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Overview

Professor Roland Perry is based at the University of Hertfordshire, with teaching and supervisory links to Ghent University, Belgium, where he is Guest Professor. His research interests have centred primarily on plant-parasitic nematodes, especially focusing on nematode hatching, sensory perception, behaviour and survival physiology, and several of his past PhD and post-doctoral students are currently involved in nematology research.

He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from Newcastle University, UK, where he also obtained a PhD in Zoology on physiological aspects of desiccation survival of Ditylenchus spp. After a year’s post doctoral research at Newcastle, he moved to Keele University, UK, where he taught Parasitology. After three years at Keele, he was appointed to Rothamsted Experimental Station (now Rothamsted Research). He remained at Rothamsted until 2014, when he moved to the University of Hertfordshire.

He co-edited four nematology books plus both editions of the text book, Plant Nematology. He is author or co-author of over 40 book chapters and refereed reviews and over 120 refereed research papers. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of Nematology and Chief Editor of the Russian Journal of Nematology. He co-edits the book series Nematology Monographs and Perspectives. In 2001, he was elected Fellow of the Society of Nematologists (USA) in recognition of his research achievements; in 2008 he was elected Fellow of the European Society of Nematologists for outstanding contribution to the science of Nematology; and in 2011 he was elected Honorary Member of the Russian Society of Nematologists.

Research interests

                My research focused on the physiology, biochemistry and behaviour of economically important nematodes with the aim of identifying and underpinning control strategies based on disruption of the nematode life cycle. The main areas of the research centred on nematode hatching and invasion mechanismssensory perception and survival physiology.             

                Work on hatching mechanisms defined the various phases in the hatching sequence from the time the unhatched juvenile is stimulated to hatch to actual eclosion. The effects of the host plant on the hatching physiology and dormancy of tropical species of cyst nematodes which have multiple generations during the host growing season was also studied.

                Although it is believed that plant-parasitic nematodes use chemoreceptors to locate their hosts and mates, little is known of the functional physiology of nematode sense cells. The function of nematode anterior sense organs was studied as a prelude to examining the feasibility of disrupting sensory perception and, specifically, host and mate location. This research included behavioural studies, and electrophysiological and electropharyngeogram analysis of nematode neuronal and muscular responses. It resulted in the first electrophysiological recordings of responses from an intact nematode and the electrophysiological technique has been modified to record extracellular responses from live second-stage juveniles of cyst nematodes.

                Industrial interest in the hatching, behavioural and sensory bioassays developed by my group generated funding to focus on the assessment of the effects of natural products, including seaweed extracts and fungal fermentation products, on the biology of cyst nematodes

                Certain species of plant-parasitic nematodes have the ability to survive in the desiccated state and remain viable for considerable periods in the absence of a host. Work on survival physiology aimed to understand the mechanisms involved and to investigate methods of disrupting survival. The research progressed to studies of factors involved in the induction of diapause and the genetic basis for obligatory dormancy.

                Several related topics have been included in the research programme, such as analysis of nematode secretions, especially those from the amphids and the pharyngeal glands, and the use of molecular biology techniques to examine aspects of host-parasite interactions.

               

Education/Academic qualification

Nematology, BSc (Zoology) PhD (Zoology), Newcastle University

External positions

Guest Professor, Ghent University, Belgium

Editor-in-Chief, Nematology

Chief Editor, Russian Journal of Nematology

Book Series Editor, Nematology Monographs and Perspectives

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