Prof Tony Miller

Senior Scientist
Metabolic Biology

Tony’s research brings together an interest in membrane transporters with plant nutrition, with the aim of improving the efficiency of fertiliser use.

Tony investigates plant nitrogen content and how a balance between nitrate and ammonium is facilitated by nitrogen transporters to maintain pH within the cell.

As part of this research Tony has developed soil sensors for monitoring nitrogen content of soils.

Tony’s research also extends to other plant nutrients including the biofortification and bioavailability of zinc. 

  • Nitrogen use efficiency through nitrogen transporters
  • Nutrient uptake, biofortification and bioavailability
  • Sensor development for measuring soil nitrogen 


The Miller Lab addresses fundamental questions in plant nutrition with a specialist interest in membrane transporters. Nitrogen nutrition is a particular focus of the groups research and the structure and function of membrane transporters for nitrate, ammonium and amino acids is being studied. Some of these transporters play a key role in sensing nitrogen availability in the soil.

Nitrogen cycling at the root/soil interface is important for uptake by plants and typically around 60% of the N fertilizer applied to crops is not taken up and can be leached into the environment. They work closely with soil scientists and microbiologists to identify ways to improve nitrogen use efficiency in crops.

Close collaborations with Chinese scientists have led to the development of cereals with much improved yield and nitrogen use efficiency.


Tel: 01603 450000

John Innes Centre scientists identify protein which boosts rice yield by fifty percent

read more

Recent Publications

Helliwell J. R., Strurrock C. J., Mairhofer S., Craigon J., Ashton R. W., Miller A. J., Whalley W. R., Mooney S. J. (2017)

The emergent rhizosphere: imaging the development of the porous architecture at the root-soil interface

Scientific Reports Published online pPublished online

Publisher’s version: 10.1038/s41598-017-14904-w

Vincent T. R., Canham J., Toyota M., Avramova M., Mugford S. T., Gilroy S., Miller A. J., Hogenhout S., Sanders D. (2017)

Real-time In Vivo Recording of Arabidopsis Calcium Signals During Insect Feeding Using a Fluorescent Biosensor

JOVE 126 p56142

Publisher’s version: 10.3791/56142

Vincent T. R., Avramova M., Canham J., Higgins P., Bilkey N., Mugford S. T., Pitino M., Toyota M., Gilroy S., Miller A. J., Hogenhout S., Sanders D. (2017)

Interplay of plasma membrane and vacuolar ion channels, together with BAK1, elicits rapid cytosolic calcium elevations in Arabidopsis during aphid feeding.

Plant Cell Epub ahead of print pEpub ahead of print

Publisher’s version: 10.1105/tpc.17.00136

Chen Y., Sun S. K., Tang Z., Liu G., Moore K. L., Maathuis F. J. M., Miller A. J., McGrath S. P., Zhao F. J. (2017)

The Nodulin 26-like intrinsic membrane protein OsNIP3;2 is involved in arsenite uptake by lateral roots in rice.

Journal of Experimental Botany Epub ahead of print pEpub ahead of print

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/jxb/erx165

Fan X., Naz M., Fan X., Xuan W., Miller A. J., Xu G. (2017)

Plant nitrate transporters: from gene function to application.

Journal of Experimental Botany 68 p2463-2475

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/jxb/erx011

View All

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