Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows


Dr Michael Birkett



Rothamsted Research, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ


  • Principal Investigator
    BCCP Harpenden


Past Projects

Project Leader

  • BBSRC Quota Studentship: Defining the role of semiochemicals in host location and selection by UK Culicoides spp. biting midges
  • Elucidating the chemical ecology of belowground plant-plant communication
  • Monitoring and intervention strategies for bluetongue virus epidemics in rural India


  • Chemical ecology of pest and beneficial arthropods : Identification, biosynthesis and scaled production of pheromones and other semiochemicals


Dr Mike Birkett is a Principal Investigator in Chemical Ecology and is Deputy Head of the Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection Department at Rothamsted Research. Mike has a background in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry, and a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. He leads Chemical Ecology research in the Rothamsted Institute Strategic Programme on Delivering Sustainable Systems, where the overall aim is to exploit pheromones and other semiochemicals for the sustainable control of pests affecting crop, livestock and animal health. With current support from BBSRC competitive grants, Defra and the Royal Society, his research focusses on the characterisation of novel insect pheromones and other semiochemicals, investigating molecular interactions between semiochemicals and their recognition proteins, elucidating the signalling processes underlying natural stress-related defence in plants, and the development of new measures for the control of livestock/human disease vectors and rodents. Mike collaborates with leading institutes based in the UK and across Europe, and also in Brazil, Kenya, Ghana, India and China, and co-ordinates Rothamsted chemical ecology collaborations in Latin America. He has been invited to organise symposia at ISCE meetings in 2014 "Recent Development in Chemical Ecology for Suatainable Food Production" and 2013 "New Chemical Ecology Based Interventions for the Control of Ectoparasites Affecting Farmed Livestock and Human Health", and at ICE2012 on “New Science for Sustainable Insect Pest Control Based on Chemical Ecology”. Mike has given many invited (including Plenary) lectures nationally and internationally. Mike has > 130 publications and patents, including several publications in PNAS, Ecology Letters, Natural Product Reports. In 2002, he was granted Chartered Chemist status. He was elected as an ISCE councillor from 2006-2009, and in 2010, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Refereed publications, reviews and book chapters:

  • Poppy, G.M., Jepson, P., Pickett, J.A. and Birkett, M.A. (2014). Achieving food and environmental security: new approaches to close the gap.  Proc. Roy. Soc. Trans B, in press.
  • Khan, Z.R., Midega, C.A.O., Pittchar, J.O., Murage, A., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J. and Pickett, J.A. (2014). Achieving food security for one million sub-Sahara African poor through push-pull innovation by 2020. Phil. Trans. Roy Soc B, in press.
  • Pickett, J.A., Aradottir, G.I., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J., Hooper, A.M., Midega, C.A.O., Jones, H.D., Matthes, M.C., Napier, J.A., Pittchar, J.O., Smart, L.E, Woodcock, C.M. and Khan, Z.R. (2014). Delivering sustainable crop protection strategies via the seed: exploiting natural and constitutive and inducible defence pathways. Phil Trans Roy Soc B in press.
  • Vuts, J., Imrei, Z., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Woodcock, C.M. and Toth, M. (2014). The Semiochemistry of Scarabs, Journal of Chemical Ecology, in press.
  • Farias, L.R., Paula, D.P., Zhou, J.J., Liu, R., Pappas Jr, G.J., Moraes, M.C.B., Laumann, R.A., Borges, M., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Field, L.M. and Bao, S.N. (2014). Identification and Expression Profile of Two Putative Odorant-Binding Proteins from the Neotropical Brown Stink Bug, Euschistus heros (Fabricius) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Neotropical Entomology, in press.
  • Pickett, J.A., Allemann, R. and Birkett, M.A. (2013). The Semiochemistry of Aphids. Natural Product Reports, 30, 1277-1283.
  • Parra, L., Rojas, C., Catrielo, A., Galdames, R., Mutis, A., Birkett, M.A. and Quiroz, A. (2013). Differences in the fly load of Haematobia irritans (Diptera: Muscidae) on cattle is modified by endophyte infection of pastures. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, 15, 1-15.
  • Toth, M., Furlan, L., Vuts, J., Csonka, E.B., Szarukan, I., Toshova, T., Subchev, M., Velchev, D.I., Woodcock, C.M., Caulfield, J.C., Mayon, P., Pickett, J.A. and Birkett, M.A. (2013). Efforts to develop female-targeted attractants for click beetles – a summary. Proceedings IOBC-WPRS Bulletin 90, 227-230. 16-20 June 2013, Zagreb.
  • Hastie, L.C., Wallace, C., Birkett, M.A., Douglas, A., Jones, O., Mordue (Luntz), A.J., Ritchie, G., Pickett, J.A., Webster, J.L. and Bowman, A. (2013). Prevalence and infection intensity of sea lice (Lepeoptheirus salmonis) on Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) host is reduced by the non-host compound 2-aminoacetophenone. Aquaculture, 410-411, 179-183.
  • Vuts, J., Furlan, L., Csonka, E.B., Woodcock, C.M., Caulfield, J.C., Mayon, P., Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A. and Toth, M. (2013). Development of a female attractant for the click beetle, Agriotes brevis. Pest Management Science, DOI 10.1002/ps.3589.
  • Oluwafemi, S., Dewhirst, S.Y., Veyrat, N., Powers, S., Bruce, T.J.A., Caulfield, J.C., Pickett, J.A. and Birkett, M.A. (2013). Priming of Volatile Organic Defence Compound Production in Maize by the Natural Plant Activator cis-Jasmone. PLoS One, 8, e62299.
  • Babikova, Z., Gilbert, L., Bruce, T.J.A., Birkett, M.A., Caulfield, J.C., Woodcock, C.M., Pickett, J.A. and Johnson, D. (2013). Underground signals carried through common mycelial networks warn neighbouring plants of aphid attack. Ecology Letters, 16, 835-843.
  • Irish, S., Bruce, S., Moore, S., Birkett, M.A. and Cameron, M. (2013). Evaluation of a nonanal-trimethylamine lure for collection of Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) in gravid traps. Journal of Medical Entomology, 50, 619-623
  • Susset, E.C., Ramon-Portugal, F., Hemptinne, J.L., Dewhirst, S.Y., Birkett, M.A. and Magro, A. (2013). The role of semiochemicals in short-range location of aggregation sites in Adalia bipunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology, 39, 591-601.
  • Sasaki-Crawley, A.S., Curtis, R., Birkett, M.A., Papadopoulos, A., Blackshaw, R and Pickett, J.A. (2012). The use of Pluronic F-127 to study the development of the potato cyst nematode, Globodera pallida. Nematology, 14, 869-873.
  • Magalhaes, D.M., Borges, M., Laumann, R.A., Sujii, E.R., Mayon, P., Caulfield, J.C., Midega, C.A.O., Khan, Z.R., Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A. and Blassioli-Moraes, M.C. (2012). Semiochemicals from herbivory induced cotton plants enhance the foraging behaviour of the cotton boll weevil Anthonomus grandis. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 38, 1528-1538.
  • Koczor, S., Szentkiralyi, F., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Voigt, E. and Toth, M. (2012). Comparison of different synthetic baits in field experiments with respect to attractivity to green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). NOVENYVEDELEM 48, 11, 501-506.
  • Ukeh, D., Woodcock, C.M., Pickett, J.A. and Birkett, M.A. (2012). Identification of Host Kairomones from Maize, Zea mays, for the Maize Weevil, Sitophilus zeamais. J. Chem. Ecol., 11, 1402-1409.
  • Weeks, E.N.I., Logan, J.G., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A. and Cameron, M.M. (2012). Tracking bed bugs (Cimex lectularius): a study of the effect of physiological and extrinsic factors on the response to bed bug-derived volatiles. J. Exp. Biol., 216, 460-469.
  • Midega, C.A.O., Nyang’au, I.M., Pittchar, J., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Borges, M. and Khan, Z.R. (2012). Farmers’ perceptions of cotton pests and their management in western Kenya. Crop Protection, 42, 193-201.
  • Moraes, M.C.B., Laumann, R.A., Oliveira, M.W.M., Woodcock, C.M, Mayon, P., Hooper, A., Pickett J.A., Birkett M.A. and Borges M. (2012) Sex pheromone communication in two sympactric Neotropical stink bug species Chinavia ubica and Chinavia impicticornis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). J. Chem. Ecol., 38, 836-845.
  • Tamiru A., Bruce, T.J.A., Midega, C.A.O., Woodcock, C.M., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A. and Khan, Z.R. (2012). Oviposition induced volatile emissions from African smallholder farmers maize varieties. J. Chem. Ecol., 38, 231-234.
  • Symmes, E.J., Dewhirst, S.Y., Birkett, M.A., Campbell, C.A.M., Chamberlain, K., Pickett, J.A. and Zalom, F.G. (2012). The sex pheromones of mealy plum (Hyalopterus pruni) and leaf-curl plum aphids (Brachycaudus helichrysi): identification and field trapping of male and gynoparous aphids in prune orchards. J. Chem. Ecol., 38, 576-583.
  • J.A. Pickett, G.I. Aradottir, M.A. Birkett, T.J. Bruce, Z.R. Khan, C.A.O. Midega, L.E. Smart and C.M. Woodcock. (2012). Aspects of insect chemical ecology:  exploitation of reception and detection as tools for deception of pests and beneficial insects. Physiol. Entom., 32, 2-9.
  • Dewhirst, S.Y., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J.A., Martin, J.L., Pye, B.J., Smart, L.E., Hardie, J. and Pickett, J.A. (2012). Activation of defence in sweet pepper, Capsicum annuum, by cis-jasmone, and its impact upon aphid and aphid parasitoid behaviour. Pest Man Sci., 68, 1419-1429.
  • P.D.K. Jayanthi, C.M. Woodcock, J.C. Caulfield, M.A. Birkett and T.J.A. Bruce. (2012). Isolation and identification of host cues from mango, Mangifera indica, that attract gravid female oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae). J. Chem. Ecol., 38, 361-369.
  • M. Hegde, J. Nobre Oliveira, J.G. da Costa, E. Bleicher, A. E. Goulart Santana, T. J. A. Bruce, J. Caulfield, C. M. Woodcock, J. A. Pickett and M. A. Birkett. (2012). Aphid antixenosis in cotton is activated by the natural plant activator cis-jasmone. Phytochemistry, 72, 81-88.
  • M.A. Khan, I. Jones, E. Loza-Reyes, M.M. Cameron, J.A. Pickett and M.A. Birkett. (2012). Interference in foraging behaviour of European and American House Dust Mites Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Epidermoptidae) by Catmint, Nepeta cataria (Lamiaceae). Exp. Appl. Acar., 57, 65-74.
  • L.E. Harrup, J.G. Logan, J. Cook, N. Golding, M.A. Birkett, J.A. Pickett, C. Sanders, D.J. Rogers, P.S. Mellor, B.V. Purse and S. Carpenter. (2012). Trapping of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) using CO2 and Enantiomers of 1-octen-3-ol in the United Kingdom. J. Med. Entom., 49, 112-121.
  • Ukeh, D., Umoetok, S., Bowman, A., Mordue (Luntz), A.J., Pickett, J.A. and Birkett, M.A. (2012). Alligator pepper, Aframomum melegueta and Ginger, Zingiber officinale, reduce stored maize infestation by the Maize Weevil, Sitophilus zeamais, in traditional African granaries. Crop Protection, 32, 99-103.
  • Birkett, M.A., Hooper, A.M., Khan, Z.R., MIdega, C.A.O., Pickett, J.A. and Torto, B. (2011). Exploiting the chemistry of African biodiversity in pest management: from extraction of plant chemicals to expression in GMOs. Proc. 14th Symposium of the Natural Product Research Network for Eastern and Central Africa (NAPRECA), 8-12 August 2011, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • de Fatima S Barreto, O.E Vercillo, M. A. Birkett, J. C. Caulfield, L. A. Wessjohann and C.K. Z. Andrade. (2011). Fast and efficient microwave-assisted synthesis of functionalized peptoids via Ugi reactions, Org. Bio. Chem., 14: 5024-5027.
  • Dutta, T.K., Powers, S.J., Birkett, M., Gaur, H.S. and Curtis, R.H.C. (2011). Effect of small lipophilic molecules of tomato and rice on the behaviour of root-knot nematodes. Nematology, 14, 309-320.
  • Tamiru, T. Bruce, C. Woodcock, J. Caulfield, C. Midega, C. Ogol, P. Mayon, M. Birkett, J. Pickett and Z. Khan (2011) Maize landraces recruit egg and larval parasitoids in response to egg deposition by an herbivore. Ecol. Lett., 14, 1075-1083.
  • Schalchli, H., Hormazabal, E., Becerra, J., Alvear, M., Vidal, J., Birkett, M.A. and Quiroz, A. (2011). Antifungal activity of volatile metabolites emitted by mycelial cultures of native Chilean saprophytic fungi. Chem. Ecol., 1-11.
  • M. Hegde, J. Nobre Oliveira, J. Gomes da Costa, E. Bleicher, A. E. Goulart Santana, T. J. A. Bruce, J. Caulfield, C. M. Woodcock, J. A. Pickett and M. A. Birkett. (2011). Identification of semiochemicals involved in tritrophic interactions between cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, cotton aphids, Aphis gossypii, and the predatory lacewing, Chrysoperla lucasina. J. Chem. Ecol., 37, 741-750.
  • Cook J.I., Majeed, S., Ignell, R., Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A. and Logan, J.G.  (2011). Enantiomeric selectivity in behavioural and electrophysiological responses of Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. Bull. Ent. Res.,101, 541-550.
  • Costa, J.G., Vieira Pires, E., Riffel, A., Birkett, M.A., Bleicher, E. and Goulart Sant'Ana, A.E. (2011). The Role of Volatile Semiochemicals in the Resistance of Pepper, Capsicum spp. cultivars, to the Cotton Aphid, Aphis gossypii. Euphytica, 177, 299-307.
  • Birkett, M.A., Hassanali, A., Hoglund, S., Pettersson, J. and Pickett M.A. (2011). Repellent Activity of Catmint, Nepeta cataria, and Iridoid Nepetalactone Isomers against Afro-Tropical Mosquitoes, Ixodid Ticks and Red Poultry Mites. Phytochemistry, 72, 109-114.
  • Oluwafemi, S., Bruce, T.J.A., Pickett, J.A., Ton, J. and Birkett, M.A. (2011). Behavioural Responses of the Leafhopper, Cicadulina storeyi China, a Major Vector of Maize Streak Virus, to Volatile Cues from Intact and Leafhopper-Damaged Maize. J. Chem. Ecol., 37, 40-48.
  • Weeks, E.N.I., Birkett, M.A., Cameron, M.M. Pickett, J.A. and Logan, J.L. (2011). Semiochemicals of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), and their potential for use in monitoring and control. Pest Man. Sci., 1, 10-20.
  • Weeks, E.N.I., Logan, J.G., Gezan, S.A., Woodcock, C.M., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A. and Cameron, M.M. (2011). A bioassay for studying behavioural responses of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) to bed-bug volatiles. Bull. Entomol. Res., 101, 1-8.
  • Sasaki-Crawley, Curtis, R., Birkett, M.A., Powers, S., Papadopoulos, A., Pickett, J.A., Blackshaw, R. and Kerry, B. (2010). Signalling and behaviour of potato cyst nematode in the rhizosphere of the trap crop, Solanum sisymbrifolium. Aspects App. Biol., 103, 45-52.
  • Hooper, A.M., Khan, Z.R., Torto, B., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J. and Pickett, J.A. (2010). Exploiting phytochemical diversity to control pests of agriculture and vectors of human and animal disease. In Aspects of African Biodiversity, RSC Publishing, 321, 43-48.
  • Koczor, S., Szentkirályi, F., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Voigt, E. and Tóth, M. (2010). Attraction of Chrysoperla carnea-complex and Chrysopa spp. lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) to aphid sex pheromone components and a synthetic blend of floral compounds in Hungary. Pest Man. Sci., 66, 1374-1379.
  • Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J.A. and Pickett, J.A. (2010). Repellent Activity of Nepeta grandiflora and N. clarkeii (Lamiaceae) against the Cereal Aphid, Sitobion avenae (Homoptera: Aphididae). Phytochem. Lett., 3, 139-142.
  • Skelton, A.C., Cameron, M.M., Pickett, J.A. and Birkett, M.A. (2010). Identification of neryl formate as an airborne aggregation pheromone for the American house dust mite, Dermatophagoides farinae, and the European house dust mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Acari: Epidermoptidae). J. Med. Entomol., 47, 798-804.
  • Birkett, M.A. (2010). The Chemistry of Plant Signalling. In Plant-Insect Interactions from an Ecological Perspective. Eds. Baluska, F. and Ninkovic, V. Springer Press, 21-41.
  • Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A., Dewhirst, S.Y., Logan, J.G., Omollo, M.O., Torto, B., Pelletier, J., Syed, Z. and Leal, W.S. (2010). Chemical ecology of animal and human pathogen vectors in a changing global climate. J. Chem. Ecol., 36, 113-121.
  • Bruce, T.J., Midega, C.A.O., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A. and Khan, Z.R. (2010). Is quality more important than quantity? Insect behavioural responses to changes in a volatile blend after stemborer oviposition on an African grass. Biol. Lett., 6, 314-317.
  • Oyarzun, M.P., Palma, R., Alberti, E., Hormazabal, E., Pardo, F., Birkett, M.A. and Quiroz, A. (2009). Olfactory Response of Haematobia irritans (Diptera: Muscidae) to Cattle-Derived Volatile Compounds. J. Med. Entomol., 1320-1326
  • Ukeh, D.A., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J.A., Allan, E.J., Pickett, J.A. and Mordue (Luntz), A.J. (2009). Behavioural responses of the maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais, to host (stored grain) and non-host plant volatiles. Pest Man. Sci., 66, 44-50.
  • Ukeh, D.A., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Bowman, A.S. and Mordue (Luntz), A.J. (2009). Repellent activity of alligator pepper, Aframomum melegueta, and ginger, Zingiber officinale against the maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais. Phytochemistry, 6, 751-758.
  • Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A., Woodcock, C.M. and Zhou, J.J. (2009). Scents and sex. The Biochemist, April, 1-6.
  • Pareja, M., Mohib, A., Birkett, M.A., Dufour S. and Glinwood, R.T. (2009). Behavioural responses to multiple cues: an approach coupling multivariate statistics coupled to generalised linear models. Animal Behaviour, 77, 901-909.
  • Mordue (Luntz), A.J. and Birkett, M.A. (2009). A Review of Host Finding Behaviour in the Parasitic Sea Louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Caligidae: Copepoda). J. Fish Dis., 32, 3-13.
  • Carson, C., Birkett, M.A., Logan, J.L., Mawa, K., Pates, H.V., Pickett, J.A., Rwegoshora, R.T., Tungu, P.K. and Cameron, M.M. (2009). Novel use of stir-bar sorptive extraction (SBSE) in the isolation of oviposition site attractants for gravid Culex quinquefasciatus. Bull. Entomol. Res., 23, 1-7.
  • Moraes, M.C.B., Sereno, F.T.P.S., Michereff, M.F.F., Pareja, M., Laumann, R.A., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A. and Borges, M. (2009). Attraction of the stink bug egg parasitoid, Telenomus podisi (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) to defence signals from soybean, Glycine max (Fabaceae), activated by treatment with cis-jasmone. Ent. Exp. Appl., 131, 178-188.
  • Logan, J.G., Seal, N.J., Cook, J.I., Stanczyk, N.M., Birkett, M.A., Clark, S.J., Gezan, S.A., Wadhams, L.J., Pickett, J.A. and Mordue (Luntz), A.J. (2009). Identification of Human-Derived Volatile Chemicals That Interfere With Attraction of the Scottish Biting Midge and Their Potential Use as Repellents. J. Med. Entomol., 46, 208-219.
  • Frati, F., Chamberlain, K., Birkett, M.A., Dufour, S., Mayon, P., Woodcock, C.M., Wadhams, L.J., Pickett, J.A., Salerno, G., Conti, E. and Bin, F. (2009). Volatiles induced in Vicia faba by Lygus rugulipennis and their role in enhancement of sex pheromone activity. J. Chem. Ecol., 35, 201-208.
  • Glinwood R., Birkett M., Kumar, S. Ninkovic V and Pettersson J (2008) Sustainable plant protection for increased food security in a changing climate. Currents 44/45: 29-33.
  • Dewhirst, S.Y, Birkett, M.A., Fitzgerald, J.D., Stewart-Jones, A., Woodcock, C.M., Wadhams, L.J., Pickett, J.A. and Hardie, J. (2008). Dolichodial: A third component of the aphid sex pheromone? J. Chem. Ecol., 34, 1575-1583.
  • Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A. and Logan, J.G. (2008). DEET repels ORNery mosquitoes. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105, 13195-13196.
  • Pettersson, J., Ninkovic, V., Glinwood, R., Al Abassi, S., Birkett, M., Pickett, J.A. and Wadhams, L.J. (2008). Chemical stimuli supporting foraging behaviour of Coccinella septempunctata (L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): volatiles and allelobiosis – a minireview. Appl. Ent. Zool., 43, 315-321.
  • Webster, B., Bruce, T., Dufour, S., Birkemeyer, C., Birkett, M., Hardie, J. and Pickett, J. (2008). Identification of volatile compounds used in host location by the black-bean aphid, Aphis fabae. J. Chem. Ecol., 34, 1153-1161.
  • Birkett, M.A., Al Abassi, S., Krober, T., Chamberlain, K., Hooper, A.M., Guerin, P.M., Pettersson, J., Pickett, J.A., Slade, R. and Wadhams, L. (2008). Antoectoparasitic activity of the gum resin, gum haggar, from the East African plant, Commiphora holtziana. Phytochemistry, 69, 1710-1715.
  • Bruce, T.J., Matthes, M., Chamberlain, K., Woodcock, C.M., Mohib, A., Webster, B., Smart, L.E., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A. and Napier, J.A. (2008). Multitrophic interactions involving Arabadopsis thaliana investigated by means of cis-jasmone defence activation. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105, 4553-4558.
  • Mauchline, A.L., Birkett, M.A., Woodcock, C.M., Pickett, J.A., Osborne, J.L. and Powell, W. (2008). Electrophysiological and behavioural responses of the pollen beetle, Meligethes aeneus, to volatiles from a non-host plant, lavender, Lavandula angustifolia (Lamiaceae). Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 2, 109-115.
  • Serrano, R.M., Barata, E.N., Birkett, M.A., Hubbard, P.C., Guerreiro, P.S. and Canario, A.V.M. (2008). Behavioural and olfactory responses of female Salaria pavo (Pisces: Blenniidae) to putative pheromones from the anal glands of males. J. Chem. Ecol., 34, 647-658.
  • Logan, J.G., Birkett, M.A., Clark, S.J., Mordue (Luntz), A.J., Pickett, J.A., Powers, S., Seal, N.J. and Wadhams, L.J. (2008). Identification of human-derived volatile chemicals that interfere with attraction of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. J. Chem. Ecol., 34, 308-322.
  • Schonrogge, K., Napper, E.K.V., Birkett, M.A., Woodcock, C.M., Pickett, J.A., Wadhams, L.J., and Thomas, J. (2008). Host recognition by the specialist hoverfly, Microdon mutabilis, a social parasite of the ant, Formica lemani. J. Chem. Ecol., 34, 168-178.
  • Oyarzun, M.P., Birkett, M.A., and Quiroz, A. (2008). Insecticide resistance in the horn fly (Diptera: Muscidae): alternative control strategies. Med. Vet. Entomol., 22, 188-202.
  • Blassioli-Moraes, M.C., Birkett, M.A., Gordon-Weeks, R., Smart, L.E., Martin, J.L., Pye, B.J., Bromilow, R. and Pickett, J.A. (2008). cis-Jasmone induces accumulation of defence compounds in wheat, Triticum aestivum. Phytochemistry, 69, 9-17.
  • Deswarte, F.E.I., Clark, J.H., Wilson, A.J., Hardy, J.J.E., Marriott, R., Chahal, S., Jackson, C., Heslop, G., Birkett, M., Bruce, T.J. and Whitely, G. (2008). Towards an integrated straw-based biorefinery. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, DOI: 10.1002/bbb.
  • Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J., Chamberlain, K., Gordon-Weeks, R., Matthes, M., Napier, J.A., Smart, L.E. and Woodcock, C.M. (2007). Developments in aspects of ecological phytochemistry: the role of cis-jasmone in inducible defence systems in plants. Phytochemistry, 68, 2937-2945.
  • Pino-Marambio, J., A.J. Mordue (Luntz), M. Birkett, J. Carvajal, G. Asencio, A. Mellado and A. Quiroz. (2007). Behavioural studies of host, non-host and mate location by the Sea Louse, Caligus rogercresseyi Boxshall & Bravo, 2000 (Copepoda: Caligidae). Aquaculture, 271, 70-76.
  • Logan, J.G. and Birkett, M.A. (2007). Semiochemicals for biting fly control: their identification and exploitation. Pest Man. Sci., 63, 647-657.
  • Skelton, A.S., Cameron, M.M., Birkett, M.A. and Pickett, J.A. (2007). A novel bioassay for studying house dust mite behaviour. J.Med. Entomol., 44, 367-371.
  • Cook, S.M., Rasmussen, H.B., Birkett, M.A., Murray, D.A., Pye, B.J., Watts, N.P. and Williams, I.H. (2007). Behavioural and chemical ecology underlying the success of turnip rape (Brassica rapa) trap crops in protecting oilseed rape (Brassica napus) from the pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus). Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 1, 57-67.
  • Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A., Blassioli Moraes, M.C., Bruce, T.J.A., Chamberlain, K., Gordon-Weeks, R., Matthes, M.C., Napier, J.A., Smart, L.E., Wadhams, L.J. and Woodcock, C.M. (2007). cis-Jasmone as allelopathic agent in inducing plant defence. Allelopathy Journal, 19, 109-117.
  • Birkett, M.A., Hassanali, A., Logan, J.G., Mordue (Luntz), A.J., Pickett, J.A. and Wadhams, L.J. (2007). Repellents derived from human and animal secretions. IVCC/Gates Workshop, 22-23 January 2007.
  • Pareja, M., Moraes, M.C.B., Clark, S.J., Birkett, M.A. and Powell, W. (2007). Response of the aphid parasitoid, Aphidius funebris, to volatiles from undamaged and aphid-infested Centurea nigra. J. Chem. Ecol., 33, 695-710.
  • Borges, M., Birkett, M., Aldrich, J., Oliver, J.E., Chiba, M., Murata, Y., Laumann, R.A., Barrigossi, J.A., Pickett, J.A. and Moraes, M.C.B. (2006). Sex attractant pheromone from the rice stalk bug, Tibraca limbativentris STAL (Hempitera: Pentatomidae). J. Chem. Ecol., 32, 2749-2761.
  • Beale, M.H., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J., Chamberlain, K., Field, L.M., Huttly, A., Martin, J.L., Parker, R., Phillips, A., Pickett, J.A., Prosser, I.M., Shewry, P., Smart, L.E., Wadhams, L.J., Woodcock, C.M. and Zhang, Y. (2006). Aphid alarm pheromone produced by transgenic plants affects aphid and parasitoid behavior.  P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 103, 10509-10513.
  • Birkett, M.A., Chamberlain, K., Khan, Z.R., Pickett, J.A., Toshova, T., Wadhams, L.J. and Woodcock, C.M. (2006). Electrophysiological responses of the lepidopterous stemborers Chilo partellus and Busseola fusca to the volatiles from wild and cultivated host plants. J. Chem. Ecol., 32, 2475-2487.
  • Nakashima, Y., Birkett, M.A., Pye, B.J. and Powell, W. (2006). Chemically-mediated intraguild predator avoidance by aphid parasitoids: inter-specific variability in sensitivity to semiochemical trails of ladybird predators. J. Chem. Ecol., 32, 1989-1998.
  • Birkett, M.A. and Pickett, J.A. (2006). Interrogation of natural signals/biomarkers. State of Science Review SSR8, Foresight: Infectious Diseases: Preparing for the Future.
  • Powell, W., Pell, J., Nakashima, Y., Baverstock, J. and Birkett, M.A. (2006). Functional biodiversity of aphid natural enemies: positive intra-guild interactions. Proceedings IOBC workshop on landscape management for functional biodiversity, Zurich, Switzerland, 16-19 May 2006, 29, 101-104.
  • Bailey, R.A., Birkett, M.A., Ingvarsdottir, A., Mordue Luntz, A.J., Mordue, W., Pickett, J.A. and Wadhams, L.J. (2006). The role of semiochemicals in mediating host location and non-host avoidance by copepodid larvae of the parasitic sea louse, Lepeoptheirus salmonis, Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 63, 448-456.
  • Pettersson, J., Ninkovic. V., Glinwood, R., Al Abassi, S., Birkett, M., Pickett, J. and  Wadhams, L.J. (2005). Foraging behaviour of Coccinella septempunctata (L.): volatiles and allelobiosis. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Biological Control of Aphids and Coccids, Tsuruoka, Japan, 25-29 September 2005.
  • Nakashima, Y., Birkett, M.A., Powell, W. (2005). Avoidance of intraguild predators by parasitoids: chemical mechanisms, behaviour and field evaluation. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Biological Control of Aphids and Coccids, Tsuruoka, Japan, 25-29 September 2005.
  • Pickett, J.A., Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J.A., Chamberlain, K., Gordon-Weeks, R., Matthes, M., Moraes, M.C.B., Napier, J., Smart, L.E., Wadhams, L.J. and Woodcock, C.M. (2005). Cis-jasmone as an allelopathic agent through plant defence induction. Proceedings of the Fourth World Congress on Allelopathy, Wagga Wagga, Australia, 21-26 August 2005.
  • Pettersson, J., Ninkovic. V., Glinwood, R., Birkett, M. and Pickett, J. (2005). Foraging in a complex environment - semiochemicals support searching behaviour of the seven spot ladybird. European J. Entomol., 102, 365-370.
  • Bruce, T.J.A., Birkett, M.A., Blande, J., Hooper, A.M., Martin, J.L., Khambay, B.P.S., Prosser, I., Smart, L.E. and Wadhams, L.J. (2005). Response of economically important aphids to components of Hemizygia petiolata essential oil. Pest Man. Sci., 61, 1115-1121.
  • Cruz M.D.S, Vega Robles, M.C., Jespersen, J.B., Kilpinen, O., Birkett, M., Dewhirst, S. and Pickett, J. (2005). Scanning electron microscopy of foreleg tarsal sense organs of the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae (DeGeer) (Acari:Dermanyssidae) Micron, 36 (5): 415-421.
  • Ngumbi, E.N., Ngi-Song., Njagi, E.N.M., Torto, R., Wadhams, L.J., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Overholt, W. and Torto, B., (2005). Responses of the stem borer larval endoparasitoid Cotesia flavipes (Hymenoptera:Braconidae) to plant derived synomones: Laboratory and field cage experiments. Biocont.Sci.Tech., 15 (3): 271-279
  • Gouinguene, S., Pickett, J.A., Wadhams, L.J., Birkett, M.A. and Turlings, T.C.J. (2005). Antennal electrophysiological responses of three parasitic wasps to caterpillar-induced volatiles from maize (Zea mays mays), cotton (Gossypium herbaceum), and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). J. Chem. Ecol., 31, 1023-1038.
  • Hassanali, A., Khan, Z.R., Birkett, M.A., Chamberlain, K., Hooper, A.M., Mayon, P., Wadhams, L.J., Woodcock, C.M., Khamis, T.M., van den Berg, J. and Toshova, T. (2004). Understanding chemical ecology and long term biotechnological opportunities for management of stem borers and striga in Northern Africa. Proceedings Second Pest Management Conference, 6-9 December 2004.
  • Birkett, M.A., Agelopoulos, N., Jensen, K-M.V., Jespersen, J.B., Pickett, J.A., Prijs.H., Thomas, G., Trapman, J.J., Wadhams, L.J., and Woodcock, C.M. (2004). The role of volatile semiochemicals in mediating host location and selection by nuisance and disease-transmitting cattle flies. Med. Vet. Entomol., 18, 313-322.
  • Jensen, K-M.V., Jespersen, J.B., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Thomas, G., Wadhams, L.J., and Woodcock, C.M. (2004). Variation in the load of the horn fly, Haematobia irritans (L.), (Diptera: Muscidae) in cattle herds is determined by the presence or absence of individual heifers. Med. Vet. Entomol., 18, 275-280.
  • Birkett, M.A., Bruce, T.J.A., Martin, J.L., Smart, L.E., Oakley, J., and Wadhams, L.J. (2004). Responses of female Orange wheat blossom midge, Sitodiplosis mosellana, to wheat panacle volatiles. J. Chem. Ecol., 30, 1309-1328.
  • Nakashima, Y., Birkett, M.A., Pye, B.J., Pickett, J.A. and Powell, W. (2004). The role of semiochemicals in the avoidance of the seven-spot ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata (Coleoptera; Coccinellidae) by the aphid parasitoid, Aphidius ervi (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). J. Chem. Ecol., 30, 1103-1116.
  • Olagbemiro, T.O., Birkett, M.A., Mordue (Luntz), A.J. and Pickett, J.A. (2004) Laboratory and field responses of the pathogen-vectoring mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, to plant-derived oviposition pheromone and the oviposition pheromone and the oviposition cue skatole. J. Chem. Ecol., 965-976.
  • Goldensaz, S.H., Birkett, M.A., Dewhirst, S.Y., Pickett, J.A.Wadhams, L.J. and McNeil, J.N (2004) Identification of the sex pheromone in the potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas)(Homoptera: Aphididae). J. Chem. Ecol., 819-834.
  • Zhou, J.J., Zhang,G., Huang, W., Birkett, M.A., Field, L.M., Pickett, J.A. and Pelosi, P. (2004) Revisiting odorant-binding protein LUSH of Drosophila melanogaster: evidence for odour recognition and discrimination. FEBS Lett., 558, 23-26.
  • Birkett, M.A. Towards an organic system for cattle fly control: a push and a pull? 2004. Proceedings Joint BGS/AAB/COR conference “Organic Farming – Science and Practice for Profitable Livestock Production”, 20-22 April 2004.
  • M.A. Birkett, C.J. Dodds, I.F. Henderson, L.D. Leake, J.A. Pickett, M.J. Selby and P.  Watson (2004) Antifeedant compounds from three species of Apiaceae active against the field slug Deroceras reticulatum (Muller). J. Chem. Ecol., 30, 563-576.
  • M.A. Birkett and J.A. Pickett (2003). Aphid sex pheromones: from discovery to commercial production. Phytochemistry, 62, 5, 651-656.
  • Birkett, M., Chamberlain, K., Guerrieri, E., Pickett, J. A., Wadhams, L. J. and Yasuda, T. (2003) Volatiles from whitefly-infested plants elicit a host-locating response in the parasitoid, Encarsia formosa. J. Chem. Ecol., 29, 1589-1600.
  • R. Glinwood, J. Pettersson, E. Ahmed, V. Ninkovic, M. Birkett and J. Pickett (2003) Change in acceptability of barley plants to aphids after exposure to allelochemicals from couch-grass (Elytrigia repens). J. Chem. Ecol., 29, 2, 261-274.
  • Mordue (Luntz), A. J., Logan, J., Robertson, S. L., Birkett, M. A., Dewhirst, S. Y., Wadhams, L. J., Pickett, J. A., Mellor, P., Dennison, E. and Mordue, W. (2002). Mating behaviour and the sex pheromone of Culicoides nubeculosus. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part A 132, S67-S68.
  • O. Kilpinen, T. Steenberg, J.B. Jespersen, M.D.S. Cruz, C. Vega Robles, M.A. Birkett, S. Dewhirst and J. Pickett (2002). Advances in the development of alternative control methods against chicken mites. Proceedings Mange and myiasis in livestock annual meeting, 18-21 September 2002.
  • A. Ingvarsdottir, M.A. Birkett, I. Duce, W. Mordue, J.A. Pickett, L.J. Wadhams and A.J. Mordue (Luntz) (2002). Role of semiochemicals in mate location by parasitic sea lice Lepeoptheirus salmonis. J. Chem. Ecol., 28, 10, 2107-2117.
  • A.Ingvarsdottir, M.A. Birkett, I. Duce, R. Genna, W. Mordue, J. Pickett, L. Wadhams and A.J. Mordue (Luntz) (2002). Semiochemical strategies for sea lice control: host location cues. Pest Man.Sci., 58, 6, 537-545.
  • C. Costantini, M.A. Birkett, G. Gibson, J. Ziesmann, N'F. Sagnon, H.A. Mohammed, M. Coluzzi and J.A. Pickett (2001). Electroantennogram and behavioural responses of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae to human-specific sweat components.  Med. Vet. Entomol.,15, 259-266.
  • M.A. Birkett, K. Chamberlain, A.M. Hooper and J.A. Pickett (2001). Does allelopathy offer real promise for practical weed management and for explaining rhizosphere interactions involving higher plants?  Plant and Soil, 232, 31-39.
  • S. Al Abassi, M.A. Birkett, J. Pettersson, J.A. Pickett, L.J. Wadhams and C.M. Woodcock (2001)  Response of the ladybird parasitoid Dinocampus coccinellae to toxic alkaloids from the seven-spot ladybird, Coccinella septempunctataJ. Chem. Ecol., 27, 33-43.
  • M.A. Birkett, D.W. Knight, P.B. Little and M.B. Mitchell. A new approach to dihydrobenzofurans and dihydrobenzopyrans (chromans) based on intramolecular trapping by alcohols of benzynes generated from 7-substituted-1-aminobenzotriazoles. Tetrahedron, 2000, 56, 7, 1013-1023.
  • M.A. Birkett, C.A.M. Campbell, K. Chamberlain, E. Guerrieri, A.J. Hick, J.L. Martin, M. Matthes, J.A. Napier, Pettersson, J.A. Pickett, G.M. Poppy, E.M. Pow, B.J. Pye, L.E. Smart, G.H. Wadhams, L.J. Wadhams and C.M. Woodcock. (2000).  New roles for cis-jasmone as an insect semiochemical and in plant defence against insects. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97: (16) 9329-9334.
  • S. Al Abassi, M.A. Birkett, J. Pettersson, J.A. Pickett, L.J. Wadhams and C.M. Woodcock. (2000). Response of the seven-spot ladybird to an aphid alarm pheromone and an alarm pheromone inhibitor is mediated by paired olfactory cells. J. Chem. Ecol., 26, 1765-1771.
  • M.A. Birkett, B.P.S. Khambay, J.A. Pickett, L.J. Wadhams and C.M. Woodcock, C. M. (1999). Strategies for developing natural products as crop protection agents employing neurotoxicological and other neurophysiological modes of action. In Progress in neuropharmacology and neurotoxicology of pesticides and drugs (SCI Special Publication No 232) D. J. Beadle, ed, 184-192. Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge.
  • T.O. Olagbemiro, M.A. Birkett, J.A. Pickett and A.J. Mordue (Luntz). (1999). Production of the mosquito oviposition pheromone, (5R, 6S)-6-acetoxy-5-hexadecanolide, from the seed oil of the Summer Cypress plant, Kochia  scoparia (Chenopodiaceae). J. Agric. Food Chem., 47, 3411-3415.
  • L.J. Wadhams, M.A. Birkett, W. Powell and C.M. Woodcock. (1999). Aphids, predators and parasitoids. In Insect-plant interactions and induced plant defence (Novartis Foundation Symposium 223), 60-73. Wiley, Chichester.
  • E.M. Pow, J.A. Bennison, M.A. Birkett, M.C. Luszniak, M. Manjunatha, J.A. Pickett, I.S. Segers, L.J. Wadhams, L.R. Wardlow and C.M. Woodcock. (1998).  Behavioural responses of western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) to host plant volatiles. In Proceedings Sixth International Symposium on Thysanoptera, Antalya, Turkey, 27 April-1 May, 1998, 121-128.
  • N. Agelopoulos, M.A. Birkett, A.J. Hick, A.M. Hooper, J.A. Pickett, E.M. Pow, L.E. Smart, D.W.M. Smiley, L.J. Wadhams and C.M. Woodcock. (1998). Exploiting semiochemicals in insect control. Pest. Sci., 55, 225-235.
  • M.A. Birkett, D.W. Knight, R.G. Giles and M.B. Mitchell (1998). Directed deprotonation of 7-methyl-1-aminobenzotriazole: an approach to ortho-substituted benzyne precursors. J. Chem. Soc. Perkin Trans. 1, 2301-2305.
  • S. Al Abassi, M.A. Birkett, J. Pettersson, J.A. Pickett and C.M. Woodcock (1998). Ladybird beetle odour identified and found to be responsible for attraction between adults. Cell. Mol. Life Sci., 54, 876-879.
  • M.A. Birkett, D.W. Knight and M.B. Mitchell (1994). N-Iodosuccinimide; a superior reagent for the generation of benzynes from 1-aminobenzotriazoles. Synlett, 253-254.
  • M.A. Birkett, D.W. Knight and M.B. Mitchell (1993). A new approach to dihydrobenzofurans by intramolecular trapping of benzynes by hydroxyl functions. Tetrahedron Lett., 34, 6939-6940.
  • M.A. Birkett, D.W. Knight and M.B. Mitchell (1993). A new route to ortho-substituted benzyne precursors by deprotonation of 7-methyl-1-aminobenzotriazole derivatives. Tetrahedron Lett., 34, 6935-6938.




  • PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (University of Nottingham)


  • BSc in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry (University of Nottingham)