Cambridge Crop Research

Dr Pauline Thomelin

Research interests

I am working as part of the Genetics and Breeding group at NIAB. My research focused on root biology and genetics for the development and validation of root ideotypes in wheat through the identification and characterization of de novo alleles.

Ms Vanessa McMillan

Vanessa joined NIAB in May 2019 as the Technical Manager responsible for DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) Testing of Cereals (barley, oats and wheat) on behalf of APHA for National Listing (NL) and Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR).

Vanessa has a background in plant pathology and, prior to joining NIAB, her main research focus was the development of genetic strategies for the control of foliar and root diseases in wheat.

Mr Alex Talibudeen


Alex Talibudeen is the Technical Manager responsible for DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) Testing of Winter Oilseed Rape, Fodder Rape, Field Bean, and Fodder Kale on behalf of APHA for National Listing (NL) and Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR).

Alex Joined NIAB in July 2010 and has since been involved with the delivery of Agricultural and Ornamental species DUS testing and Seed Certification. During this time, Alex has also specialised in the use of image analysis phenotyping for DUS purposes.

Mr Tim Henshaw


Tim was appointed as Technical Manager for Seed Certification in March 2019. He has responsibility for all species but with an emphasis on Herbage, Oilseeds and Pulses.

Tim joined NIAB in March 2018 as a Technician in DUS testing and seed certification. Prior to that Tim had more than 30 years’ experience in the agricultural industry and studied Agriculture at Harper Adams Agricultural Collage.

Dr James Cockram

Research interests

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.

Dr Gia Aradottir

Research interests

Gia’s research goal is to identify novel crop protection solutions against insect pests and the diseases they transmit which can be implemented in agriculture. Her research focuses on identifying insect resistance in crop plants, insect-plant interactions and agroecology, with a current emphasis on insect pests in wheat, particularly plant resistance to cereal aphids and the Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus.

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.


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