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Dr Alison Wakeham

Senior Research Scientist / Chief Investigator

Institute of Science & the Environment

Contact Details

email: a.wakeham@worc.ac.uk

tel: 01905 542287

Alison is a senior research scientist at the University of Worcester. She leads a team investigating the development and use of molecular and immunological systems to study plant pathogen incidence within horticultural cropping systems.

Current funded research provides the development of diagnostic assay systems (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunochromatographic test strips) to monitor air for Mycosphaerella melonis (gummy stem blight on cucurbits) and Podosphaera xanthii (powdery mildew) on cucurbits. Crop losses can be greatly reduced by disease management practices steered by accurate and early diagnoses of pathogen presence. Determinations of disease potential can help guide optimal crop rotation regimes, varietal selections, targeted control measures, harvest timings and crop post-harvest handling.

Additionally, a programme of research involves the isolation and identification of oomycete species across a range of horticultural cropping systems. The oomycetes are a large group of fungus-like microorganisms, with representatives in virtually every terrestrial, marine and freshwater habitat worldwide. Many are pathogenic, a significant proportion are saprophytic and others provide potential as bio-control agents.  For control and management the development of diagnostic tools are investigated (plant, soil, water and air) and their application within integrated disease management systems is studied. Assay systems under development include a multiplex DNA based bead assay (MAGPIX Luminex system), ELISA, zoospore trapping assay (ZTI) and immunochromatographic test strips.

Potential independent study opportunities: I would be delighted to discuss the research areas outlined and potential aspects for independent study. To a range of plant pathogens we have a suite of monoclonal and polyclonal sera available for development of diagnostic tests. The Charles Darwin building hosts an environmental chamber (simulates worldwide conditions) which could be useful to understand the effect of environmental conditions on test performance. On-site diagnostic tests (similar to the 5 min pregnancy test) are used year round in the field where climate will likely affect test conditions. Food for thought: For agricultural industry use, the focus should be on how the test result will relate to the cropping system. Spatial and temporal variation of target pathogen incidence. Diagnostic platforms are evolving at a rapid rate and often the smarter the technology, the smaller the sample size. Consideration of whether the ability to reliably discriminate viable, from dead/inactivated propagules is important and the concentrations at which genus, species or pathotype discrimination is required.

Research

Research

Current Research Funding Awards (Principal Investigator)

  • 2015 -2018 £263,000:00 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Development and testing of single and multiplex diagnostic devices for rapid and precise early detection of oomycete root and collar rot pathogens for disease avoidance, management and control.
  • 2015-2018 £196,000:00 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Development and testing of a lateral flow device for both gummy stem blight and powdery mildew in bio-aerosols during curcurbit production

Recent Research Funding Awards (Principal Investigator)

  • 2014  £55,416:00 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. An integrated disease management system to ascribe risk of downy mildew disease on commercial crops in the UK.
  • 2014 £10,000:00 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Extension CP099.
  • 2013  £67,000:00 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Cubroot lateral flow in UK commercial Brassica cropping systems.
  • 2013  £15,000:00 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. Evaluate the UK Horticultural Industry requirement for on-site diagnostic tests for crop pathogens and their use within disease management systems.
  • 2012 £122,500 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Lateral flow detection devices for the light leaf spot and powdery mildew vegetable Brassica pathogens and testing of white blister detection test prototypes.

International Collaborations 

  • Rapid detection systems for the clubroot pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae and Albugo candida.  (Dr. R Faggian, Dr L. Minchington Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia.).
  • Development of  lateral flow detection systems for Papaya ringspot virus. (Commonwealth Visiting Fellowship award with IARI, India).
Publications

Publications

Selected Journal Publications

  • WAKEHAM A.J., KEANE, G AND KENNEDY R. (2016). Field Evaluation of a Competitive Lateral-Flow Assay for Detection of Alternaria brassicae in Vegetable Brassica Crops. Plant Disease (in press)
  • WAKEHAM A.J. AND PETTITT T.R. (2016). Diagnostic tests and their application in oomycete disease management in agricultural systems, particularly for assessments of soil and water-borne species. Annals of Applied Biology (in press)
  • WAKEHAM A.J., LANGTON A. ADAMS S AND KENNEDY R. (2016). Interface of the environment and occurrence of Botrytis cinerea in pre-symptomatic tomato crops. Crop Protection (in press)
  • KENNEDY, R. and WAKEHAM, A.J. (2015). Centenary Editorial: Measuring biological particles in the air using the Hirst type spore trap: aerobiology in the age of genomics. Annals of Applied Biology 166, 1-3.
  • SKJØTH, C. A.  WERNER, M.  KRYZA, M.  ADAMS-GROOM, B. WAKEHAM, A. LEWIS M. AND KENNEDY R.  (2015). Quality of the governing temperature variables in WRF-Chem in relation to simulation of primary biological aerosols. Advances in Meteorology. 15p. doi.org/10.1155/2015/412658
  • PETTITT, T.R., WAINWRIGHT, M.F., WAKEHAM, A.J. and WHITE, J.G. (2011). A simple detached leaf assay provides rapid and inexpensive determination of pathogenicity of Pythium isolates to ‘all year round’  (AYR) chrysanthemum roots. Plant Pathology 60, 946-956.
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. & KENNEDY, R. (2010). Risk Assessment Methods for the Ringspot Pathogen Mycosphaerella brassicicola in Vegetable Brassica Crops. Plant Disease 94, 851-859.
  • KENNEDY R. & WAKEHAM A. J.  (2008). Development of in-field detection systems for the sporangia of Peronospora destructorEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology.  122, 147 – 155.  
  • WAKEHAM, A.J., KENNEDY, R. & MC CARTNEY, H.A. (2004). The collection and retention of a range of common airborne spore types trapped directly into microtiter wells for enzyme-linked immunosorbent analysis. Journal of Aerosol Science 35, 835-850
  • PETTIT, T.R., WAKEHAM A.J., WAINWRIGHT, M. & WHITE J.G. (2002). Comparison of serological, culture and bait methods for detection of Pythium and Phytophthora zoospores in water. Plant Pathology 51, 720-727.
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM A.J. (2002). New methods for detecting and enumerating fungal spores of plant pathogens. Plant Protection Science 38, 38-42.
  • KENNEDY, R.,  WAKEHAM A.J., K.G. BYRNE, MEYER, U.M. and DEWEY, F.M. (2000). A new method to monitor airborne inoculum of fungal plant pathogens: Mycosphaerella brassicicola and Botrytis cinerea. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66, 2996-3003.
  • KENNEDY, R. WAKEHAM A.J. & CULLINGTON, J.E.  (1999). Production and immunodetection of ascospores of Mycosphaerella brassicicola: ringspot of vegetable crucifers. Plant Pathology 48, 297-307.
  • WAKEHAM, A.J.,  T.R. PETTITT & WHITE, J.G.  (1997). A novel method for detection of viable zoospores of Pythium in irrigation systems. Annals of Applied Biology. 131, 427-435.
  • WAKEHAM A.J. & WHITE, J.G.  (1996). Serological detection in soil of Plasmodiophora brassicae resting spores.  Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 48, 289-303.
  • WHITE, J.G., LYONS, N.F., WAKEHAM, A.J., MEAD, A. & GREEN, J.R. (1994). Serological profiling of the fungal genus PythiumPhysiological and Molecular  Plant Pathology  44, 349-361.

 

International Scientific Conference Papers

  1. WAKEHAM, A.J., KEANE, G., PROCTOR, M. & KENNEDY, R. (2012). Monitoring infection risk for air and soil borne fungal plant pathogens using antibody and DNA techniques and mathematical models describing environmental parameters. Microbes in Applied Research: Current Advances and Challenges p 152-156. Editor: A. Mendez-Vilas, World Scientific Publishing Co., Ltd  ISBN: 978-981-4405-03-4.
  1. ª WAKEHAM A.J.  (2010). Quantification of aerobiological material using antibody based systems. 9th International Congress on Aerobiology, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Argentina, 23 to 27th August, 2010. p19
  1. WAKEHAM A.J. & KENNEDY R. (2008). Development and validation of in-field detection kits for the clubroot pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae. 9th International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP 2008) Turin, Journal of Plant Pathology (2, Supplement) p 425.
  1. R. KENNEDY &  WAKEHAM A.J.  (2008).  Detection of Pyrenopeziza brassicae ascospores in air samples as a criterion for fungicide applications in Brussels sprout crops. 9th International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP 2008) Turin, Journal of Plant Pathology (2,Supplement) p88.
  1. R. KENNEDY &  WAKEHAM A.J. (2006). Impact of fungicide resistance on light leaf spot control on vegetable brassicas in Scotland.  Aspects of Applied Biology 78, 51 – 58.
  1. R. KENNEDY & WAKEHAM A.J. (2006). Rapid methods for measuring inoculum of plant pathogens and their usage within disease management systems.  The 58th Annual meeting of the Indian Phytopathological Society.  Emerging Plant Diseases their Diagnosis and management. University of North Bengal, Siliguri January 31 – February 2, 2006.
  1. WAKEHAM A.J. & KENNEDY R.  (2003). Characterisation of the Microtitre Immunospore Trap for a range of fungal spore types. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of Plant Pathology, Solving problems in the real world. Christchurch Convention Centre New Zealand. Sunday 2 - Friday 7 February 2003.  p87
  1. WAKEHAM A.J. & KENNEDY R. (2003). Monitoring disease transmission of the fungal plant pathogen Mycosphaerella brassicicola (ringspot).In: Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of Plant Pathology, Solving problems in the real world. Christchurch Convention Centre New Zealand. Sunday 2 - Friday 7 February 2003. 2, p86
  1. R. KENNEDY, A.J.  WAKEHAM & GILLES T. (2003). Brassicaspot a forecasting system for diseases of vegetable brassicas. In:  Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of Plant Pathology, Solving problems in the real world. Christchurch Convention Centre New Zealand. Sunday 2 - Friday 7 February 2003, 2: p131.
  1. R. KENNEDY, A.J. WAKEHAM & T. GILLES (2003). Integrating measures of inoculum within disease forecasting systems.  Proceedings of the 8th  International Congress of Plant Pathology, Solving problems in the real world. Christchurch Convention Centre New Zealand. Sunday 2 - Friday 7 February 2003, 1: p71.
  1. ªWAKEHAM A.J. & KENNEDY R.  (2002). Quantification of airborne inoculum using antibody based systems. BCPC – Pests and Diseases 1: 409-416
  1. ADIE. B., CHALLEN, M., EASTWOOD, D., ELLIOT, T., EVERED, E., GAZE, R., GROGAN, H., WAKEHAM A.J. & MILLS P.R. (2002) DsRNAs in thecultivated mushroom. In:6th European Congress on Fungal Genetics Pisa,Italy., Apri l6th-9th.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J., R. KENNEDY, K.G. BYRNE, G. KEANE andF.M. DEWEY F.M. (2000) Immunomonitoring airborne fungal plant pathogens : Mycosphaerella brassicicola (ringspot). European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation Bulletin 30: 475-484
  1. KENNEDY R.  & WAKEHAM A.J. (2000) Immunological methods for detecting and enumerating airborne fungal spores. Second European Symposium on Aerobiology, Vienna, 4 –9 th September, p8

ªInvited Keynote speaker

 

Research Contract Reports

  • WAKEHAM, A., KEANE, G., JOHN, S., & PETCH, G. (2016).  Evaluation of an integrated disease management system to ascribe risk of downy mildew disease on commercial salad and bulb onion crops in the UK. HDC CP099C Final Report (47 pages).
  • WAKEHAM, A., PETTITT, R., KEANE, G., JOHN, S., LEWIS, M. and Edwards, E. (2016) Development and testing of single and multiplex diagnostic devices for rapid and precise early detection of oomycete root and collar rot pathogens for disease avoidance, management and control (40 pages)
  • WAKEHAM, A.J., KEANE, G., JOHN, S., PETCH, G.  & LEWIS, M. (2015). Development and testing of a lateral flow device for both gummy stem blight and powdery mildew in bio-aerosols during cucurbit  production. HDC CP137 Annual Report (29 pages).
  • WAKEHAM, A.J., LEWIS, M., KEANE, G., EDWARDS, E., PETCH, G.M. & JOHN, S. (2015). Validation of the clubroot lateral flow in UK commercial Brassica cropping systems. HDC CP099 (61 pages)
  • WAKEHAM, A.J, KEANE, G., JOHN, S., & PETCH, G. (2015). Diagnostics: Validation of the lateral flow detection devices for the light leaf spot and  powdery mildew vegetable brassica pathogens and testing of white blister prototypes. HDC CP099a (51 pages).
  • PETTITT, T.,  WAKEHAM, A.J. & MCPHEARSON, G.M. (2015). A desk study to review global knowledge on best practice for oomycete root rot detection and control. HDC (171 pages).
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. (2014). Evaluate the UK Horticultural Industry requirement for on-site diagnostic tests for crop pathogens and their use within Disease Management Systems. HDC CP099b (81 pages).
  • WAKEHAM, A.J., LEWIS, M., KEANE, G., PROCTOR, M, PETCH, G. & KENNEDY, R. (2012). Brassicas: Further development of ‘in field’ tests for resting spores of clubroot and the development of clubroot control based on detection. HDC (43 pages).
  • WAKEHAM, A.J., KEANE, G. , PROCTOR, M.,  PETCH, G. & JOHN, S. & KENNEDY, R. (2012). Onions: Further development and calibration of detection tests for conidia of onion downy mildew in combination with MORPH  forecast model milioncast. HDC FV 336 Final report. (29 pages).
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. & KENNEDY, R. (2011). Onions: Further development and calibration of detection tests for conidia of onion downy mildew in combination with MORPH  forecast model milioncast. HDC FV 336 Annual report. (34 pages)
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. & KEANE, G. (2011). Benchmarking predictive models, nutrients and irrigation for management of downy and powdery mildew and white blister. Horticulture Australia Ltd. HAL Final report VG07070. (28 pages)
  • WAKEHAM, A.J., KEANE, G. & PROCTOR M. (2011). Brassica: Forecasting light leaf spot and powdery mildew in vegetable Brassica crops based on ‘in-field’ detection of airborne spores. HDC FV33 Final report. (47 pages)
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. & KENNEDY R.  (2010).  Benchmarking predictive models, nutrients and irrigation for management of downy and powdery mildew and white blister. Horticulture Australia Ltd. HAL Annual report VG07070.
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM, A.J.  (2007).  Development and validation of detection tests for clubroot. HDC Final Report FV259. (66 pages)
  • KENNEDY, R.K. & WAKEHAM, A.J. (2006). Development of detection systems for conidia of P. destructor (downy mildew) in onion crops. HDC FV  189a Annual Report. (95 pages)
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM, A.J.  (2006). Brassicas: Development and validation of detection tests for clubroot. HDC Annual Report FV259.  (51 pages)
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM A.J. (2005) Onions: Development of detection systems for conidia of Perenospora destructor (downy mildew) in onions. HDC Final Report Project FV189a. (56 pages)
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM A.J. (2005)  FV 233 Brassicas: Development of a rapid field based immunomonitoring assay and its use in controlling disease establishment in transplanted crops. HDC Final report.( 98 pages)
  • KENNEDY, R., GILLES, T. & WAKEHAM, A.J. (2005) The development of a generic disease management system to control downy mildew in transplanted crops. DEFRA Final Report
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM, A.J.  (2004): Brassicas: Development and validation of detection tests for clubroot. HDC Annual Report FV259, pp 38
  • KENNEDY, R.K. & WAKEHAM, A.J. (2004). Brassicas: Development of a rapid field based immunomonitoring assay and its use in controlling disease establishment in transplanted crops. HDC FV233 Annual report, pp 43.
  • KENNEDY, R.K. & WAKEHAM, A.J. (2004). Development of detection systems for conidia of P. destructor (downy mildew) in onion crops. HDC FV  189a Annual Report, pp 35.
  • KENNEDY, R.K. & WAKEHAM, A.J. (2003). Brassicas: Development of a rapid field based immunomonitoring assay and its use in controlling disease establishment in transplanted crops. HDC FV233 Annual report, pp 31.
  • KENNEDY, R.K. & WAKEHAM, A.J. (2002) Studies on the transmission of foliar fungal pathogens of vegetable brassicas for the prediction of disease risk. DEFRA Final Report HH1795SFV. pp34

 

 Stakeholder Presentations / National Conference                                                         

  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2015). Minimising cost of downy mildew by improved targeting of control measures. UK Carrot and Onion conference, Kingsgate Conference Centre on 4th November, 2015.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2015). Application of diagnostic support system for management of gummy stem blight in cucumbers. UK Cucumber and Peppers Growers Conference, Waltham Abbey, Essex on 8th Ocotber, 2015
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2014). Novel diagnostics in the horticultural industry: what can we learn. BPEX Innovation Conference. A glance into the future, cutting edge technology to safeguard pig health on  13th May, Stonleigh Park, Warwickshire
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2014). Update on hand held diagnostics, spore trapping and growers trials. Cucumber Growers Association Annual Conference on 16th October 2014.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2014). Diagnostics: On farm diagnostics - how can they help with pathogen issues ? AHDB Leafy salads roadshow held nationwide on  6th November, 12th November 26th, November 2014.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2014). Use of molecular and on-site antibody diagnostics for quantification of clubroot risk in soil. AHDB winter cauliflower and spring cabbage open day. Tregenna Castle, St Ives, Cornwall on 21st January 2014.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2014). Deployment of diagnostics in disease management systems for horticulture with emphasis on oomycete stem and root pathogens. Held on the 4th March at Warwick University and East Malling Research, Kent on 5th March.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2013). Forecasting disease potential ahead of symptom development – Field Vegetables: A model to follow? UK Herbs and the changing climate. Warwick University on 19th November.
  1. WAKEHAM, AJ. (2012).  Monitoring infection risk of soilborne plant pathogens.  West Midlands Fresh Produce Forum at Pershore College on 7th November, 2012
  1. WAKEHAM, AJ. (2012).  Laboratory and on-site assay systems to monitor target airborne fungal spore concentrations.  New technologies for airborne pollen/allergens monitoring at Meteo Swiss, Payerne on 19th September, 2012
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2012). Detection and control of airborne / soil borne diseases of Brassicas. Getting to the Heart of Horticulture ‘Opportunities and challenges for the horticulture and potato sectors in the West Midlands’ at The Civic Centre, Pershore on 13th January, 2012.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2012). Development of ‘in field’ tests for resting spores of clubroot and the clubroot control based on detection. Syngenta : Brassica Marketing and Development Meeting on 10-11th July, Enkhuizen, The Netherlands.
  1. WAKEHAM, A.J. (2012). RD- 2008-3525 Brassicas: Further development of “in field”  tests for resting spores of clubroot and the development of clubroot control based on detection. HGCA Oilseed Rape Disease Monitoring  meeting at Broom’s Barn Research Centre on 11th January 2012.
  2. WAKEHAM, A.J. & R. KENNEDY (2009). Determining risk of  clubroot in UK soils. Brassica Association Growers Meeting, Lancashire.
  1. WAKEHAM A.J., (2007). Development and application of  field tests to determine disease risk of target plant pathogens in vegetable crops. Warwick HRI Seminar Series.
  1. Wakeham A.J., (2004). Molecular and immunological methods to diagnose plant diseases. National Academy  Gifted and Talented Youth Seminar Series, University of Warwick 2004.
  1. Wakeham A.J.( 2004). Monitoring airborne inoculum of the ringspot pathogen Mycosphaerella brassicicola. Warwick HRI Departmental Seminar 2003
  1. Wakeham A.J. (2004). Development of immunodiagnostic systems to monitor inoculum of fungal plant pathogens. NZVegFed grower's seminar series in Auckland, New Zealand 29 – 31st  January.
  1. Wakeham A.J. & KENNEDY R. (2002). Determining Risk: Integration of disease inoculum and environmental field data. Brassica Association Growers Meeting.
  1. Wakeham A.J. & KENNEDY R. (2001). Integrating methods: New Methodologies for control airborne disease. HDC/HRA Brassica Forum 2001.
  1. Wakeham A.J. (2001). Monitoring airborne inoculum of fungal plant pathogens, Brassica Growers Association  Meeting, August.
  1. Wakeham A.J. & KENNEDY R. (2000). New methods for detection and forecasting diseases of vegetables. Low input / Pesticide Free Production of Vegetables, HRI-Kirton, 23 August 2000.
  1. WAKEHAM A.J. & KENNEDY, R. (2000). Monitoring  airborne Inoculums of M. brassicicola. Horticulture Development Council Grower Day, HRI Kirton
  1. R. KENNEDY & WAKEHAM A.J. (2000). Forecasting: Putting the squeeze on disease. Brassica Growers  Conference, Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire 27th Sept 2000.
  1. WAKEHAM A.J. & LYONS, N. (2000). Hands on Diagnostics. ARIA Science day, Rothamsted, UK.

 

Press Articles

  • WAKEHAM, A.J. (2015). Timely checks for clubroot risk. AHDB Grower  July/August Issue p24-25. 
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. (2014). Diagnostics at your fingertips – A review. HDC News. No. 27.
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. and ANDERSON R.A (2014). Hygiene routines stop fungal diseases. The commercial greenhouse grower. December 2014. 
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM, A.J.  (2012) Mildew risk mapped out. HDC News. July/August, p 20-21.
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. (2012) The spread of the cruciferous curse. Crop Production. Sep. 2012.
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. (2011). Health checks and Pollen readings from the comfort of your car. SMMT Innovation and Technology – The Newsletter. Dec 2011, p7-8.
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. (2011). Airborne early warnings. HDC News. May, p26 – 27.
  • KENNEDY, R. &  WAKEHAM, A.J. (2007). Predicting dark leaf spot outbreaks using lateral flow tests. The Vegetable Farmer, p15 - 17
  • KENNEDY, R. & WAKEHAM, A.J.  (2001) Diseases detectives. Grower 42.
  • WAKEHAM, A.J. and KENNEDY, R.  (2000) Advances in detection, identification and quantification of airborne microflora. International Pest Control 42: 174-175
Professional bodies

Professional bodies

Member of the Royal Society of Biology

Chartered Biologist

American Phytopathological Society