PhD student attends Parliament to share research findings with MPs and scientific experts

Date 15.03.2016

Earlier this month, Julia Lock – a Moulton College Lecturer and University of Northampton PhD student – joined 59 other Biomedical and Bioscience PhD students and Postdoctoral researchers at Portcullis House in London. Julia was in good company among individuals who had been shortlisted for the SET for Britain 2016 event.

SET for Britain is centred on research in Science, Engineering and Technology, giving early-stage researchers the opportunity to present their research in front of over 100 Members of Parliament and other experts. The aim of this yearly event – which this year had 123 applicants – is to encourage, support and promote early-career research biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers and mathematicians who are essential to the progression of Research and Development in the UK.

Since 2011, Julia has been undertaking a PhD in Plant Pathology under the supervision of the University of Northampton’s Professor Carol Phillips, and Moulton’s Dr James Littlemore and Dr Russell Sharp. Her research looks into the effects of a Novel Green Manure, created from the leaves of a hardy herbaceous perennial, on Replant Disease which poses problems in rosaceous nursery stock, such as pear, apple, cherry, and rowan. Julia strongly believes in the promotion of a natural system whereby inputs, such as chemicals, are limited and positive outputs, such as biomass and yield, are maximised. It is important to effectively manage the production and provision of healthy nursery tree stock to maximise their beneficial outputs in terms of natural capital and ecosystem services.

Current results are significant with the Novel Green Manure inhibiting pathogen growth by over 30 per cent in-vitro and being associated with a 59 per cent increase in median dry root mass in comparison to those of diseased trees. Julia is hoping to complete her PhD soon and is excited about the discovering the full impact of her research.

Julia commented: “I was sincerely honoured to be shortlisted to share my research with a range of individuals. I really appreciated it when Alistair Burt, Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire, and Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry, both accepted my invitation to SET for Britain. It was a pleasure to meet and talk to them both. I have been trying to encourage fellow PhD students to apply to SET for Britain in the future. There is good research going on that should be show cased and my colleagues should be proud of their achievements.”

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