Cambridge Crop Research

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.

Dr Fiona Leigh

Research Interests:

Molecular plant breeding and the study of genetic diversity and domestication of crop plants using molecular markers to identify and quantify genotype changes.

Dr Phil Howell

Research interests 

Since joining NIAB from the commercial sector in 2007, Phil has worked on breeding and pre-breeding aspects including NIAB's flagship wheat resynthesis programme, the development of MAGIC populations, and general breeding input into many other projects. Most recently he has headed up several industrial collaborations, exploring niche markets for cereals and high-value oilseeds, and working with food companies seeking novel ingredients.

Dr Anna Gordon

Anna is a molecular plant pathologist with a keen interest in understanding the mechanics of plant pathogen interactions. She obtained her PhD whilst working at HRI-Wellesbourne where she cloned the functional Resistance gene, RPP1 from Arabidopsis that recognises elicitors from the oomycete Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis.

Following a post-doc at the University of Manchester Anna joined NIAB, working in the plant pathogen diagnostics laboratory and gained rounded crop-focussed pathology knowledge.

Mr Stephen Flack

Stephen Flack has responsibility for the management of the ACC work on the APHA contract for agricultural DUS and seed certification of agricultural species in England and Wales. Throughout his career, Stephen has worked mainly with crop certification, initially of potatoes and later for all agricultural crop species covered by the UK Seeds regulations, especially with the non-cereal crops.  He has also been responsible for DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) testing of sugar beet, field beans and for potato variety trials. 

Dr Lesley Boyd

Research interests

Lesley has lead a research programme investigating the genetics, cellular and molecular biology of partial, adult plant expressed and nonhost resistance to fungal pathogens in wheat since 1995. In 2012 Boyd moved her research programme to NIAB.


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