Cambridge Crop Research

Dr Bart Fraaije

Bart's role at NIAB includes research into new crop protection tools, fungicide resistance monitoring and developing optimal disease control programmes for fungal pathogens on cereals and other crops.

Dr Lucy James

Research interests

Lucy is a plant pathologist whose interests include identification and characterisation of disease resistance and tolerance traits and understanding plant pathogen populations and their interaction with host resistance. In particular, Lucy project manages the UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey (UKCPVS) which actively monitors changes in pathogen virulence across the UK and is also an active member of the consortium delivering the Wheat Rust Early Warning programme, Rust Watch.

Dr Ji Zhou

Dr Ji Zhou leads NIAB’s (Cambridge Crop Research) Data Sciences Department since his appointment in January 2020. He also holds a professorship at the China-UK Crop Phenomics Research Center, Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU, China) and is an honorary senior lecturer of Computer Vision at the University of East Anglia (UEA, UK).

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.


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