Welcome to the HTA and Fera event

You will hear about a variety of topics from our line-up of speakers including emerging threats and current high-risk pests, how Plant Health & Seeds Inspectors work to detect and manage these threats, the latest social research on consumer awareness of plant health and biosecurity, and how scientists at Fera work to protect and support your trade. You will also have the opportunity to join a tour of the laboratories and engage with scientists and fellow growers. 

Fran Barnes

Chief Executive Officer, HTA 

Fran Barnes joined the HTA as Chief Executive in January 2023. As Chief Executive Fran is responsible for managing the Senior Leadership Team, representing the HTA and building upon the HTA’s support for its members. 

Professor Nicola Spence

Chief Plant Health Officer, Defra

Nicola is Defra’s Chief Plant Health Officer (CPHO) and is the Head of the National Plant Protection Organisation for the UK. The role of CPHO involves advising ministers, industry and others about the risks posed by plant pests and diseases, and ensuring that measures are in place to manage those risks and minimise their impact, as well as leading the operational response in the event of a disease outbreak. Although plant health is a devolved matter; the CPHO co-ordinates the UK response to European and International plant health matters and takes the lead on national plant health emergency response

Dr Andrew Swift

Chief Executive Officer, Fera Science Ltd

An adept leader of global intellectual teams Andrew's scientific expertise (and academic qualification) is rooted in analytical chemistry and the life sciences. He is an entrepreneur and scientific visionary which he couples with strong commercial acumen to consistently deliver business success and impact from investment science

Andrew led the foundation of Crop Health and Protection Ltd (CHAP Ltd) from January 2016, serving, initially as interim CEO, before establishing and then serving on its Board as a Non-Executive Director until 2020. He also serves the York and North Yorkshire Local Authority by serving on its regional Business Board and the Steering Committee of Grow Yorkshire. Most recently he has been appointed as a Commissioner on the Trade and Agriculture Commission of DIT. 

Chris Malumphy 

Senior Entomologist, Fera Science Ltd 

Chris is a Senior Entomologist and specialist on invasive species ecology, working in biosecurity and plant health. His current role includes developing Fera’s science capabilities, managing and delivering research projects, and providing an identification service, training, consultancy and risk assessments on non-native invertebrate plant pests, for a wide range of UK and overseas government and commercial clients. He has extensive overseas field experience studying invasive invertebrate plant pests in subtropical and tropical regions. 

Chris is currently involved with several projects, including managing a project that provides a diagnostic service and biosecurity support/training for the UK Overseas Territories and recently participated in Horizon scanning workshops in the Caribbean, South Atlantic and Mediterranean. He is also currently working on a biocontrol project for the Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp and on potential vectors of Xylella fastidiosa in the UK.

Adam Bryning

Plant Bacteriology Diagnostician, Fera Science Ltd

Adam is a Plant Bacteriology Diagnostician at Fera. As a diagnostician, his role is to assess samples sent to the Plant Clinic by UK-based businesses, international clients and government inspectors. A thorough service is provided thanks to Adam’s working knowledge and expertise in traditional bacteriological techniques and more cutting edge molecular biological methods. He has a broad knowledge of pathogenic bacteria impacting UK and oversees plant health. 

Adam has attended a range of courses and events around the UK and Europe including a week long training course in Zaragoza, Spain focussing on Xylella fastidiosa. Adam has been involved in work looking at incidence and control of tomato rootmat disease as part of an ADAS funded project and is currently working as part of the Brigit project, a multi-organisational research consortium aiming to prevent establishment and increase capacity to respond to Xylella fastidiosa. 

Adrian Fox

Senior Plant Virologist, Fera Science Ltd

Adrian is the Senior Plant Virologist at Fera. As lead virologist, his role is to deliver a high-quality virology diagnostic service to a wide range of UK and overseas government and commercial clients. The team utilises a range of both cutting edge and traditional techniques to provide comprehensive diagnostic service covering viruses, viroid's and phytoplasmas across the global spectrum.

Adam Bedford

Enigma Projects Director, Fera Science Ltd

Adam has worked for Fera Science since June 2023, and before that worked in a range of senior roles with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). Adam leads Fera’s Enigma projects, a collaborative approach bringing together businesses on a pre-competitive basis to address the challenges they face, partnered with the scientific expertise in Fera. Enigma projects support continued research, innovation and knowledge transfer and are co-sponsored by industry partners enabling Fera to deliver world-class science to find end-to-end solutions to challenges faced by the horticulture and agri-food sector.

Dr Ines Vazquez-Iglesias 

Senior Molecular Scientist, Fera Science Ltd

Dr Ines Vazquez-Iglesias is a Senior Molecular Scientist at Fera Science Ltd. Her main expertise lies in high throughput sequencing (HTS) and Plant Virology. As part of her PhD studies, Ines focused on rose viruses and diagnostics, specifically working on rose rosette virus, which is an emerging thread to rose cultivation outside North America. 

Steven Bryce

Senior Molecular Biologist, Fera Science Ltd

Steven is a senior molecular biologist who has worked in the Plant Health business unit at Fera for over 10 years and has over 20 years of experience within the field. His primary interest is in the use of molecular detection technologies to assist in the diagnosis of plant health disease and/or pest identification. He also has extensive expertise in the detection of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), detection of species presence from environmental DNA (eDNA) and use of DNA for food authenticity determination.

Steven is the manager of the Fera Molecular Technology Unit (MTU) which is a suite of purpose designed laboratories for the application of molecular diagnostic methods. He also takes a lead on the validation of new methods for deployment in Plant Health.

Kelvin Hughes

Chief Plant Health & Seeds Inspector, APHA

Chief Plant Health & Seeds Inspector for England and Wales with responsibility for overseeing delivery of the inspection of goods under Plant health import and export control, plus domestic delivery covering surveillance and action and plant passporting.   

Dr Jake Morris


Jake works within the Defra Plant Health team where he leads on social science. He manages a broad portfolio of research projects that support plant health policy and operational design and delivery. Jake also leads on policy and programme evaluation and citizen science. 

Dan Munro

Senior Technical Manager, APHA

Dan Munro is APHA’s Senior Technical Manager for Planting Passporting and has 26 years’ experience in Plant Health having previously worked in the Horticultural and Food Manufacturing sectors