Prof Mark Banfield

Head of Department
Biological Chemistry

Mark’s research focuses on plant/pathogen interactions at the molecular and cellular level.

Mark explores the structure and function of intracellular disease resistance proteins (NLRs) - plant receptors which detect non-self molecules released by pathogens on infection.

He also investigates how host-translocated pathogen effector proteins function to promote disease. Understanding the genetic and structural changes involved in plant/pathogen interactions informs novel approaches to the challenge of breeding disease resistance in crops such as potato and rice.

  • Intracellular plant receptors (NLRs) for disease resistance, including engineering
  • How host-translocated pathogen proteins (effectors) promote disease
  • Understanding the protein interactions between plants and pathogens 


The Banfield Lab benefits from close links with colleagues at The Sainsbury Laboratory on the Norwich Research Park.

They also investigate the molecular basis of host cell adhesion mediated by internal thioester bonds, highly unusual protein cross-links we discovered in pili from gram-positive pathogens of mammals. 


Tel: 01603 450742

Gold award for colon cancer biology team

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How plant sensors detect pathogens

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Bacteria use chemical harpoons to hold on tight to their hosts

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Dr Mark Banfield awarded tenure

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Recent Publications

Bialas A., Zess E. K., De la Concepcion J. C., Franceschetti M., Pennington H. G., Yoshida K., Upson J. L., Chanclud E., Wu C. H., Langner T., Maqbool A., Varden F. A., Derevnina L., Belhaj K., Fujisaki K., Saitoh H., Terauchi R., Banfield M. J., Kamoun S. (2018)

Lessons in Effector and NLR Biology of Plant-Microbe Systems.

Molecular plant-microbe interactions : MPMI 31 p34-45

Publisher’s version: 10.1094/MPMI-08-17-0196-FI

Di X., Cao L., Hughes R. K., Tintor N., Banfield M. J., Takken F. L. W. (2017)

Structure-function analysis of the Fusarium oxysporum Avr2 effector allows uncoupling of its immune-suppressing activity from recognition

New Phytologist -- p--

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/nph.14733

Franceschetti M., Maqbool A., Maximiliano Jimenez Dalmaroni M. J., Pennington H. G., Kamoun S., Banfield M. J. (2017)

Effectors of Filamentous Plant Pathogens: Commonalities amid Diversity.

Microbiology & Molecular Biology Reviews 81 p1-17

Publisher’s version: 10.1128/MMBR.00066-16

Varden F. A., De la Concepcion J. C., Maidment J. H., Banfield M. J. (2017)

Taking the stage: effectors in the spotlight.

Current Opinion in Plant Biology 38 p25-33

Publisher’s version: 10.1016/j.pbi.2017.04.013

Jones J. D., Banfield M. J. (2017)

Two-faced TIRs trip the immune switch.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 p2445-2446

Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1700954114

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Mark Banfield

  • Dr Richard Hughes Research Assistant
  • Dr Marina Franceschetti Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Abbas Maqbool Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Maximiliano Jimenez Dalmaroni Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Sebastian Eves-van Den Akker Visiting Worker
  • Freya Varden Postgraduate Student
  • Josephine Maidment Postgraduate Student
  • Juan De La Concepcion Postgraduate Student
  • Hannah Langlands Lab Attendant
  • Sarah Tolland Departmental Administrator


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