Recent appointments at NIAB

10 Sep 2021
Dr Abhimnayu Sarkar and Dr Katharina Huntenburg
NIAB has made two recent appointments that will help our scientific capabilities in both legumes and potatoes.

Dr Abhimanyu Sarkar

As Programme Lead in Legume Genetics, Dr Sarkar will help develop NIAB’s position at the vanguard of legume genetics and breeding. This will include building on our strong foundation in faba bean, developing a strong research portfolio in other domestic legume opportunities, and continuing to contribute to the improvement of grasspea and other tropical legumes.

He is a molecular biologist with over thirty years of experience. His areas of expertise include legume biology, speed breeding, gene discovery and genomics. Before joining NIAB, he worked at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. The group was responsible for sequencing the genome of grass pea, as well as developing various biological resources such as mutagenized populations, recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and an EcoTILLING platform.

He has extensive international work experience, having previously worked in New Zealand on white clover and in the USA. He obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. and a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India.

Dr Katharina Huntenburg

Also joining NIAB is Dr Katharina Huntenburg, who joins as a Senior Research Associate in NIAB CUF.

Her main research interest is plant physiology with a focus on abiotic stress responses. Katharina studied Horticulture in Hannover (BSc) and Berlin (MSc) in Germany, specialising in plant physiology before she worked in applied research for the Chamber of Agriculture (Lower Saxony, Germany). 

In 2017 she started a PhD at Lancaster University, investigating potato water relations in collaboration with NIAB CUF, Rothamsted Research, Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany) and London Imperial College. Her PhD work spans from the field to controlled environment, using novel technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and investigating the role of a new hormone group (strigolactones) to get an in depth understanding of potato drought stress responses.

At NIAB CUF Katharina aims to use the expertise gained in the PhD to improve irrigation practices towards a more sustainable water use and to explore new avenues in potato research and breeding.