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Queens Anniversary Prizes 2015

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Dr G. Mandela Fernandez-Grandon

Research Fellow in Behavioural Entomology
Bsc (Hons), PhD
Agriculture, Health and Environment Department
Natural Resources Institute

Biography

Dr G. Mandela Fernandez-Grandon joined the Natural Resources Institute in 2013 as a postdoctoral Research Fellow. His work at NRI utilises his expertise in Behavioural Entomology and Chemical Ecology.

Dr Fernandez-Grandon obtained his BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Dundee. His initial interest in agricultural entomology was sparked by a final year project investigating the success of certain aphid clone varieties within Scotland. Completion of his undergraduate degree was immediately followed with work at the James Hutton institute (then SCRI) under Dr Brian Fenton. During this time Dr Fernandez-Grandon worked on testing insecticide susceptibility within aphid clones, developing a technique of RNAi with aphids and testing for new microsatellite markers to assist in identification of field species.

After time spent travelling in South America and visiting a laboratory in Talca, Chile to work with Electrical Penetration Graph (EPG), Dr Fernandez-Grandon returned to the UK to complete a PhD with Professor Guy Poppy at the University of Southampton. This four-year PhD covered research in Entomology, Chemical Ecology and Biological Control focussing on the effect of the aphid sex pheromone, (4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactone, on the behaviour of the parasitoid, Aphidius colemani, and its host the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae. Following experience in agricultural pests and food security, Dr Fernandez-Grandon completed Postdoctoral research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine into pests of medical importance and disease control. This work, completed under Dr James Logan in collaboration with Professors John Armour of the University of Nottingham and John Pickett of Rothamsted Research, investigated the heritability of human odour and how these attracted the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.

Research/Scholarly Interests

My work looks to increase our understanding of Chemical Ecology and Insect Behaviour in pests relevant to agriculture and human health. I have a strong interest in how evolution has shaped behaviour in organisms and particularly their interaction with other species.

Responsibilities within the University

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Selected Publications

  • Fernández-Grandon, G. M. & Poppy, G. M. (2015) Response of Aphidius colemani to aphid sex pheromone varies depending on plant synergy and prior experience. Bulletin of Entomological Research. doi:10.1017/S0007485315000371
  • Fernández-Grandon, G. M., Armour, J., Pickett, J. A., Gezan S. & Logan, J. G. (2015) Heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes. PLoS ONE. 10.1371/journal.pone.0122716
  • Fernández-Grandon, G. M., Woodcock, C. M. & Poppy, G. M. (2013) Do asexual morphs of the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae, utilise the aphid sex pheromone? Behavioural and electrophysiological responses of M. persicae virginoparae to (4aS, 7S, 7aR)-nepetalactone and its effect on aphid performance. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 103, (4) p466-473
  • Fernández-Grandon, G. M., Girling, R. D. & Poppy, G. M. (2011) Utilizing insect behavior in chemical detection by a behavioral biosensor. Journal of Plant Interactions, 6, (2) p109 – 112

Recent Conference Presentations

  • International Society of Chemical Ecology
    Stockholm, Sweden. 3rd of July. 2015; Oral presentation
    "Heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes"
  • Gordon Research Conference - Plant Volatiles
    Ventura Beach, CA, USA. 2nd of February, 2012; Oral presentation
    "The aphid sex pheromone, (4aS, 7S, 7aR)-nepetalactone, as a way of manipulating parasitoid foraging behavior to enhance biocontrol"
  • Ento '11 RES International Symposium and National Science Meeting
    Greenwich, Kent, UK. 9th of September, 2011; Oral presentation "Going in for the kill: Behavioural changes in Aphidius colemani triggered by the aphid sex pheromone component (4aS,7S,7aR)-nepetalactone.
  • University of Southampton Multidisciplinary Research Showcase
    Southampton, Hampshire, UK. 31st of March, 2011; Poster presentation
    Awarded silver poster prize. "Aphid sex pheromones as a way of enhancing biological control"
  • Ento '10 RES International Symposium and National Science Meeting
    Swansea, Wales, UK. 26th – 28th of July, 2010; Poster presentation "Effect of aphid sex pheromone on the aphid Myzus persicae and the attack rate of its associated parasitoid Aphidius colemani".

External Recognition

  • Member of the Royal Entomological Society

Contact Information

Dr G. Mandela Fernández-Grandon

Natural Resources Institute

University of Greenwich

Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, United Kingdom.

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