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 the John Innes Centre’s science programme, assessing progress and identifying new opportunities and activities.

Science and Impact Advisory Board members

Ottoline Leyser (Chair)

Ottoline Leyser is Professor of Plant Development and Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

Her research uses the control of shoot branching in Arabidopsis as a model system to understand plant developmental plasticity and particularly the role of plant hormones in integrating endogenous and environmental inputs into development. Ottoline received her BA (1986) and PhD (1990) in Genetics from the University of Cambridge.

After post-doctoral research at Indiana University, she returned to the UK and took up a lectureship at the University of York (1994), where she worked until moving to the new Sainsbury Laboratory in 2011.

Pamela Ronald

Pam Ronald is a Distinguished Professor in the Plant Pathology Department and the Genome Center, University of California, Davis.

She studies the genetic basis of resistance to disease and tolerance to stress in rice and with her collaborators, she has engineered rice for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding, which seriously threaten rice crops in Asia and Africa.

Pam received her BA (1982) from Reed College, Oregon, an MS (1985) from University of Uppsala, Sweden, an MS from Stanford University, California (1984) and PhD (1990) from UC Berkeley, California.  After post-doctoral research at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, she joined UC Davis as an Assistant Professor (1992) where she continues her research.


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. 

Professor 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 Deptartment at the University of Cambridge.

He was elected as an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Professor 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. 

Professor Colin Kleanthous' laboratory website


Professor 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.

Professor Joyce Tait

Prof Joyce Tait Professor 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.

Professor Joyce Tait's website


Professor 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.

Professor Dame Janet Thornton's website


Dr Richard Summers

Dr Richard Summer Dr Richard Summers 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.

JIC Cookie Policy. We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. You can find out more about the cookies by clicking here.

Accept cookies