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Dr Lesley Boyd

Research Programme Leader and Head of NIAB International

E: Lesley Boyd
Tel: 01223 342497

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.

Lesley undertakes classical genetics studies, including genetic mapping and genome wide association screens, to define quantitative resistance to stripe (yellow), leaf (brown) and stem (black) rust in wheat. Functional studies to determine mechanisms of quantitative resistance include whole genome transcriptomics analyses, histopathology, and stable gene expression in wheat.

In 2011 Lesley was awarded the Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Mentor Award ( in recognition of her contribution to training and mentoring of female scientists in the area of cereal research.

Current research projects include:

  • Bilateral BBSRC-Embrapa: Uncovering the genetic and functional basis of the unique leaf rust resistance in the Brazilian wheat variety Toropi – ToropiAPR

  • BBSRC-Newton Fund: Molecular Characterization and Genetic Analysis of Nutritional Components of Philippine Indigenous Pigmented Rice Germplasm – NutrientRice

  • EU 7th Framework Initial Training Network: Maximising the Potential of Crop Researcher - Max-CROP

  • ERA-CAP 2: Functional characterisation and validation of nonhost components in Triticeae species for durable resistance against fungal diseases - DURESTrit

  • BBSRC-International Partnering Award: Australia: UK wheat pre-breeding for resistance to new disease threats – NextGenWheat

  • BBSRC Flexible Interchange Programme: UK partnership to support the uptake of new crop varieties by smallholder farmers, and advancements in agricultural and dissemination technologies - Agri-Transfer

  • Cambridge Africa: Domestication of the wild African vine Cryptolepis sanguinolenta as a cash crop for smallholder farmers in Africa - GhanaMedPlants

  • BBSRC SCPRID: Implementing effective marker technologies into disease resistance wheat breeding programmes within Africa.

  • Wheat Ergot: Genetic and functional analyses of resistance in wheat to Claviceps purpurea

Recent publications:

G Maree, R Prins, LA Boyd, H Castelyn, C Bender, W Boshoff, Z Pretorius (2019) Assessing the individual and combined effects of QTL for adult plant stripe rust resistance derived from Cappelle-Desprez. Agronomy 9:154, doi:10.3390/agronomy9030154

A Jouanin, LA Boyd, R Gerardus F Visser, MJM Smulders (2018) Development of wheat with hypoimmunogenic gluten obstructed by the gene editing policy in Europe. Front. Plant Sci., 18 October 2018, doi:10.3389/fpls.2018.01523

GB Pinto da Silva; C Martini Zanella; J Antônio Martinelli; M Soares Chaves; CW Hiebert; BD McCallum; LA Boyd (2018) Quantitative Leaf Rust Resistance in Wheat. Phytopathology 108:1344-1354. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-06-18-0208-RVW

C Marchal, J Zhang, P Zhang, P Fenwick, B Steuernagel, N Adamski, L Boyd, R McIntosh, B Wulff, S Berry, E Lagudah, C Uauy (2018) BED-domain containing immune receptors confer diverse resistance spectra to yellow rust. Nature Plants 4:662-668 doi: 10.1038/s41477-018-0236-4

A Jouanin, LJWJ Gilissen, LA Boyd, J Cockram, FJ Leigh, EJ Wallington, HC van den Broeck, IM van der Meer, JG Schaart, RGF Visser, MJM Smulders (2018) Food processing and breeding strategies for coeliac-safe and healthy wheat products. Food Research International, 110: 11-21. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.04.025.

R Delventhal, J Rajaraman, FL Stefanato, S Rehman, R Aghnoum, GRD McGrann, M Bolger, B Usadel, PE Hedley, LA Boyd, RE Niks, P Schweizer and U Schaffrath (2017) A comparative analysis of nonhost resistance across the two Triticeae crop species wheat and barley. BMC Plant Biology 17:232; doi 10.1186/s12870-017-1178-0.

T Chiurugwi, S Kerr, I Midgley and LA Boyd, J Kamwaga, P Njau, T Van Gevelt, C Canales and M Marcheselli (2017) Supporting smallholders in improving wheat cultivation. In Achieving sustainable cultivar of wheat volumes 1 and 2 Ed Peter Langridge. Burleigh dodds publishers, Cambridge, UK

ZA Pretorius; M Ayliffe, RL Bowden, LA Boyd, RM DePauw, Y Jin, RE Knox, R A McIntosh and RF Park, R Prins, ES Lagudah (2017) Advances in control of wheat rusts. In Achieving sustainable cultivar of wheat volumes 1 and 2 Ed. Peter Langridge. Burleigh dodds publishers, Cambridge, UK

J Rajaraman, D Douchkov, A Himmelbach, G Hensel, F Stefanato, A Gordon, N Ereful, OF Caldararu, A-J Petrescu, J Kumlehn, LA Boyd and P Schweizer (2016) An LRR/malectin receptor-like kinase mediates nonhost resistance in barley and enhances quantitative resistance in wheat. Frontiers in Plant Science doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01836

R Prins, S Dreisigacker; Z Pretorius, H van Schalkwyk, E Wessels, C Smit, C Bender, D Singh, LA Boyd (2016) Stem rust resistance in a geographically diverse collection of spring wheat lines collected from across Africa. Frontiers in Plant Science. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00973

A Gordon, R Basler, P Bansept Basler, V Fanstone, L Harinarayan, PK Grant, R Birchmore, RA Bayles, LA Boyd, D O’Sullivan (2015)The identification of QTL controlling ergot sclerotia size in hexaploid wheat implicates a role for the Rht dwarfing alleles. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 128: 2447. doi: 10.1007/s00122-015-2599-5

PM Dracatos, MS Khatkar, D Singh, F Stefanato, RF Park, LA Boyd (2015) Resistance in Australian barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) germplasm to the exotic pathogen Puccinia striiformis f. sp. hordei, causal agent of stripe rust. Plant Pathology doi: 10.1111/ppa.12448

A Casassola, SP Brammer, MS Chaves, JA Martinelli, F Stefanato, LA Boyd (2015) Changes in gene expression profiles as they relate to the adult plant leaf rust resistance in the wheat cv. Toropi. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology 89: 49-54.

M Grimmer, LA Boyd, S Clarke and N Paveley (2014) Pyramiding of partial disease resistance genes has a predictable, but diminishing, benefit to efficacy. Plant Pathology doi: 10.1111/ppa.12288

GM Agenbag,  ZA Pretorius,  LA Boyd, CM Bender, R MacCormack and R Prins (2014) High-resolution mapping and new marker development for adult plant stripe rust resistance QTL in the wheat cultivar Kariega. Mol Breeding. doi: 10.1007/s11032-014-0158-4.

GRD McGrann, PH Smith, C Burt, G Rodriguez Mateos, TN Chama, R MacCormack, E Wessels, G Agenbag and LA Boyd (2014) Genomic and genetic analysis of the wheat race-specific yellow rust resistance gene Yr5. J Plant Sci Mol Breed. 3:2, 1-11.

RRM Bryant, GRD McGrann, AR Mitchell, H-j Schoonbeek, LA Boyd, C Uauy, S Dorling and CJ Ridout (2014) A change in temperature modulates defence to yellow (stripe) rust in wheat line UC1041 independently of resistance gene Yr36. BMC Plant Biology 14:10

N Powell, R MacCormack, ST Berry and LA Boyd (2013) Stripe rust resistance genes in the UK winter wheat cultivar Claire. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 126: 1599-1612.

LA Boyd, C Ridout, DM O’Sullivan, JE Leach and H Leung (2013) Plant–pathogen interactions: disease resistance in modern agriculture. Trends in Genetics 29: 233-240.

CABI, Wallingford UK book title: Disease Resistance in Wheat. Chapter: Resistance to stripe rust in wheat. Authors C Wellings, LA Boyd, X Chen (2012).

HA Tufan, GRD McGrann, R MacCormack, LA Boyd (2012). TaWIR1 contributes to post-penetration resistance to Magnaporthe oryzae, butnot Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici in wheat. Molecular Plant Pathology 13: 653-665.

GM Agenbag, ZA Pretorius, LA Boyd, CM Bender and R Prins (2012) Identification of adult plant resistance to stripe rust in the wheat cultivar Cappelle-Desprez. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 125: 109-120.

E Colebrook, G Creissen, C Lamb and LA Boyd (2012) Broad-spectrum acquired resistance in barley induced by the Pseudomonas pathosystem shares transcriptional components with Arabidopsis SAR. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 25: 658-667.

M Sayar-Turet, S Dreisigacker, H-J Braun, A Hede, R MacCormack, LA Boyd (2011) Genetic variation within and between winter wheat genotypes from Turkey, Kazakhstan and Europe as determined by NBS-profiling. Genome 54: 419-430.

HA Tufan, F Stefanato, GRD McGrann, R MacCormack, LA Boyd (2011)The Barley stripe mosaic virus system used for virus induced gene silencing in cereals differentially affects susceptibility to fungal pathogens in wheat. Journal of Plant Physiology 168: 990-994.

LJ Jagger, C Newell, ST Berry, R MacCormack, LA Boyd (2011a) The genetic characterisation of stripe rust resistance in the German wheat cultivar Alcedo. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 122: 723-733.

LJ Jagger, C Newell, ST Berry, R MacCormack, LA Boyd(2011b) Histopathology provides a phenotype by which to characterise stripe rust resistance genes in wheat. Plant Pathology 60: 640-648.

O Bozkurt,G McGrann, T Unver, R MacCormack, LA Boyd, MS Akkaya (2010)Cellular and transcriptional responses of wheat during compatible and incompatible race-specific interactions with Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici. Molecular Plant Patholology 11: 625–640.

HA Tufan, G McGrann, A Magusin, J-B Morel, L. Miché, LA Boyd (2009) Wheat blast: histopathology and transcriptome reprogramming in response to adapted and non-adapted Magnaporthe isolates. The New Phytologist 184: 473-484.

JPE Melichar, S Berry, C Newell, R MacCormack, LA Boyd (2008) QTL identification and microphenotype characterisation of the developmentally regulated yellow rust resistance in the UK wheat cultivar Guardian. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 117: 391-399.

PH Smith, J Hadfield, NJ Hart, RMD Koebner, and LA Boyd (2007) STS markers for the yellow rust resistance gene Yr5 suggest a NBS-LRR-type resistance gene cluster. Genome 50: 259-265.