University of Sheffield

Oliver Pescott BSc. (Hons) AMIBiol




Short Bio

Botanical Pics

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
Alfred Denny Building
University of Sheffield
Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN

o.pescott {at}
Oliver Pescott

Hello. I am a postgraduate student at the University of Sheffield in the lab of Professor Julie Scholes, co-supervised by Professor Roger Butlin. I am funded by the BBSRC. Thanks for your interest in my page!

I am studying genetic diversity in the hemiparasitic plant Striga hermonthica (Giant Witchweed).
Striga hermonthica parasitises a range of the most important staple food crops in sub-Saharan Africa (including upland rice, maize and sorghum), and as such is a major threat to the food security of Africa's poorest people.

My research will investigate the molecular genetic basis of virulence in S.hermonthica, especially in relation to host specificity (different levels of virulence between different host species or crop cultivars). This is being achieved within a population genomics framework.
Giant Witchweed
Areas of Interest
I am mainly interested in plant genetics, ecology and taxonomy. Having spent some time working at the Centre for Evidence-based Conservation, I am also interested in research synthesis, e.g. meta-analytical and Bayesian methods. Luckily, this also overlaps with the increasing use of Bayesian methods in genetics!

More generally, I am an enthusiastic field botanist (including bryology) and birder, especially in the local patch sense, as I have no car : ) I also try to keep up with developments in urban ecology, and, of course, conservation biology. Otherwise I read whatever looks interesting!

I am also interesting in spreading the word about science and natural history, and I have worked for the RSPB showing the public birds, and leading wildlife walks. I am trying to further this aim by becoming a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Ambassador: see STEMNET for further information.

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