Kat Roberts

I am a post-doctoral researcher in Ben Longdon’s group within the college of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter.

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Research Career

2016-

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter

Post Doctoral Researcher with Ben Longdon
2014-2015

National Bee Unit, Fera Science Limited (Formally Food and Environment Research Agency)

Head of Research and Development
2012-2014

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter

Post Doctoral Researcher with Mike Boots
2007-2011

School of Biology, University of Leeds

PhD student, Ecology and Evolution of Nosema parasites in the European Honey bee, supervised Bill Hughes

2007-2008 Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield Research Technician with Rhonda Snook
2003-2007 Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield MBiolSci (Biology)

Research

My research centers on increasing the understanding of host-parasite ecology and evolution using evolutionary, molecular and genomic techniques to untangle the interaction between hosts and parasites. During my career I have used a range of model and semi-natural insect species in order to investigate questions around the evolution of resistance and susceptibility. I have a particular interest in the genetics of hosts and parasites and how the interactions of these can influence the outcome of a parasite challenge. Previous work with the European honey bee provided an interesting model to look at the influence of genetics on host – parasite coevolution; taking advantage of the distinct genetic make up of a social insect.

I am also interested in the role environment can play in shaping these interactions and how the background these occur in can often significantly influence the evolution of resistance or susceptibility. Whether this is the effect of resource availability, temperature or the role of co-infections, environmental influences often have a fundamental impact that cannot be ignored.

My current work in the group will use Drosophila to look at how parasites switch between host species and try to understand more about what factors influence the ability of a parasite to successfully infect a new host.