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K G DAVIES Limited

Vision: Global increase in crop security through plant-parasitic nematode control

Core task: Reconciling the control of plant-parasitic nematodes with reducing harmful environmental impacts through science

Dr K G Davies

K G Davies Limited was founded by Dr Keith G Davies who is Director. He graduated from Hatfield Polytechnic (now University of Hertfordshire) in 1979 with a specialism in soil and plant microbiology and then worked as a plant pathologist at the Shire Valley Agricultural Development Project in Ngabu, Malawi, funded by the World Bank. In Malawi he undertook germplasm screening trails on seed that had been produced by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, and also researched arbuscular mycorrhizae of sorghum.

On returning to the UK he was granted an Instant Award by the Scientific and Engineering Research Council and was awarded a PhD (1986) for his work on plant growth promoting rhizobacteria from the University of Wales supervised by Dr R Whitbread. He then undertook post-doctoral research with Prof Brian Kerry at Rothamsted Research, on the biological control of plant-parasitic nematodes being made a full staff member in 1992.

Since 1992 his research has focused on the interactions between Pasteuria species of endospore forming bacteria and their ability to adhere to and infect plant-parasitic nematodes. From knowledge of their infection processes it is envisaged that novel nematode control strategies can be developed. Currently he thinks that a Velcro-like attachment process is involved in adhesion involving collagen-like proteins on the endospore surface interacting with mucin-like components of the cuticle surface coat of the nematode cuticle.

In 2003 he spent a four month sabbatical at the Centre for Nematode Parasitism, North Carolina State University, Raleigh with Profs Charlie Opperman and David Bird, and in 2009 he was awarded an Institute Development Fellowship by BBSRC and spent the year in the laboratory of Prof Jonathan Hodgkin, New Biochemistry Department at Oxford, using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model to investigate the role of the nematode cuticle in bacterial pathogenesis. He has over 100 publications in refereed journals, book chapters and conference proceedings and has recently co-edited a book with Prof Y Spiegel entitled The Biological Control of Plant-parasitic Nematodes; building coherence between microbial ecology and molecular biology.

In August 2012 was appointed as a part-time senior lecturer, in the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, where he is a module leader on the MSc in Environmental Management with Agriculture and is responsible for running courses on Crop Protection. He is also a member of the programme development committee developing a new BSc degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (SAFS) which has been validated by the University of Hertfordshire in partnership with The Royal Veterinary College, Rothamsted Research and Oaklands College.


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