Agricultural Crop Research

Dr Jordan Price

Jordan is a senior specialist in fungal biotechnology and microbial genomics at NIAB in Cambridge. His current work utilises functional and comparative genomics of Ascomycota and Basidiomycota species of fungi to facilitate strain optimisation for alternative protein production.

His previous postdoctoral work at the University of Kent with Prof Alessia Buscaino focused on understanding the genetic and genomic alterations underpinning the pathogenicity of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans.

Dr Thomas Wood

Research interests

Crop improvement, host-pathogen interactions, pathogenomics and the evolution of virulence, downy mildew species

Research projects

Panacea: Pathogenomics for Enhancing Food Security in Africa; Duration: August 2018-December 2019; Partners:  NIAB (lead), National Crop Resources Research Institute, Uganda; Funding: BBSRC-GCRF

(CP184) Downy mildew and Late blight Control: Duration: January 2019-December 2021; Partners: NIAB, JHI (Lead), ADAS, Stockbridge Technology Centre, UoWorcester; Funding: AHDB

Dr Matthew Milner

Research interests

Matt works as part of the transformation team at NIAB and is interested in all things related to plant nutrition. This includes how elements are taken up from the soil, how they are sensed and finally transported through the plant to help create the wide variety of phenotypes important to agriculture today.

Research projects

Improving nitrogen use efficiency in cereal crops for sustainable food production
Date: 2022- 2025
Funders: The Morley Agricultural Foundation

Dr Sandra Chapman

Research interests

Sandra is responsible for the delivery of large scale pathology field trials and specialised glasshouse and growth room tests. Trials are designed to test the performance of varieties in relation to disease resistance. She works with fungi, bacteria viruses and some nematodes, and the data obtained feeds into National and Recommended List resistance ratings. She also works with the agrochemical industry providing tests for product efficacy using a range of techniques to create infection and provide data for registration.

Dr Emma Wallington

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.

Dr Robert Jackson

Robert works as part of the phenotyping group within the Genetics and Pre-breeding department at NIAB. Robert obtained a PhD. in molecular biology and phenotyping from the University of Nottingham and Rothamsted Research. Following his PhD Robert worked for a year as part of Malcolm Hawkesford’s group at Rothamsted focusing on remote sensing methods to analyse grain quality and the nitrogen content of milled wheat grain and straw.

Dr Margaret Wallace

Dr Margaret Wallace was appointed as Senior Technical Manager for DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) Testing and Seed Certification of Agricultural Crops in January 2018. In addition to the core services delivered to APHA (Animal Plant Health Agency) and Defra, Margaret has been selected to represent the UK interests at the UPOV Technical Working Party for Agricultural Crops (UPOV TWA) and the UPOV Technical Group on Biochemical and Molecular Techniques, and DNA-profiling in particular (UPOV BMT). 

Dr Kay Trafford

Research interests

We are interested in determinants of cereal grain quality, such as starch content and composition. To inform our work, we use natural and induced mutants of barley and wheat with altered grain quality.  Our current focus is on identification of genes that influence the following processes: 1) the determination of starch granule size and number, 2) the control of embryo growth, and 3) Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation. To date, we have identified genes, B-GRANULE CONTENT 1 and LYSINE 3, respectively that control the first two of these processes.

Dr Eric Ober

Research interests

Understanding the physiological limitations to yield formation and the adaptations of plants to abiotic stresses such as drought. The current research emphasis is on wheat, although past work involved maize, oats, sugar beet and tropical legumes. New information and tools are needed to increase food production and the effective use of water.


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