BSc in Horticulture, MSc in Pest Management/ Applied Entomology, PhD in Ecology/ Biology
My training is in horticulture, pest management, applied entomology and ecology, which provides an ideal background for my main research interest, classical biological weed control. I have over 20 years of experience in this area, including studies on the biology, host specificity and impact of herbivorous insects, the population biology of plants, and more recently, chemical aspects underlying the host-choice behaviour of insects. I am also interested in potential invasion mechanisms of invasive plants and have supervized several graduate projects on this subject, including biogeographic comparisons between the native and introduced ranges of invasive plant species.
Since 2006, I have led the Biological Weed Control Programme at CABI’s centre in Switzerland. This role involves managing 16 ongoing weed biological control projects for the USA and Canada, developing new projects to ensure the financial sustainability of the programme as well as coordinating a team of six project scientists and several support staff. Since 2002 I have been an Affiliated Professor at the University of Idaho, where I am currently co-supervizing two PhD and one MSc student.
I feel fortunate in having a job that offers me an ideal combination of scientific and applied aspects in the area of biological weed control. I also enjoy the international nature of my work, which includes frequent travelling and collaborating with people from different cultures.
In October 2015 I was appointed Country Director of CABI’s Swiss centre, which offers me an exciting opportunity to be even more involved in CABI’s overall operations and CABI-wide collaborations.
CABI’s Swiss centre carries out applied scientific research and undertakes consultancy projects. Located in Delémont in the Canton of Jura, it is the home base for experts and students from several different countries where they research and apply their knowledge.
Crushed garlic mustard leaves and seeds smell like cultivated garlic and have been used as flavouring in cooking for centuries. Garlic mustard is a brassica from Eurasia that was accidentally taken to North America and became invasive in many of its forests. Together with partners, CABI is exploring the possibility of using specially selected and tested insects from the native range in order to safely control the plants spread and impact in the introduced range.