James is a Group Keader working on trait genetics at NIAB. After completing a PhD and post-doctoral position at the John Innes Centre, he has worked at NIAB as a Group 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)
Ensembl plant populations
Partners: European Bioinformatics Institute (lead), NIAB
Funding: BBSRC Bioinformatic and Biological Resources Fund (BB/X018725/1)
Yellowhammer: a multi-locus strategy for durable yellow rust resistance in wheat, in the face of a rapidly changing pathogen landscape
Partners: NIAB (lead), AHDB plus seven North European breeding companies
Funding: BBSRC LINK (BB/R019231/1)
MAGIC Wheat pan-genome
Partners: Natural History Museum (lead), NIAB, Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre
Funding: BBSRC Responsive Mode (BB/P0191741/1)
Rooty: A root ideotype toolbox to support improved wheat yields
Partners: NIAB (lead), John Innes Centre, University of Bologna, Forschungszentrum Jülich, University of Queensland, Justus Liebig University, CIMMYT
UK funding: BBSRC (BB/S012826/1)
Full publication list at Google Scholar
Fradgley N, Gardner KA, Bentley AR, Howell P, Ian J Mackay, Scott MF, Mott R, Cockram J (2023). Multi-trait ensemble genomic prediction and simulations of recurrent selection highlight importance of complex trait genetic architecture for long-term genetic gains in wheat. In Silico Plants, 5: 1-20.
Wall S, Cockram J, Vialet-Chabrand S, Van Rie J, Galle A, Lawson T (2023). The impact of growth at elevated [CO2] on stomatal anatomy and behavior differs between wheat species and cultivars. Journal of Experimental Botany, 74: 2860-2874.
Zanella C, Rotondo M, McCormick-Barnes C, Mellers G, Corsi B, Berry S, Ciccone G, Day R, Faralli M, Galle A, Gardner K, Jacobs J, Ober E, Sanchez del Rio A, Van Rie J, Lawson T, Cockram J (2022). Longer epidermal cells underlie a quantitative source of variation for wheat flag. leaf size . New Phytologist, 237, 1558-1573.
Bouvet L, Holdgate S, James L, Thomas J, Mackay IJ, Cockram J (2022). The evolving battle between yellow rust and wheat: implications for global food security. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 135: 741-753.
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.