Prof Giles Oldroyd

Project Leader
Cell and Developmental Biology

The ability to take up mineral nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, is generally the major limitation to plant growth. Because of this farmers apply nitrogen and phosphorus through fertiliser application to promote crop growth. Sustained yields are dependent on this fertiliser application, but it comes at a high price, both in the cost of the fertiliser and the environmental damage that results from its use. 

A number of plant species have evolved beneficial interactions with micro-organisms that facilitate the uptake of these nutrients. Legumes form symbiotic interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi that facilitate phosphate uptake and with rhizobial bacteria that provide the plant with a source of nitrogen. The establishment of these symbioses involves a conserved symbiosis signalling pathway. This signalling pathway is present in most plant species, including cereals, as the arbuscular mycorrhizal association is widespread. 

Our work focuses on understanding the signalling mechanisms that allow the associations with these beneficial micro-organisms and the use of this information to transfer the nitrogen-fixing capability from legumes to cereal crops. Our work has implications for global agriculture, but we are most interested in the application of our work to benefit small-holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

“Exciting biology” rewrites text books in uncovering plants’ high-fat diet for fungal benefactors

read more

John Innes Centre Scientists discover missing link in plant nitrogen fixation process

read more

Giles Oldroyd and Alison Smith named in 2015 list of the most highly cited scientists worldwide

read more

New list names seven scientists among the top 1% in the world

read more

Recent Publications

Luginbuehl L. H., Menard G. N., Kurup S., Van Erp H., Radhakrishnan G. V., Breakspear A., Oldroyd G. E. D., Eastmond P. J. (2017)

Fatty acids in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are synthesized by the host plant.

Science 356 p1175-1178

Publisher’s version: 10.1126/science.aan0081

Roy S., Robson F., Lilley J., Liu C. W., Cheng X., Wen J., Walker S., Sun J., Cousins D., Bone C., Bennett M. J., Downie J. A., Swarup R., Oldroyd G., Murray J. D. (2017)

MtLAX2, a Functional Homologue of the Arabidopsis Auxin Influx Transporter AUX1, Is Required for Nodule Organogenesis.

Plant Physiology 174 p326-338

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.16.01473

Charpentier M., Sun J., Martins T. V., Radhakrishnan G. V., Findlay K., Soumpourou E., Thouin J., Véry A. A., Sanders D., Morris R. J., Oldroyd G. E. (2016)

Nuclear-localized cyclic nucleotide-gated channels mediate symbiotic calcium oscillations.

Science 352 p1102-5

Publisher’s version: 10.1126/science.aae0109

Cerri M. R., Frances L., Kelner A., Fournier J., Middleton P. H., Auriac M. C., Mysore K. S., Wen J., Erard M., Barker D. G., Oldroyd G. E., de Carvalho-Niebel F. (2016)

The Symbiosis-Related ERN Transcription Factors Act 14 in Concert to Coordinate 15 Rhizobial Host Root Infection

Plant Physiology 171 p1037-1054

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.16.00230

Sinharoy S., Liu C. W., Breakspear A., Guan D., Shailes S., Nakashima J., Zhang S., Wen J., Torres-Jerez I., Oldroyd G., Murray J. D., Udvardi M. (2016)

A Medicago truncatula Cystathionine Beta Synthase like domain-containing protein is required for rhizobial infection and symbiotic nitrogen fixation

Plant Physiology pp.01853.2015 ppp.01853.2015

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.15.01853

View All

Giles Oldroyd

  • Guillaume Ravaux Support Specialist
  • Doreen Feike Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Aisling Cooke Postgraduate Student
  • Ioannis Tamvakis Researcher
  • Katharina Schiessl Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Jongho Sun Research Assistant
  • Guru Vighnesh Radhakrishnan Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Ponraj Paramasivan Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Ben Miller Visiting Worker
  • Leonie Luginbuehl Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Jodi Lilley Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Feng Feng Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Jian Feng Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Jose Nuno De Araujo Leitao Postgraduate Student
  • Matt Heaton Support Specialist


Thomson Reuters Top 1% Highly Cited Researcher, 2014

European Research Council Young Investigator, 2009 - present

President's Medal, Society of Experimental Biology, 2006

European Molecular Biology Organisation Young Investigator Award, 2005-08

Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, 2002-05

BBSRC David Phillips Fellow, 2002-07


For media enquiries, please contact the JIC communications team 01603 450962,

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