Contact Dr Sofia Kourmpetli
Areas of expertise
- Agrifood Systems
- Food Quality
Sofia holds a BSc(Hons) in Agriculture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and has worked as an agronomist in the public and private sector before pursuing a career in research. She completed an MSc in Plant Genetic Manipulation at the University of Nottingham and a PhD in Plant Sciences at the same university and Rothamsted Research, UK. She has a background in molecular genetics and developmental biology and her postdoctoral research work was focused on understanding the genetic regulatory networks that control fruit and grain development and quality.
Sofia joined the Plant Science Laboratory at Cranfield in 2016 as a Lecturer and since then she has been working on and leading research council and industry-funded projects in three main areas: 1) the reduction of food losses and waste, 2) seed quality and germination 3) urban agriculture. She has a proven record of working in multidisciplinary teams to deliver solutions that contribute to food system resilience and sustainability.
Since January 2020 she is also the Network Liaison Manager for the BBSRC-funded Horticultural Quality and Food Loss Network, that aims to bring together industry and academia in order to tackle food loss and waste challenges.
Sofia is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Agrifood MSc Programme Director. She also teaches on the Food Systems and Management MSc and Future Food Sustainability courses in subjects relevant to her expertise.
PhD projects are available in a broad range of plant science-related subjects for motivated externally-funded or self-funded individuals. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact me to discuss research objectives and areas of interest.
Active research projects include:
1. Improving tree seed and establishment to support Agroforestry and on-farm sustainability. (2022 - 2024), in collaboration with Elsoms Seeds Ltd., funded by InnovateUK and Defra.
Understanding the seed physiology of a range of tree and hedgerow species and developing seed treatments to support direct establishment in the field.
2. Reducing seed losses and waste in umbelliferous crops. (2020 - 2024), FoodBiosystems DTP CASE studentship supported by Elsoms Seeds Ltd.
Investigating the genetic control of seed quality traits in parsnip and related crops and developing breeding strategies for reducing seed loss and waste.
3. Understanding seed longevity in weeds and developing non-destructive methods for assessing and monitoring seed quality during storage. (2021 - 2025), FoodBiosystems DTP CASE studentship supported by Syngenta Ltd.
Investigating the underlying mechanisms that control seed longevity and developing methods for predicting and monitoring quality during storage.
4. Rurban Revolution: Can ruralising urban areas through greening and growing create a healthy, sustainable and resilient food system? (2019-2021).
Funded by the Global Food Security Programme, BBSRC, ESRC, NERC and the Scottish Government.
This project is led by Lancaster University and in collaboration with the University of Liverpool.
We aim to build an interdisciplinary evidence base on how urban green spaces and growing potentially influence: a) healthy and sustainable diets by improving availability, access and consumption of fruit and vegetables, b) food production in terms of quantity, quality and safety and the resilience of the UK food system, and c) ecosystem service delivery, both inside and outside cities.
For more info: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/rurbanrevolution/
Articles In Journals
- Payen FT, Evans DL, Falagán N, Hardman CA, Kourmpetli S, Liu L, Marshall R, Mead BR & Davies JAC (2022) How much food can we grow in urban areas? Food production and crop yields of urban agriculture: a meta-analysis, Earth's Future, 10 (8) Article No. e2022EF002748.
- Kourmpetli S, Falagán N, Hardman CA, Liu L, Mead B, Walsh L & Davies J (2022) Scaling-up urban agriculture for a healthy, sustainable and resilient food system: the postharvest benefits, challenges and key research gaps, International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation, 8 (2-3) 145-157.
- Evans DL, Falagán N, Hardman CA, Kourmpetli S, Liu L, Mead BR & Davies JAC (2022) Ecosystem service delivery by urban agriculture and green infrastructure – a systematic review, Ecosystem Services, 54 (April) Article No. 101405.
- Walsh LE, Mead BR, Hardman CA, Evans D, Liu L, Falagán N, Kourmpetli S & Davies J (2022) Potential of urban green spaces for supporting horticultural production: a national scale analysis, Environmental Research Letters, 17 (1) Article No. 014052.
- Mead BR, Davies JA, Falagán N, Kourmpetli S, Liu L & Hardman CA (2022) Urban agriculture in times of crisis: the role of home food growing in perceived food insecurity and well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown, Appetite, 169 (February) Article No. 105508.
- Mead BR, Davies JAC, Falagán N, Kourmpetli S, Liu L & Hardman CA (2021) Growing your own in times of crisis: the role of home food growing in perceived food insecurity and well-being during the early COVID-19 lockdown, Emerald Open Research, 3 Article No. 7. Dataset/s: 10.17605/OSF.IO/7EZJQ
- Mead BR, Christiansen P, Davies JAC, Falagán N, Kourmpetli S, Liu L, Walsh L & Hardman CA (2021) Is urban growing of fruit and vegetables associated with better diet quality and what mediates this relationship? evidence from a cross-sectional survey, Appetite, 163 (August) Article No. 105218.
- Collings ER, Alamar MC, Bogaerts Marquez M, Kourmpetli S, Kevei Z, Thompson AJ, Mohareb FR & Terry LA (2021) Improving the tea withering process using ethylene or UV-C, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 69 (45) 13596-13607. Dataset/s: 10.17862/cranfield.rd.14038814
- Mead BR, Davies EB, Davies J, Falagán N, Kourmpetli S, Liu L, Walsh L & Hardman CA (2021) A qualitative analysis of perceived opportunities and barriers to engaging in urban agriculture [Abstract], Appetite, 157 (February) Article No. 104878.
- Kourmpetli S & Drea S (2014) The fruit, the whole fruit, and everything about the fruit, Journal of Experimental Botany, 65 (16) 4491-4503.
- Grant-Downton R, Kourmpetli S, Hafidh S, Khatab H, Le Trionnaire G, Dickinson H & Twell D (2013) Artificial microRNAs reveal cell-specific differences in small RNA activity in pollen, Current Biology, 23 (14) R599-R601.
- Kourmpetli S, Lee K, Hemsley R, Rossignol P, Papageorgiou T & Drea S (2013) Bidirectional promoters in seed development and related hormone/stress responses, BMC Plant Biology, 13.
- Hands P, Kourmpetli S, Sharples D, Harris R & Drea S (2012) Analysis of grain characters in temperate grasses reveals distinctive patterns of endosperm organization associated with grain shape, Journal of Experimental Botany, 63 (17) 6253-6266.
- Bhattacharya A, Kourmpetli S, Ward D, Thomas S, Gong F, Powers S, Carrera E, Taylor B, Gonzalez F, Tudzynski B, Phillips A, Davey M & Hedden P (2012) Characterization of the fungal gibberellin desaturase as a 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase and its utilization for enhancing plant growth, Plant Physiology, 160 (2) 837-845.
- Vosnakis N, Maiden A, Kourmpetli S, Hands P, Sharples D & Drea S (2012) A FILAMENTOUS FLOWER orthologue plays a key role in leaf patterning in opium poppy, Plant Journal, 72 (4) 662-673.
- Le Trionnaire G, Grant-Downton R, Kourmpetli S, Dickinson H & Twell D (2011) Small RNA activity and function in angiosperm gametophytes, Journal of Experimental Botany, 62 (5) 1601-1610.
- Bhattacharya A, Kourmpetli S & Davey M (2010) Practical applications of manipulating plant architecture by regulating gibberellin metabolism, Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 29 (2) 249-256.
- Kourmpetli S, Bhattacharya A, Davey M, Power J, Hedden P & Phillips A (2009) Genetic control of stature in ornamental species, Acta Horticulturae, 817 135-142.
- Dijkstra C, Adams E, Bhattacharya A, Page A, Anthony P, Kourmpetli S, Power J, Lowe K, Thomas S, Hedden P, Phillips A & Davey M (2008) Over-expression of a gibberellin 2-oxidase gene from Phaseolus coccineus L. enhances gibberellin inactivation and induces dwarfism in Solanum species, Plant Cell Reports, 27 (3) 463-470.
- Geuten K, Viaene T, Vekemans D, Kourmpetli S & Drea S (2013) Analysis of developmental control genes using virus-induced gene silencing. In: Virus-induced gene silencing: methods and protocols, Humana Press, p. 61-69.
- Davey M, Soneji J, Rao M, Kourmpetli S, Bhattacharya A & Kole C (2010) Generation and deployment of transgenic crop plants: an overview. In: Transgenic crop plants: principles and development, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, p. 1-29.