Professor Wendy Harwood

Senior Scientist
Crop Genetics

I lead the Crop Transformation Group that develops and delivers efficient crop genetic modification and genome editing. We use transformation-based technologies to help understand gene function and develop new and improved protocols for genome engineering in crops. The 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. I am also active in public engagement and an Honorary Lecturer at the University of East Anglia. 


Tel: 01603 450609

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

Hayta S., Smedley M., Li J., Harwood W., Gilmartin P. (2016)

Plant Regeneration from Leaf-derived Callus Cultures of Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

Horticultural Science 51 p558-562

Lawrenson T., Shorinola O., Stacey N., Li C., Ostergaard L., Patron N., Uauy C., Harwood W. (2015)

Induction of targeted, heritable mutations in barley and Brassica oleracea using RNA-guided Cas9 nuclease.

Genome Biology 16 p258

Publisher’s version: 10.1186/s13059-015-0826-7

Ricroch A., Harwood W., Svobodova Z., Sagi L., Hundleby P., Kuntz M. (2015)

Challenges facing European agriculture and possible biotechnological solutions.

Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 1 p1-9

Publisher’s version: 10.3109/07388551.2015.1055707

Smedley M. A., Harwood W. A. (2014)

Gateway-compatible plant transformation vectors

Publisher’s version: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1695-5_1

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Wendy Harwood

  • Maria-Luisa Amador-Delgado Lab Attendant
  • Tom Lawrenson Research Assistant
  • Asyraf Hatta Postgraduate Student
  • 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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