Nichola’s research focuses on the evolutionary biology of plant pathogens, and how we can develop more durable crop disease control strategies against ever-evolving pathogen populations. This includes factors driving the evolution of fungicide resistance, and how these will apply to future crop protection measures, in pathogens including Zymoseptoria tritici which causes the major wheat disease Septoria leaf blotch.
She is developing new methods for studying the evolution of fungicide resistance in the lab, in order to more accurately predict the risk of control failure in the field, to better inform resistance management guidelines and the development of lower-risk products in future.
Title: Predicting the durability and resistance risk of crop protection measures through experimental evolution of plant pathogens
Duration: April 2022-2025
Funders: BBSRC Discovery Fellowship
Corkley I, Fraaije BA, Hawkins NJ. 2022. Fungicide resistance management: maximising the effective life of plant protection products. Plant Pathology 71: 150-169
Vicentini SNC, Casado PS, de Carvalho G, Moreira SI, Dorigan AF, Silva TC, Silva AG, Custódio AAP, Gomes ACS, Nunes Maciel JL, Hawkins NJ, McDonald BA, Fraaije BA, Ceresini PC. 2022. Monitoring of Brazilian wheat blast field populations reveals resistance to QoI, DMI, and SDHI fungicides. Plant Pathology 71: 304-321
Hawkins NJ, Fraaije BA. 2021. Contrasting levels of genetic predictability in the evolution of resistance to major classes of fungicides. Molecular Ecology 30: 5318-5327
Hawkins NJ, Bass C, Dixon A, Neve P. 2019. The evolutionary origins of pesticide resistance. Biological Reviews 94:135-155
Hawkins NJ, Fraaije BA. 2018. Fitness penalties in the evolution of fungicide resistance. Annual Review of Phytopathology 56: 339-360