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Harper Adams welcomes entomology experts

Posted 30 August 2012

Harper Adams has assembled the strongest team of entomologists in the UK for both teaching and research

Professor Leather

Harper Adams University College is delighted to have become the new centre of excellence for entomology teaching and research in the UK.

The University College, in Shropshire, will next month welcome its first students onto a new suite of postgraduate courses, in entomology; integrated pest and disease management; conservation and forest protection; and ecological applications.

Behind these courses will be a team of leading entomology experts.

Harper Adams has welcomed Dr Simon Leather as its new Professor of Entomology, heading up the new courses and associated research. Professor Leather joins Harper Adams from Imperial College London, where he was Reader in Applied Ecology.

Professor Leather is a member of the Royal Entomological Society Council and is on the Steering Advisory Group of the Environmental Change Network. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London and holds professional memberships of the Association of Applied Biologists, Society of Biology, Fauna and Flora Preservation Society, and British Ecological Society.

He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Insect Conservation & Diversity, Senior Editor (Pests and Invertebrates) of the Annals of Applied Biology and is on the editorial board of Agricultural & Forest Entomology and Journal of Animal Ecology.

“Harper Adams is delighted to confer a Professorship on Dr Leather,” said University College Vice Principal Professor Peter Mills. “Understanding and controlling insect pests of both crop and non-crop plants is fundamental to food security and protecting our environment. Harper Adams has assembled the strongest team of entomologists in the UK for both teaching and research”

Professor Leather, said: “We are all very excited to be moving to an environment where entomology and crop protection are considered mainstream subjects and the field facilities and industrial links are so strong.”

Professor Leather’s research interests centre on problems in crop and forest protection with particular interests in insect reproductive strategies and biological control.

Supporting Professor Leather at Harper Adams is Dr Tilly Collins. Dr Collins has a PhD (2001) in the ecology of the aphid fauna of willow trees.  After a postdoctoral appointment in the Department of Environmental Science & Technology of Imperial College, then a spell teaching in the School of Biology at Leeds University, Tilly returned to the Department of Biology at Imperial in October 2003.

In 2010 she received the Rector's Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 2012 his award for Excellence in Pastoral Care. Dr Collins also retains a position at Imperial College and will be a link between the two institutions.

Dr Collins said: “I am delighted to be able to contribute actively to the teaching of Entomology in the UK and Harper Adams is the best place for the development and enhancement of this vital topic”

And completing the in-house team is Dr Tom Pope, who moves to Harper Adams from the position of Research Entomologist at ADAS. Dr Pope was awarded his PhD in Entomology from Imperial College London in 2003 and has worked in various research positions at the University of Southampton, East Malling Research and Imperial College. Dr Pope specialises in research related to integrated pest management (IPM) of horticultural pests.

Dr Pope, said: “I am delighted to be joining the new team of entomologists at Harper Adams. I look forward to helping to deliver the new suite of postgraduate entomology courses and continuing my research interests. I am excited by the opportunities that working at Harper Adams provides and in particular the chance to work with new colleagues and benefit from the wealth of expertise across many disciplines on campus.” 

Dr Andy Wilcox, new Head of the Crop and Environment Sciences Department at Harper Adams, added: “The exciting new range of postgraduate courses represents a significant expansion of our portfolio and I am very pleased that they will be delivered by such well qualified staff”

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