modified Crops. Eds N. Ferry and A.M.R. Gatehouse. CAB International, Wallingford, 2009.


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)


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)



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)