PhD student in the Virology and Molecular Plant Pathology Group,
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Francis' PhD research focuses on understanding plant-virus-vector interactions. The aim is to develop common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) as a model for studying aphid-plant-virus interactions with a view to manipulating these to protect the bean. The potyviruses Bean common mosaic virus (BCMV) and bean common mosaic necrotic virus (BCMNV), and to a lesser extent cucumber mosaic virus (a cucumovirus) are major constraints to bean production in Africa. Aphid-transmitted viruses are increasingly problematic due to the evolution of pesticide resistance in aphids and increases in the geographical range of aphids and the viruses they spread due to climate change. Understanding the interaction the plant, virus and vector will provide new ways of controlling virus transmission and contribute to food security and better livelihoods.
He is supervised by Dr. John Carr.