Screening tools to identify resistance breaking insecticides.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Biosciences


The current use of insecticides in crop protection is limited both by their safety and by concerns about insect resistance.
One of the primary reasons for insecticide resistance is that available chemicals belong to very few major chemical classes
(e.g. OP's, carbamates, pyrethroids and neonicotinoids) and can therefore all end up acting on a rather limited number of
targets or receptors. This project is designed to take an insecticidal natural product from the bacterium Xenorhabdus and
to use this as a starting point for the development of a novel class of insecticidal chemistry. This project is a CASE
partnership between Darr House Chemical, a small chemical company based outside of Exeter, with the Biosciences
Department on the Penryn Campus of the University of Exeter. The student will gain direct experience in subjects ranging
from chemical synthesis and design to the molecular biology of insecticide resistance. We will make extensive use of in
house resistant stains of pest insects in order to guarantee that any novel compounds overcome existing mechanisms in
multiply resistant aphids and whitefly. The project will be based in the laboratories of Professors Richard ffrenchConstant
and Chris Bass at Penryn where the majority of the screening and structure/activity work will be performed. The rotation
project will be with the nonacademic
CASE partner Darr House based outside of Exeter where experience in organic
chemistry and synthesis will be gained by the student. Further rotations will be in the laboratory of Prof. Chris Bass prior
to settling for the PhD itself in the laboratory of Prof. ffrenchConstant.
The successful student will therefore gain
experience in 1) chemical design and synthesis, 2) drug and pesticide screening against a range of cell types and whole
insects, 3) the molecular biology of drug metabolism and resistance. This PhD therefore provides the perfect basis for any
students interested in a career in the AgroChemical industry or any other aspect of the Agrienvironment.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M009122/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1864863 Studentship BB/M009122/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Amy McLeman