Katie has worked at East Malling as a strawberry breeder since 2016, including developing new varieties under the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club (EMSBC) initiative and for Malling Fruits. The focus of the programme is genetic improvement and varietal development of the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa).
She is involved in all aspects of the breeding programme and oversees the operational management of the programme, including trialling and seedlings assessments. In addition, she manages the micropropagation (meristem dissection) of key lines, as well as pathogen screening of advanced selections for crown rot (Phytophthora cactorum), powdery mildew (Podosphaera aphanis) and wilt (Verticillium dahlia).
Key varieties released from the programme have included the short-day Malling™ Centenary and the everbearer Malling™ Ace.
Cockerton, H.M., Karlström, A., Johnson, A.W., Li, B., Stavridou, E., Hopson, K.J., Whitehouse, A.B. & Harrison, R.J. (2021). The genetic architecture of strawberry yield and fruit quality traits. 10.1101/2021.06.13.448230. Front Plant Sci. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2021.724847
Cockerton, H.M., Karlstrӧm, A.K., Johnson, A.B., Li, B., Stavridou, E., Hopson, K.J., Whitehouse, A.B., and Harrison, R.J. (2021). Genomic informed breeding strategies for strawberry yield and fruit quality traits. Front. Plant Sci 12, 2101.
Whitehouse, A.B., Johnson, A.W., Cockerton, H.M, Nellist, C.F., Li, B., Wilson, F.M., Hopson, K.J., Passey, A.J., & Harrison, R.J. (2021) Recent progress in strawberry breeding and genetics at NIAB EMR, East Malling, UK (2021). Acta Hort. DOI:10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1309.25
Whitehouse, A.B., Johnson, A.W., Hopson, K.J., Passey, A.J. & Sargent, D.J. (2021) ‘Malling™ Allure’ and ‘Malling™ Champion’: two new strawberry cultivars from NIAB EMR, United Kingdom. Acta Hort. DOI:10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1309.24