Awards & achievements

Scientists at the John Innes Centre are recognised for their contributions to the research community, both nationally and internationally

Professor Dame Caroline Dean - Royal Medal awarded by the Royal Society

Professor Dean received the Royal Medal in recognition of her 30-year career at the John Innes Centre which has elucidated molecular mechanisms underlying seasonal timing and the epigenetic basis of vernalization – the process by which plants delay flowering until they have experienced a period of prolonged cold.

The medal is the third major honour received by Professor Dean in 2020. She received the Wolf Prize for Agriculture and was elected to the American Academy for Arts and Sciences as an International Honorary Member in the class of biological sciences.

The Royal Medals are awarded on behalf of the Queen each year and have been issued annually since 1825. Previous recipients include Francis Crick, Mary Lyon and Fred Sanger


Dr Shannon McKie - Gregory Paul Lenardo Basic Science Award

The award was set up by Dr Michael Lenardo, National Institutes of Health, (NIH), USA in memory of his brother.

It is awarded once a year for discoveries in fundamental cellular, molecular or genetic processes using model systems that advance scientific understanding of biological processes in higher organisms.

Dr McKie studied the biochemical and biophysical characterisation of topoisomerase VI, which functions to detangle DNA, from the archaeal species Methanosarcina mazei in order to gain a deeper understanding into this enzyme’s activity.

During her four-year Wellcome/NIH funded PhD project Shannon contributed to a book chapter on antimicrobial resistance, a paper on single-molecule imaging of gyrase in bacteria (Nucleic Acids Research) and is first author of a Genes article describing sequencing approaches to map topoisomerase cleavage.


Professor Tony Miller & Professor Cristobal Uauy - Highly Cited Researchers list 2020

The Clarivate Web of Science Group list, now in its seventh year, recognises globally influential researchers.

The list represents those ranking in the top 1% by citations for their specific fields of expertise.

Professor Miller studies membrane transporters with plant nutrition to improve the efficiency of fertiliser use. As part of his research he has developed soil sensors for monitoring nitrogen content and works to improve nitrogen use efficiency in crops.

Professor Uauy studies genetics and genomics to improve yield, disease resistance and crop quality in wheat. His group studies gene function and develops strategies to deploy these genes in commercial varieties of wheat.


£5m funding award to modernise horticultural facilities

A £5.1m project to modernise the horticultural facilities was approved and funded by UKRI-BBSRC in autumn 2020.

Work began immediately to be completed by March 2021.

The investment will provide new Controlled Environment Rooms (CERs) for plant and microbial experiments. CER’s offer scientists precise control of environmental factors such as light, temperature and humidity.

The upgrade will also improve the containment measures required for experiments that investigate plant pathogens, or for growing genetically modified plants.

The new infrastructure will bring energy efficiency and sustainability gains due to LED lighting, wastewater treatment and rainwater harvesting with a reduction in utility costs from these technologies is estimated to be £116,000 per year.

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