Professor Wendy Harwood

Senior Scientist
Crop Genetics

Wendy leads the Crop Transformation Group which delivers a platform for genome editing and genetic modification of crop plants.

Wendy develops new methodologies and technologies to provide the platform with new capabilities and more efficient ways of working.  Current capabilities include transformation and genome editing in cereals including wheat and barley, Brassica crops, potato and tomato.

Wendy collaborates with and trains external users in these technologies.

  • Genome editing of crop plants using CRISPR
  • Agrobacterium mediated plant transformations
  • Developing new crop transformation technologies


The Wendy Harwood group is also responsible for the BRACT facility that provides crop transformation resources to the research community (

Crops of interest include wheat, barley, Brassica napus and Brassica oleracea. Efficient Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocols have been developed for each of these crops but work continues to extend the range of genotypes that can be transformed and to further improve efficiencies.

New technologies, including genome editing using the CRISPR/cas system, have been successfully used in barley and Brassica oleracea and are being investigated in other crops. The group also has an interest in engineering tolerance to drought and salt stress in cereals.

The BRACT transformation facility helps to meet the demand for crop transformation as a research tool to verify gene function. As well as providing a full crop transformation service BRACT provides constructs, training, opportunities for collaboration and hosts visitors wishing to carry out their own transformation experiments.

Wendy is also active in public engagement and an Honorary Lecturer at the University of East Anglia. 


Tel: 01603 450609

JIC welcomes third AWARD fellow, Veronica Guwela

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John Innes Centre scientists use CRISPR technology to edit crop genes - subsequent generations contain no transgenes

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Dr Wendy Harwood awarded Visiting Professorship by Chinese Academy of Sciences

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Research shows promise for drought-tolerant crops

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Recent Publications

Watson A., Ghosh S., Williams M., Cuddy W. S., Simmonds J., Santome M. -. D., Hatta M. A. M., Hinchliffe A., Steed A., Reynolds D., Adamski N., Breakspear A., Korolev A., Rayner T., Dixon L. E., Riaz A., Martin W., Ryan M., Edwards D., Batley J., Raman H., Rogers C., Domoney C., Moore G., Harwood W., Nicholson P., Dieters M. J., DeLacy I. H., Zhou J., Uauy C., Boden S. A., Park R. F., Wulff B. B. H., Hickey L. T. (2018)

Speed breeding: a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding

Nature Plants

Publisher’s version: 10.1038/s41477-017-0083-8

Ricroch A., Clairand P., Harwood W. (2017)

Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: towards new opportunities in agriculture

Emerging Topics in Life Sciences 1 p169-182

Publisher’s version: 10.1042/ETLS20170085

Waheed U., Harwood W., Smedley M., Kwak S., Ahmad R., Shah M. (2016)


The Pakistan Journal of Botany 48(6): p2467-2475, 2016.

Publisher’s version:

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Wendy Harwood

  • Maria-Luisa Amador-Delgado Lab Attendant
  • Tom Lawrenson Research Assistant
  • Mark Smedley Research Assistant
  • Alison Hinchliffe Research Assistant
  • Dr Sadiye Hayta Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Penny Hundleby Senior Scientist
  • Ulka Selcen Demir Postgraduate Student


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

Expertise: Genetic modification technologies, GM safety, wheat, barley

Experience: TV, radio, presentations, discussion sessions, demonstrations

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