Miss Rose McKeon


Biological and Environmental Sciences University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA.

Miss Rose McKeon

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About me

About me

I am a PhD Researcher in Biological and Environmental Sciences. The focus of my research is the complexity and context specificity of fungal biopesticide resistance evolution. The project is supervised by Matt Tinsley, and funded via the NERC IAPETUS2 DTP with secondary supervision and genomics training delivered by Mike Ritchie's group at St Andrews.

I completed my BSc in Biology with Honours in 2020 at the University of Stirling. During my undergrad, I became entranced by evolutionary theory. I focused my research project on using individual-based modelling to understand how strong the selection against the evolution of polyploidy in flowering plants really is.

Before my undergrad, I worked as a web developer and graphic designer in the North of England. I completed Art College in 2004, taught myself to code, and set about trying to make the web a more beautiful and functional place. I'm maintaining these skills by developing educational and research focused apps that integrate with ecological and evolutionary models.


Can evolutionary theory be applied by manipulating agricultural environments to prolong the life of ecologically sustainable biopesticides? I find this idea both fascinating and motivating. Suppose we can affect the evolution of resistance to biopesticides by moving evolutionary goal posts in these managed agroecosystems by fluctuating selection pressures. To consider how we might do that, we need to understand the genetic basis of resistance evolution and the environmental factors that influence both resistance-conferring genes and the host-parasite interactions which result from biopesticide application.

I'm researching the genetic basis and context-specificity of fungal biopesticide resistance evolution in Helicoverpa armigera (the cotton bollworm), a world-renowned and devastating crop pest with a challenging track record of resistance evolution.

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I've provided teaching assistance with Field Skills, Stats, Population and Community Ecology, and Evolution and Genetics. I have also created web apps which interact with ecological models - these are actively used as educational tools for an entire undergrad module at Stirling. I've also learnt how to apply this skill to research by creating apps for individual based models that record insights into their usage.

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