Contact Dr Sofia Kourmpetli
Areas of expertise
- Food Quality
- Food waste
- Plants and microbes
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 Course Director of the Future Food Sustainability MSc, while she also teaches on the Food Systems and Management MSc course 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. Rurban Revolution: Can ruralising urban areas through greening and growing create a healthy, sustainable and resilient food system? (2019-2021)(Co-I).
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/
2. Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Elsoms Seeds Ltd., aiming to develop more efficient bulk seed storage processes and seed 'health' monitoring capabilities by fully understanding what influences the quality, germination and vigour of seeds (2018-2021).
3. Real-time interactive storage quality control in fresh agro products (QCAP) (2016-2019)(Co-I).
This is an INTERREG NWE funded project, led by Radboud University, with a number of academic and industrial partners from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The aim of the project is to develop a low-cost, multi-species trace gas sensor that can monitor in real-time emitted gasses from fresh agricultural products under commercial storage conditions. The sensor would be able to give an early warning to growers and retailers, thereby avoiding undesirable quality loss/downgrading of stored produce. Cranfield's contribution is focused on the identification of volatile organic compounds produced by potato tubers that could be used as biomarkers for the onset of microbial spoilage or physiological disorders.
For more info: http://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/real-time-interactive-storage-quality-control-in-fresh-agro-products-qcap/
Articles In Journals
- 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.