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

read more

How plant sensors detect pathogens

read more

Bacteria use chemical harpoons to hold on tight to their hosts

read more

Dr Mark Banfield awarded tenure

read more

Recent Publications

Wirthmueller L., Asai S., Rallapalli G., Sklenar J., Fabro G., Kim D. S., Lintermann R., Jaspers P., Wrzaczek M., Kangasjärvi J., MacLean D., Menke F. L. H., Banfield M. J., Jones J. D. G. (2018)

Arabidopsis downy mildew effector HaRxL106 suppresses plant immunity by binding to RADICAL-INDUCED CELL DEATH1.

New Phytologist 220 p232-248

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/nph.15277

De la Concepcion J. C., Franceschetti M., Maqbool A., Saitoh H., Terauchi R., Kamoun S., Banfield M. J. (2018)

Polymorphic residues in rice NLRs expand binding and response to effectors of the blast pathogen.

Nature plants

Publisher’s version: 10.1038/s41477-018-0194-x

Lilley C. J., Maqbool A., Wu D., Yusup H. B., Jones L. M., Birch P. R. J., Banfield M. J., Urwin P. E., Eves-van den Akker S. (2018)

Effector gene birth in plant parasitic nematodes: Neofunctionalization of a housekeeping glutathione synthetase gene

PLoS Genetics 14 pe1007310

Publisher’s version: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007310

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

View All

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


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