Dr GARETH THOMAS
Post-doctoral research scientist (Chemical Ecology)
Protecting Crops and the Environment
"Gareth is a post-doctoral research scientist with an interest in microbial chemical ecology. He completed his PhD at Rothamsted Research in 2019, working on characterising the volatile chemical signalling from the beneficial soil fungus Trichoderma hamatum. Following this, he worked at Cardiff University, investigating whether the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes could be detected on salad leaves using volatile organic compounds.
His current project is part of the BAC-STOP project, funded by the BBSRC, NERC, Defra and the Scottish Government, working on Acute Oak Decline (AOD); a disease threatening U.K. oak trees. This disease is caused by several pathogenic bacteria, symptoms of which co-occur with the presence of the beetle Agrilus biguttatus, which are hypothesised to be vectoring the bacteria. His research aims to determine the role of microbial volatile organic compounds produced by these pathogens in the behaviour of A. biguttatus, which could enable the identification of attractive bacterial volatiles, which can then be used to optimise semiochemical based strategies to monitor the spread of the disease across U.K. forests. This work requires a range of techniques, including microbiology, dynamic headspace collections, gas chromatography (GC), GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS), as well as insect behavioural techniques. "
Characterisation of Chemical Signalling from the Beneficial Soil Fungus Trichoderma hamatum
2015. BSc (Hons), Biology (with a year in industry). University of York. First class honours
2020. PhD, Biological Sciences. University of Exeter.