James is a group leader working on trait genetics at NIAB. After completing a PhD and post-doctoral position at the John Innes Center, he has worked at NIAB as a Programme Leader since 2013. His research focuses on the application of plant molecular genetics, genomics, to investigate the genetic control of yield, yield components, disease resistance and quality traits in cereal crops, with particular focus on wheat and multi-founder advanced generation inter-cross (MAGIC) populations.
Research projects (current and recent)
MAGIC Wheat pan-genome: Duration: 2017-2020; Partners: Natural History Museum (lead), NIAB, Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre; Funding: BBSRC Responsive Mode (BB/P0191741/1)
MAGIC YIELD. Duration: 2015-2019. Partners: NIAB (lead), KWS, RAGT, Limagrain, Elsoms. Funding: BBSRC (BB/M008908/1).
Yellowhammer: a multi-locis strategy for durable yellow rust resistance in wheat, in the face of a rapidly changing pathogen landscape; Duration: 2018-2022; Partners: NIAB (lead), AHDB, seven North European breeding companies; Funding: BBSRC LINK (BB/R019231/1)
DataHarvest: delivering large-scale research field trial capabilities to the UK crop R&D sector; Duration: 2019-2020; Partners: NIAB (lead); Funding: BBSRC 19ALERT (BB/S019596/1)
Photowheat: exploiting variation in stomatal dynamics and ear photosynthesis to optimise wheat productivity; Duration: 2016-2021. Partners: University of Essex (Lead), NIAB, BASF. Funding: BBSRC IPA (BB/N01698X/1)
Rooty: A root ideotype toolbox to support improved wheat yields; Duration: 2018-2022. Partners: NIAB (lead), JIC, University of Bologna, Forschungszentrum Jülich, university of Queensland, Justus Liebig University, CIMMYT. UK Funding: BBSRC (BB/S012826/1)
MF Scott, Fradgley N, Bentley AR, Brabbs T, Corke F, Gardner KA, Horsnell R, Howell P, Ladejobi O, Mackay IJ, Mott R, Cockram J (2021) Limited haplotype diversity underlies polygenic trait architecture across 70 years of wheat breeding. Genome Biology, 22, 137.
L Bouvet, Percival-Alwyn L, Berry S, Fenwick P, Mantello CC, Sharma R, Holdgate S, Mackay IJ, Cockram J (2021) Wheat genetic loci conferring resistance to stripe rust in the face of genetically diverse races of the fungus Puccina striiformis f. sp. tritici. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 135, 301-319.
S Walkowiak et al. (2020). Multiple wheat genomes reveal global variation in modern breeding. Nature, 588, 277-283.
Lin M, Stadlmeier M, Mohler V, Tan KC, Ficke A, Cockram J, Lillemo M (2020). Identification and cross-validation of genetic loci conferring resistance to Septoria nodorum blotch using a German multi-founder winter wheat population. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 134, 125-142.
Mackay I, Cockram J, Howell P, Powell W (2020). Understanding the classics: the unifying concepts of transgressive segregation, inbreeding depression and heterosis and their central relevance for crop breeding. Plant Biotechnology Journal, https://doi.org/10.1111/pbi.13481.
Full publication list at Google Scholar