Dr Emma Wallington

Head of Crop Transformation
+44 (0)1223 342500

Research interests:

Emma leads the Crop Transformation Group at NIAB and is responsible for the development and progression of both academic research projects and contract services for external customers. The main focus is the transformation of wheat, where NIAB has expanded the range of germplasm which can be utilised to include UK elite varieties and durum wheats.

NIAB routinely transforms rice, barley and oilseed rape and are currently developing methods of transformation for several legume species.  Emma's team has successfully implemented gene editing in wheat, barley and rice and are actively using this technology in several research projects.

Research projects:

A root ideotype toolbox to support improved wheat yields: Duration: 2018-2021; Partners: NIAB (lead), University of Queensland, JIC, University of Bologna, Justus Liebig University, Forschungszentrum Jülich, CIMMYT; Funding: IWYP.

A Community Resource for Wheat and Rice Transformation: Duration: 2018-2023; Partners: NIAB (lead); Funding: BBSRC BBR fund BB/R014876/1. 

Development of novel blast resistant wheat varieties for Bangladesh by genome editing: Duration: 2017-2019; Partners: University of Exeter (lead), The Sainsbury Laboratory, NIAB; Funding: GCRF BB/P023339/1.

Spatial regulation of rice D14L for pre-symbiotic perception of beneficial fungi: Duration: 2016-2019; Partners: University of Cambridge (lead), NIAB; Funding: BBSRC BB/P003176/1.

Root type contribution to phosphate nutrition of rice during asymbiosis and interaction with symbiotic fungi: Duration: 2016-2019; Partners: University of Cambridge (lead), NIAB; Funding: BBSRC BB/N009371/1.

Regulation of the male germline in cereal crops by somatic companion cells: Duration: 2016-2019; Partners: University of Warwick (lead), NIAB; Funding: BBSRC BB/N002369/1.

Using flux control analysis to improve oilseed rape: Duration: 2014-2017; Partners: Cardiff University (lead), Oxford Brookes University, Durham University (lead), NIAB; Funding: BBSRC B/L009420/1.

Functional characterisation and validation of nonhost components in Triticeae species for durable resistance against fungal diseases: Duration: 2014-2017; Partners: Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (lead), NIAB, Wageningen University, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Julius-Kühn Institute, Imperial College London, Iowa State University; Funding: 13 ERA-CAP BB/M004929/1

Engineering Wheat for Takeall Resistance: Duration: 2014-2019; Partners: JIC (lead), NIAB; Funding: BBSRC BB/K006746/1

Pre-breeding for durable resistance to rust diseases in hexaploid wheat: Duration: 2013-2016; Funding: BB/K021435/1.

Community Resource for Wheat Transformation: Duration: 2012-2017; Partners: NIAB; Funding: BBSRC BBR fund BB/J019356/1


> 25 publications and patents

Recent publications:

Milner MJ, Craze M, Bowden S, Bates R, Wallington EJ, Keeling A. (2020) Identification of genes involved in male sterility in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) which could be used in a genic hybrid breeding system. Plant Direct.

Dunn, J, Hunt, L, Afsharinafar, M, Al Meselmani, M, Mitchell, A, Howells, R, Wallington, E, Fleming, AJ and Gray, JE (2019) Reduced stomatal density in bread wheat leads to increased water-use efficiency. Journal of Experimental Botany

Jouanin AJ, Schaart JG, Boyd LA, Cockram J, Leigh FJ, Bates R Wallington EJ, Visser RGF and Smulders MJM (2019) Outlook for coeliac disease patients: Towards bread wheat with hypoimmunogenic gluten by gene editing of α- and γ-gliadin gene families BMC Plant Biology

Pennington HG, Jones R, Kwon S, Bonciani G, Thieron H, Chandler T, Luong P, Morgan SN, Przydacz M, Bozkurt T, Bowden S, Craze M, Wallington EJ, Garnett J, Kwaaitaal, Panstruga R, Cota E and Spanu PD (2019) The fungal ribonuclease-like effector protein CSEP0064/BEC1054 represses plant immunity and interferes with degradation of host ribosomal RNA  PLOS Pathogens 15(3): e1007620

Perochon A, Kahla A, Vranić M, Jia J, Malla KB, Craze M, Wallington E, Doohan FM. (2019) A wheat NAC interacts with an orphan protein and enhances resistance to Fusarium Head Blight disease. Plant Biotech. J.

Roth R, Chiapello M, Montero H, Gehrig P, Grossman J, O’Holleran K, Hartken D, Walters F, Yang SY, Hillmer S, Schumacher K, Bowden S, Craze M, Wallington EJ, Miyao A, Sawers R, Martinoia E and Paszkowski U. (2018) A rice Serine/Threonine receptor-like kinase regulates arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis at the peri-arbuscular membrane. Nature communications, 9(1), p.4677

Full publication list on ORCID