Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

Staff Profile

Professor Angharad MR Gatehouse

Professor of Invertebrate Molecular Biology



Prof Angharad Gatehouse has the Chair of Invertebrate Molecular Biology at Newcastle University and is Director of Expertise for BioEconomy. Her research focuses 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 including those based on RNAi. 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 (Nature, PNAS). 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). In 2015 she was elected an Honorary Member of the National Italian Academy of Entomology and in 2016 she was awarded the ‘Certificate of Distinction in Recognition of Outstanding Achievements in Entomology’, by the Council of the International Congress of Entomology. She has been in receipt of substantial funding; her research is currently funded by BBSRC, EU and industry. She has extensive collaborations both within the UK and overseas in addition to having strong industrial links. She is a Visiting Professor at Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences (2016-2022) and is Chair of the External Scientific Advisory Board of Agrotecnio (designated a Centre of Excellence for Agrifood Sciences, Spain).

Present post           

  • Chair of Invertebrate Molecular Biology, Newcastle University (from 2004)
  • Director of Expertise for BioEconomy, Newcastle University, (from 2017)
  • N8 Lead for Newcastle University


  • Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Achievement, Council International Congress of Entomology (Conferred Sept 2016, Florida, USA)
  • Elected to the Council of International Congress of Entomology (2016 - 2032)
  • Honorary Member of the National Italian Academy of Entomology (Elected Nov 2015)
  • Fellow of Royal Society of Biology (Elected Jan 2016)


  • Ranked 3rd top in world ratings for citations on work on GM crops (http://www.esi-topics.com/gmc/authors/b1a.html)
  • Visiting Professor Shanxi Academy Agricultural Sciences (from 2016)
  • Honorary Doctorate; Banat's University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine (Conferred Oct 2005; for contributions to Biotechnology)
  • Chair of External Scientific Advisory Board of Agrotecnio (designated a Centre of Excellence for Agrifood sciences, Spain) (2013 - present)
  • 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
  • Appointed to the ‘Centres for Agricultural Innovation’ Grant Panel for Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board; 2014)
  • 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 USA)
  • Conference organiser. Examples include:
  1. Organising Committee International Congress Entomology, Helsinki 2020
  2. Organising Committee of European Congress of Entomology, Naples 2018
  3. Symposium Organizer: International Congress Entomology, Florida 2016 “Novel Biopesticides”
  4. Second International Conference on Agrochemicals Protecting Crops, Health and Natural Environment - The Role of Chemistry for Sustainable Agriculture – February 2012.
  5. International Conference on Invertebrate Reproduction and Development in the Age of Genetic Modifications-Prague – August 20 International Symposium on  ‘Insects and Diseases’, Aberdeen 2001.


Research Interests

Key Research Interests and Activities

Research Interests: Novel Approaches to Crop Protection

(i) Molecular and biochemical responses in plant/pest interactions to inform crop breeding programmes; (ii) Development of novel biopesticides; (iii) Genetic engineering of crops for resistance to pests and assessment of their impact in the environment and (iv) Safety of GM crops and novel foods to consumers (development of quantitative methodology based on genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics).  These 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, including RNA interference-based approaches

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 130 refereed papers in the field, and have written 30 invited reviews, 20 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)

Ari Sadanandom (Durham University)

Linda Walling (UC Riverside)

Gongyin Ye (Zhejiang University)

Qingyao Shu  (Zhejiang University)

Kanglai He (CAAS, Beijing)

Jianrong Bai (Shanxi Academy Agricultural Sciences)

Paul Christou (Lleida University)

Elaine Fitches (Defra/Durham University)

Franco Pennacchio (University Naples)

Heikki Hokkanen (Helsinki University)

Bruce Tabashnik (University of Arizona)

Neal Stewart (University of Tennessee)

Felix Ortego (CSIC Madrid)

Fatima Grossi de Sa (Embrapa, Brasilia)


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

Recent Awards (since 2000)

2018 – 2023                Stacking of ecosystem services: mechanisms and interactions for optimal crop protection, pollination enhancement, and productivity.

Funding Body: EU Horizon2020

2016 – 2021                Modifying plants to produce interfering RNA (iPLANTA)

                                    Funding Body: EU –COST Action CA15223 (Member of Management Committee)

2016-2020                   Novel Approaches to the Sustainable Control of Crop Insect Pests

                                    Funding Body: BBSRC CASE with OXITEC (BBSRC grant BB/P504762/1)

2015-2019                   Nitrogen availability influences Septoria defence in wheat by modulating WRKY transcription factor gene expression

                                    Funding Body: BBSRC (Co-ordinator, A. Sadanandom; PI, AMRG; Link with KWS)

2013                            Capacity building to promote innovative solutions for control of current and emerging threats to UK trees and woodlands from pest invertebrates

                                    Funding Body: Defra (LWEC) (Co-ordinator; FERA, R.Weaver; AMRG, PI)

2012-2017                   Promoting the Power of Plant Genetic Innovation

Funding Body: EU FP7, ERDF (NIAB, Coordinator; AMRG, PI).

2012                            RNA interferance of chitin synthesis as a novel approach to control insect pests: Proof of concept

2011 – 2016                Endophytes in Biotechnology and Agriculture

                                    Funding Body: EU – FP7 COST Action FA1103

2011 – 2014                Fusion protein-based biopesticides for sustainable crop protection

                                    Funding Body: Technology Strategy Board (TSB)

2011                            Exploitation of Insecticidal Fusion Proteins for Crop Protection using Transgenic Approaches

Funding Body: Yorkshire Agric. Soc

2010 - 2011                 Doctoral Training Grant Awards – Systems Biology

Funding Body: BBSRC

2009- 2012                  Development of Benaki Phytopathological Institute as a Centre of Excellence in Plant Health and Crop

                                    Funding Body: EU – FP7 (AMRG PI)

2009 – 2014                Improving nutrient efficiency in major European food, feed and biofuel crops to reduce the negative environmental impact of crop production

Funding Body: EU FP7 222645

2008-2011                            Doctoral Training Grant Awards

                                  Funding Body: BBSRC (BB/F017243/1)

2008                          Enhancing Wheat Defence against Insect Pests

Funding Body: Yorkshire Agric. Soc

2007- 2010                  Enhancing resistance to existing and emerging insect pests of UK cereals

                                    Funding Body: BBSRC (BB/E0066761/1)

2006-2009                   Parasitoid wasps as a source of natural insecticidal molecules.

Funding Body: Yorkshire Agric. Soc

2006-2008                   Identification of Cry1Ab receptors in ACB midgut through proteomic analysis.

2005                           Engineering Biology (PI, AMRG)

                                   Funding Body: SRIFII (£3.7M)

2005                            Impact of Management Practices on Soil: Implications for Differential Gene Expression in Plants

                                    Funding Body: Yorkshire Agric. Soc

2004- 2007                  Quantitative risk assessment strategies for novel foods

                                    Funding Body: EU – FP6-506387

2003                                                 Development of Novel Methodologies for Control of Homopteran Pests of          Cereals.

2002 – 2004                Novel approaches for aphid control using entomopathogenic fungi

2002 – 2004                Novel approaches for aphid control using entomopathogenic fungi

                                    Funding Body: BBSRC 206/SAP11143

2001-2004                   New approaches to studying tritrophic interactions involving insect-resistant transgenic plants.

                                   Funding Body: BBSRC/NERC (13/GM114174)

2000-2003                   Impact of genetically modified crops on natural enemies of crop pests.

                                    Funding Body: Yorkshire Agric. Soc

2000-2002                   Gene expression induced by pest and pathogen attack in crops.

                                    Funding Body: Royal Society.

2000-2003                  European network safety assessment of genetically modified food      crops.

                                    Funding Body: EC – FP5

2000-2004:                 New methods for the safety testing of transgenic food

                                    Funding Body: EC – FP5 QLKI –1999-01182

1998-2001:                  Lower application of insecticides by the production of insect resistant crops using novel protease inhibitor genes.



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)