Head of Crop Transformation Group
John Innes Centre
I am Head of the Crop Transformation Group at the John Innes Centre where my group works on the genetic modification and genome editing of a range of crop plants. I started working on the production of GM plants during my PhD and have been involved in this area for most of my career. My group works principally on the cereals, wheat and barley, as well as Brassica crops. For all our key crops we have developed highly efficient Agrobacterium-mediated transformation systems. We continue to improve transformation efficiencies, for example by the inclusion of developmental regulator genes. I am particularly excited by the opportunities new genome editing technologies provide for crop improvement. Over the last 7 years we have worked to establish efficient genome editing in our target crops. As well as producing many hundreds of mutant lines containing single and multiple gene knockouts, we have also developed new tools for crop genome editing. These include methods for gene targeting and novel nuclease variants. I also lecture at both the Universities of East Anglia and Cambridge and sit on funding and advisory panels and committees where genetic modification and genome editing are of importance. I am active in public engagement, where I enjoy communicating this complex area of science to interested groups through a range of media.