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Personal profile

Overview

Keith Davies is Associate Professor and an applied nematologist with expertise in the area of nematode pathology and its application to the development of biological control agents.  He has over 30 years’ experience undertaking research in the area of the biological control of plant-parasitic nematodes. In 2009 an awardee of a BBSRC Fellowship he broadened his interests using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for microbial pathogenicity which could then be applied to biological control. Currently his research focuses on the ways that molecular diversity affects the etiology of host parasite population dynamics to develop environmentally benign nematode management strategies.  He is most widely known for his work on the understanding of host specificity between the bacterium Pasteuria penetrans and related organisms and plant parasitic nematodes.

Dr Davies is a Fellow of both the Linnean Society of London and the Royal Society of Biology and has membership of the European Society of Nematology and Association of Applied Biologists.  He is based in the School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, and Module Leader in the Master’s Programme in Environmental Management with Agriculture in the area of crop protection and contributes to the teaching on the Master's programmes on Applied Biotechnology, Genetics and Protein Biology.  He has an active collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomic Research in Norway where he is adjunct Research Professor in the Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health.

Research interests

I am an invertebrate pathologist investigating the interactions between plant-parasitic nematodes and microbes.  My research focuses on fungi and bacteria that have been found to be associated with nematode suppressive soils and can potentially be developed into environmentally benign control agents as an alternative to synthetic pesticides.  Using an integrated approach I investigate the molecular mechanisms within a multitrophic host-pathogen-hyperparasitic interactive system to develop knowledge that can be used to improve root health.  Most recently I have been using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism to help develop novel nematode control strategies.

I also have an interest in the social implications of science and I am currently writing a book entitled, "William Blake, the Single Vision and Newton's Sleep", which focuses on Blake's critic of the philosopher David Hume, amongst others, and the consequences of his promotion of reason at the expense of imagination in the development of science and technology. The book discusses Heidegger's notion of poiesis in science, and in particular reviews William Blake's view of the role of imagination and reason working together as one as a force for progress. The book finishes by looking at the implications of these issues around the subject of climate change. 

 

Education

 

1982 – 1986                         PhD in Plant Biology, University Wales

1975 – 1979                         BSc (Hons) Applied Biology, Hatfield Polytechnic (CNAA)

Teaching specialisms

2012 – Present                  Associate Professor and  Applied Nematology

2012 – Present                  Director K G Davies Ltd Integrated Crop Security Solutions

2009 – 2010                         BBSRC Institute Development Fellow, New Biochemistry, Oxford

2003 – 2004                         Visiting Scholar; Plant Nematode Genetics Group, NCSU, USA

2001 – 2012                         Senior Research Leader, Rothamsted Research

1993 – 2001                         Research Scientist, Rothamsted Research

1986 – 1993                         Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, Rothamsted Research

1979 – 1982                         Research Plant Pathologist, Ngabu Development Division, Malawi

External positions

Research Professor, Norwegian Institute of Agriculture and Environmental Research

1 Jul 2015 → …

Director, KG Davies Ltd

1 Feb 2012 → …

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