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Giles Oldroyd to lead new Crop Science Centre

Giles OldroydThe University of Cambridge has elected Giles Oldroyd to the Russel R Geiger Professorship of Crop Science, leading the new Crop Science Centre, which is a partnership between the University of Cambridge and NIAB.

As Director of the new Centre, Professor Oldroyd will be based in the Crop Science Building at NIAB’s new headquarters on Lawrence Weaver Road, Cambridge, opening in 2020.

Currently a research group leader at the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU), Professor Oldroyd leads an international programme focused on engineering nitrogen-fixing cereals funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) project. His team aims to understand the signalling and developmental processes in plants that allows interactions with mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which is essential information needed for developing nitrogen-fixing cereals. Their work has potential to deliver more sustainable and secure food production systems, with particular potential to deliver significant yield improvements to the poorest farmers in the world.

SLCU Director, Professor Ottoline Leyser congratulated Professor Oldroyd on his appointment and said: “The Crop Science Centre will provide a collaborative research space to harness the breadth and depth of expertise in Cambridge for applications in crop science. SLCU is delighted to be part of this venture, and with the appointment of Prof Oldroyd to lead its development.”

Professor Oldroyd received his BA in Plant Biology in 1994 from the University of East Anglia and his PhD in 1998 from the University of California, Berkeley. He began work in symbiotic associations in plants as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, California, under the guidance of Professor Sharon Long.

Professor Oldroyd started his independent research career in 2002 as a BBSRC David Philips Fellow at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. He joined SLCU as a group leader in November 2017. He has been honoured with the Society of Experimental Biology President’s Medal, a Royal Society Wolfson Research merit award, the EMBO Young Investigator award and now leads an international programme focused on engineering nitrogen-fixing cereals funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Professor Oldroyd is an editor at The Plant Cell and faculty member of the Faculty of 1000, Plant Biology.

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