Dr Katherine Steele

Research Area: Genetic diversity and breeding for sustainable crop production

Institution: Bangor University

Website: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/staff/natural-sciences/katherine-steele-008458/en

Summary of Research Area:

My research focuses on identifying and improving genetic markers for breeding disease resistant, stress tolerant, resource-use efficient and nutritionally valuable crops. My group have produced a database of novel genetic markers for rice breeders and have developed and tested DNA analysis protocols for the authentication of Basmati rice. I work with a range of industry and public sector partners for technology transfer. I supervise PhDs and Masters projects in plant diversity, genetics and genomics projects.

Professor Erik Murchie

Research Area: Plant and crop physiology

Institution: University of Nottingham

Website: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/biosciences/people/erik.murchie

Summary of Research Area:

I am interested in understanding the ways in which crop plants, notably rice and wheat, convert resources such as light, CO2 and water into biomass and grain yield. In the coming years we will need to find ways of making our crops carry out such processes with higher efficiency and under increasingly stressful conditions. The research in my lab studies photosynthetic efficiency, photoprotection and the role of increasing night time and day time temperatures in limiting yield. The overall goal is to supply plant breeders with the means to improve and stabilise yield.

Prof Andy Jones

Research Area: Computational biology

Institution: University of Liverpool

Website: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/systems-molecular-and-integrative-biology/staff/andrew-jones/

Summary of Research Area:

Our team work in computational biology, mostly related to multi-omics analysis on various systems, including human, eukaryotic pathogens and plants. We have a particular focus on post-translational modifications (PTMs), cell signalling and proteomics, as well as an interest in genome annotation for plants and pathogens.

Professor Adam Price

Research Area: Rice genetics

Institution: University of Aberdeen

Website: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/sbs/people/profiles/a.price#research

Summary of Research Area:

We are aiming to improve the sustainability, resilience and quality of rice. The main approach is exploring natural variation, mapping loci that affect important traits and identifying genes and alleles responsible for improved performance. Major tools are mapping populations, exploiting the Bala x Azucena population made in the 1990s, and the Bengal and Assam Aus Panel for association mapping, made in the late 2010s. Traits include abiotic stress resistance (drought, salinity, heat), biotic stress resistance (rice blast, Striga and nematodes), nutrient use efficiency, root growth and grain element composition (especially arsenic, cadmium and iron). We also research plant physiology including plant water relations (e.g. root hydraulic conductance) and root growth, and rice interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Sequencing and bioinformatics are also a mainstay of our current activity.