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Dr Helen Cockerton

Dr Helen Cockerton

Research Fellow

University of Kent


Dr Cockerton graduated from the University of York with a degree in biology before conducting a PhD in plant and environmental science at the University of Warwick. During her PhD she uncovered a gene amplification mediated mechanism of herbicide resistance in Amaranths. From here, Dr Cockerton went on to conduct postdoctoral research at NIAB EMR where she focused on quantifying genetic components controlling desirable traits in octoploid strawberry. Further projects involved the study of plant pathogen interactions, through using inter-kingdom RNAi to investigate the disease infection process and assisting the development of disease resistant varieties through guiding marker assisted breeding and genomic selection.

In 2021, Dr Cockerton joined the University of Kent as an industrial research fellow and in 2022 she was appointed as a lecturer. Her research group is comprised of a postdoc and three PhD students working to develop environmentally safe crop protection strategies against fungal pathogens of horticultural crops whilst also developing advanced techniques for improved crop modification.

Ultimately, all research efforts are driven by the desire to translate genetic advances into horticulture. Please get in touch if you would like to exploit novel breeding strategies or you are interested in the deployment of disease resistance genes.

Area of expertise

  • Crop Improvment 
  • Plant breeding and genetics
  • Plant pests and diseases