Dr Richard Harrison

Director of Cambridge Crop Research
01223 342212

Dr Richard Harrison was appointed as the Director of Cambridge Crop Research in May 2019.

Dr Harrison completed his PhD in systems biology at the University of Manchester, followed by a Medical Research Council Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh in bioinformatics and population genetics. He joined East Malling Research in 2011 as a research leader developing into his role as the head of the genetics, genomics and breeding department in 2016, following its takeover by NIAB. In his new role he leads one of four units in NIAB - Cambridge Crop Research, which encompasses the following departments:

  • Prebreeding- led by Dr Sigrid Heuer
  • Pathology and Entomology- led by Dr Jane Thomas
  • Agricultural Crop Characterisation - led jointly by Dr Margaret Wallace and Mr Stephen Flack
  • Plant Biotechnology- led by Dr Emma Wallington
  • Data Science - led by Dr Ji Zhou
  • Plant Breeding - led by Dr Phil Howell

His own research focuses on understanding the genetic basis of complex traits, often using interactions between plants and microbes as a study system. He works at the interface between molecular biology, statistical genetics and machine learning.  While at East Malling he developed research in horticultural crops such as strawberry, apple and cherry. 

Dr Harrison is a member of the BBSRC Agri-food Strategic Advisory Panel, the KTN Plant Science advisory board, the NFU Net Zero Science Advisory Board and the BBSRC pool of experts.

Recent Publications

  • Armitage Andrew D, Lysøe Erik, Nellist Charlotte F, Lewis Laura A, Cano Liliana M, Harrison Richard J, Brurberg May B,  (2018) Bioinformatic characterisation of the effector repertoire of the strawberry pathogen Phytophthora cactorum PloS one 13 (10) e0202305 2018 Public Library of Science
  • Armitage Andrew D, Taylor Andrew, Sobczyk Maria K, Baxter Laura, Greenfield Bethany PJ, Bates Helen J, Wilson Fiona, Jackson Alison C, Ott Sascha, Harrison Richard J (2018) Characterisation of pathogen-specific regions and novel effector candidates in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae Scientific reports 8(1) 13530 2018 Nature Publishing Group
  • Cockerton, Helen M. , Vickerstaff, Robert J., Karlstrom, Amanda, Wilson, Fiona, Sobczyk, Maria, He, Joe Q., Sargent, Daniel J., Passey, Andy J., McLeary, Kirsty J., Pakozdi, Katalin, Harrison, Nicola, Lumbreras-Martinez, Maria, Antanaviciute, Laima, Simpson, David W. and Harrison, Richard J.  (2018) Identification of powdery mildew resistance QTL in strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) Theor Appl Genet  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-018-3128-0
  • Hulin MT,  Armitage AD, Vicente JG, Holub EB, Baxter L, Bates HP, Mansfield JW, Jackson RW, Harrison RJ (2018) Comparative genomics of Pseudomonas syringae reveals convergent gene gain and loss associated with specialisation onto cherry (Prunus avium) New Phytologist 219(2): 672-696
  • Hulin M.T., Mansfield J.W., Brain, P., Xiangming, X., Jackson R.W. and Harrison R.J. 2018 Characterisation of the pathogenicity of strains of Pseudomonas syringae towards cherry and plum Plant Pathology  67 (5), 1177-1193

For a full list of publications, visit Google Scholar