Dr MIKE BIRKETT
Principal Chemical Ecologist
Biological / Organic Chemist
Protecting Crops and the Environment
Mike is a biological / organic chemist with more than 27 years’ experience in the chemical ecology of pest-host interactions. He currently leads research on ecology-inspired solutions for next generation pest management, with his group providing a core of expertise in biological and organic chemistry, chemical ecology, microbiomes, plant signalling and biological control.
Mike was instrumental in leading the formulation and testing of hypotheses relating to the role of pheromones and other chemical signals affecting insect pest and natural enemy behaviour, early onset of pest status in crop plants and emission of plant defence signalling, the role of lipid-derived, small lipophilic molecule elicitors of plant defence, the production of novel pheromones and other chemical signals by sustainable routes, and the ecological basis of ectoparasite repellency in vertebrates.
Mike is dedicated to delivering social and economic impact from his groups research and is actively involved in agribusiness and stakeholder engagement to ensure that new ecology-inspired interventions for pest management are being developed.
Mike is also committed to exploring potential commercialisation opportunities from his research, and together with colleagues at Rothamsted Research, in 2020 he co-founded PheroSyn, a spin-out company, with the aim of exploiting outputs from his groups research.
1994 - PhD Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Novel Aspects of Benzyne Chemistry, University of Nottingham, UK
1990 - BSc Biochemistry & Biological Chemistry, (2:1 Honours), University of Nottingham, UK
MEASURES OF ESTEEM
Member of the BBSRC Pool of Experts
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Chartered Chemist, Royal Society of Chemistry
Member of the American Chemical Society, the Phytochemical Society of Europe, The International Society for Chemical Ecology, The Latin American Association of Chemical Ecology
Editorial Board, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (Review Editor for Chemical Ecology) and Chemistry Central Journal (Founding Editor)
Referee for a range of journals and grant-awarding bodies
Supervisor for UK and overseas PhD students
Conference convener and scientific programme committee member
External PhD examiner for UK and overseas Universities Plenary
Keynote speaker at UK and overseas conferences