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Rebecca Southwell


Welcome to my e-Portfolio! I’m Bex and I started my PhD at the University of Warwick in October 2013. My main supervisor is Prof. Gary Bending in the School of Life Sciences, but I am also co-supervised by Dr. Jonty Pearson in Warwick School of Engineering and Laurence Hand from Syngenta. My project is funded by the BBSRC with an industrial CASE studentship with Syngenta.

I graduated in July 2013 with a 2.1 degree in Biological Sciences, also at Warwick, where I took a keen interest in the environmental side of the subject. My final year project focused on how fungi produce oil from straw supervised by Dr. Guy Barker. This project aimed to investigate more environmentally friendly and renewable fuels as an alternative to depleting fossil fuel stocks.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of working at Imperial College London for 8 weeks during the summer of 2012. I was working under Dr. Radhika Desikan and funded by the BSPP. The project looked into the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea and its effects on wildtype and mutant Arabidopsis thaliana.

I also have links to agriculture as my family have lived and worked on a farm for several generations. This and my interests in environmental science make my PhD project perfect for me – the fate and degradation of pesticides in flowing water systems. Organic farming may be viewed as more beneficial for the environment, but if we want to feed the growing population we need agricultural techniques to increase crop yields. Projects such as this will give insight into our understanding of how pesticides behave in the environment, so that we can make sure agricultural inputs are increasingly environmentally friendly and sustainable in future.

Within my PhD project, I have mainly focused on how pesticides are degraded by microorganisms, particularly phototrophs. I have set up simple microcosm-scale experiments that were eventually scaled up to a more realistic level. This was in collaboration with Warwick School of Engineering using microflume systems in their hydrology department. My funding also enabled me to carry out work with Syngenta at their research centre in Bracknell, something that has been very valuable to my research career.


bex southwell

Rebecca Southwell

R dot V dot Southwell at warwick dot ac dot uk



Project title

The fate and degradation of pesticides in flowing water systems.


Gary Bending - University of Warwick Life Sciences

Jonty Pearson - Warwick School of Engineering

Laurence Hand - Syngenta


BBSRC Industrial CASE studentship with Syngenta (4 years)