Science and Impact Advisory Board

The John Innes Centre Governing Council approved the appointment of a Science and Impact Advisory Board.

This board advises the Director and Governing Council on all aspects of JIC’s science programme, assessing progress and identifying new opportunities and activities.

Science and Impact Advisory Board members:


Prof Ian Graham (Chair) 

Prof Ian Graham Head of the Department of Biology at the University of York. His research focusses on metabolic engineering of novel oils and other high value chemicals from plants and molecular breeding for improved traits. Ian is Chair of Biochemical Genetics in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at York and has formerly held posts within the University of Glasgow, The Carnegie Institute, Stanford, Oxford and Edinburgh. He gained honours in Botany and Genetics at The Queens University, Belfast.  Ian currently Chairs the Science and Impact Advisory Board at JIC. Website



Prof Judith Armitage FRS

Prof Judith Armitage FRS Research Leader in the Dept. of Biochemistry and Director of the Oxford Centre for Integrative Systems Biology at the University of Oxford. Her group uses techniques ranging from computerised image analysis, biochemistry, molecular genetics through to bioinformatics and computer modelling to investigate aspects of the regulation and dynamics of sensory pathways in bacteria. 




Dr Mike Bushell

Dr Mike Bushell Dr Mike Bushell is the Principal Scientific Advisor for Syngenta, a world leader in plant science.  Following postdoctoral studies at Cambridge, he joined ICI in 1980, based at Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre in Berkshire.  He has held a variety of technical leadership and management roles over more than 30 years, including Head of R&T Projects, Head of Discovery, Head of External Partnerships and Head of Jealott’s Hill, one of the world’s leading R&D centres for innovation in agriculture.  He is also the secretary to the Syngenta Technology Advisory Board. 




Prof Bin Han

Prof Bin Han Director of the National Centre for Gene Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, and Vice President of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences. His current interests are in rice genomics, population genetics and applications of next generation sequencing to crop improvement. His PhD in molecular genetics (1992) was gained at the John Innes Centre and followed by 6 years of Post-Doctoral study in the Plant Science Dept. at the University of Cambridge. He was elected as an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013. Website




Prof Colin Kleanthous

Prof Colin Kleanthous Professor Colin Kleanthous works in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford.  He aims to understand how protein-protein interactions (PPIs) underpin signalling within the Gram-negative cell envelope and cytoplasm, how changes in the environment modify these interactions to elicit different cellular responses and how PPIs are subverted by antibacterial proteins to catalyse their import into the cell. Website




Dr Marc-Henri Lebrun

Dr Marc-Henri Lebrun Head of the joint research unit BIOGER-CPP, INRA-AgroParisTech, which studies the management of biological risks to agriculture, focusing on fungal diseases of crop plants. The main objectives of this multidisciplinary unit are to investigate the biology of plant pathogenic fungi and their infectious processes (from molecular to epidemiological mechanisms), their evolution, population dynamics and adaptation to host plants. This basic knowledge on fungal infection is used to study the impact of these diseases on crops and to develop durable control methods.




Prof Rob Martienssen FRS

Prof Rob Martienssen FRS Professor Rob Martienssen FRS is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation investigator in plant biology, in the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York. His research team are using model plants and yeast to investigate epigenetic mechanisms of transposon silencing, gene regulation and stem cell fate via functional genomics and developmental genetics.  Website




Prof Joseph Noel

Prof Joseph Noel Based in the Jack H. Skirball Center for Chemical Biology and Proteomics & Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is a member of Faculty of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California. The focus of the research in his laboratory is to decipher the core principles influencing evolutionary change in proteins and protein networks, particularly enzymes and metabolic pathways, underlying the emergence and rapid expansion of chemical diversity in living systems. Website




Prof Maggie Smith

Prof Maggie Smith Professor Maggie Smith is an associate head of the biology department at the University of York. Her research focuses on the interaction between bacteriophages and their hosts, with a particular interest in the adaptations in phages that infect the antibiotic producing, mycelial, soil bacteria, Streptomyces. She is a member of the Antimicrobial Resistance funders forum and one of a pool of experts for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.




Prof Joyce Tait

Prof Joyce Tait Works in the Institute for Innovation Generation (Innogen), University of Edinburgh. She has an interdisciplinary background covering both natural and social sciences and has worked on the agrochemical, pharmaceutical and other life science industries, specifically strategic planning for innovation, governance and regulation, and stakeholder attitudes and influences. Website




Prof Dame Janet Thornton

Prof Dame Janet Thornton FRS Director of the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute and has played a key role in ELIXIR, the pan-European infrastructure for biological data, since its inception. Her research group focuses on understanding protein structure, function and evolution using computational approaches. Website




Dr Richard Summers

Dr Richard Summer Leads cereal breeding and research at RAGT. He is responsible for four winter wheat breeding programmes (in France, Germany, the Czech Republic and the UK), durum wheat, triticale, barley and associated research groups in genotyping, analytics, pathology and breeding support. Additionally he has responsibility for trialling in non-core geographies in Europe and elsewhere in the world.



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