Environmentally sound strategies for pest management involve the use of pest specific targets. My research is concerned with understanding the role of semiochemicals in behaviour with a view to their use in stimulo-deterrent diversionary strategies, also with the mode of action of azadirachtin, an insect antifeedant and growth regulator from the neem tree Azadirachta indica.Research involves the isolation, characterization, bioassay, and biology of sex and aggregation pheromones in biting midges and the salmon louse; host location cues in mosquitoes, biting midges and the salmon louse; habitat related oviposition cues in mosquitoes and novel human derived repellents for the control of insect vectors of disease. Also physiological and biochemical mode of action of azadirachtin using insect cell lines to investigate binding proteins.
New methods of identifying insect vectors of disease have been developed. Of special importance are investigations into the molecular phylogeny and population ecology of Culicoides midge species that act as vectors of blue tongue virus (BTV) and African horse sickness virus (AHSV) 'OIE' listed diseases of livestock threatening Europe and the UK.