Dr Chris Bell

Dr Chris Bell


I am a molecular biologist that works in both fundamental and applied contexts to investigate plant-symbiont interactions. 

My PhD was obtained from the Plant Nematology Lab in Leeds where I investigated interactions between plants and an economically damaging class of parasites, plant-parasitic nematodes. This centred on understanding the behavioural and transcriptional changes that nematodes initiate upon sensing plant root exudates and perceiving a nearby host, to prepare for parasitism. 

In addition to plant-parasitic nematodes, plant roots are simultaneously exposed to multiple symbionts in soils that each may incur a range of effects from mutualism-parasitism. My current research (UKRI Discovery Fellowship) is focussed on understanding how plants manage these multiple symbioses, in particularly with regards to how plant resources are distributed between biotrophic partners. For example, plants that experience mycorrhizal (mutualist) and plant nematode (parasite) interactions concurrently have the potential to induce transcriptional changes to “prioritise” resource movement towards the beneficial interaction. My research aims to elucidate these resource-allocating mechanisms and manipulate these pathways to develop crops that minimise losses to parasites whilst enhancing positive interactions. We utilise a wide range of approaches from molecular methods that reveal fundamental insights, to field trials and applied outputs

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc Biology, Sheffield Hallam University
  • PhD Biology, University of Leeds
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>