Lab members and alumni

Current members of the Uauy lab include;

Dr Cristobal Uauy - Project Leader

Dr Cristobal Uauy is a Project Leader in wheat genetics and genomics at the John Innes Centre.

His programme focuses on the identification of genes involved in wheat productivity traits, including grain size/yield, and the development of tools and resources to enhance scientific discovery.

Cristobal is using molecular genetic approaches to identify these genes and enhance the pipeline to translate new knowledge at the molecular level into improved wheat varieties for growers, industry and consumers.

Cristobal studied Agronomy in Chile and holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of California, Davis.

Sisay Kidane Alemu

Sisay Kidane Alemu is a visiting postgraduate student in Cristobal Uauy’s lab for part of his PhD research.

His research focuses on identification of yellow rust resistance genes/QTLs besides other important agronomic traits in Ethiopian durum wheat germplasm through Genome Wide Association Study.

Sisay is also looking at the genetic diversity among a larger set of the durum germplasm. He applies molecular techniques and statistical analysis of phenotypic data combined with some bioinformatics tools to identify genes/QTLs and estimate the extent of genetic diversity.

Sisay has received his BSc in plant production and dryland farming from Hawassa University (Ethiopia), MSc in plant science: breeding and genetic resources from Wageningen University (Netherlands) and now doing PhD in Agricultural Biotechnology at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia).

Clemence Marchal

Clemence Marchal is a PhD student working on yellow rust resistance in wheat.

She uses a combination of targeted enrichment sequencing and mutational genomics to clone yellow rust resistance genes and develop gene-specific markers to allow their tracking into breeding programs.

Clemence studied Plant Science at the University of Lorraine in Nancy before joining the John Innes Centre for her PhD, in collaboration with Group Limagrain.

She enjoys horse-riding, running and reading during her free time.

Phillipa Borrill

Philippa Borrill is a BBSRC Anniversary Future Leader Fellow working on genetics and genomics in wheat at the John Innes Centre.

Philippa’s research focuses on understanding the genetic architecture regulating senescence and grain nutrient content using forward genetic screens, molecular biology and bioinformatics approaches.

More broadly Philippa is developing resources which explore the transcriptional landscape in wheat.

Philippa studied Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge and completed a PhD in Plant Biology at the John Innes Centre.

Oluwaseyi Shorinola

Oluwaseyi Shorinola completed his PhD in wheat genetics at the John Innes Centre and currently works as a Post-doctoral researcher in the Uauy lab.

Oluwaseyi‘s PhD work focused on the cloning of a major QTL conferring resistance to pre-harvest sprouting (pre-mature grain germination).

Currently, Oluwaseyi is working on understanding the genetic control of root development in wheat using a combination of high-throughput phenotyping, forward and reverse genetics and mapping-by-sequencing approaches. This is important for designing custom root ideotypes that maximise water and nutrient uptake in crops, especially under resource-limiting conditions

James Simmonds

James Simmonds is a Research Assistant working in the Uauy lab.

James' research focuses on the identification, validation and characterisation of genes influencing yield and yield components, utilising both variation within adapted cultivars and novel alleles through TILLING and exotic germplasm.

Concepts are transferred from the lab to the field using mapping populations and NIL’s for in-depth phenotyping and analysis, with the ultimate goal being the deployment into both UK and global breeding programmes.

James studied Environmental Biology and has 20 years’ experience of field experimentation and molecular techniques in both commercial and academic research.

Jemima Brinton

Jemima Brinton is a Post-Doctoral Researcher working on grain size and yield in wheat.

Specifically, Jemima is using a range of approaches including genetic mapping, physiology, microscopy and transcriptomics to understand the mechanisms that control grain length and grain width in bread wheat.

Jemima completed a Rotation PhD in plant biology at the John Innes Centre, funded by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, and studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Nikolai Adamski

Nikolai Adamski is a Post-Doctoral Researcher of wheat genetics and genomics at the John Innes Centre.

His work focuses on the identification and characterisation of genes involved in the control of spike yield components like grain weight and spikelet number.

To achieve this he uses the hexaploid Cadenza TILLING population in forward and reverse genetics approaches as well as transcriptomic data to identify key regulatory genes.

Sophie Harrington

Sophie Harrington is a PhD student studying the regulation of monocarpic senescence in wheat.

She is approaching this question from a variety of angles, including forward genetic screens of the TILLING population, protein interactions, and the identification of novel senescence-associated-genes.

Before joining the Uauy lab, Sophie carried out short projects with Dr Diane Saunders, Dr Brande Wulff, and Dr Christine Faulkner as part of the John Innes Centre Rotation PhD programme.

Sophie studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Plant and Microbial Sciences.

Bijan Ghasemi Afshar

Bijan Ghasemi Afshar is a computer science student at the University of East Anglia and is currently undertaking his year in industry programme at the John Innes Centre.

He is responsible for updating and maintaining the web tools developed at the John Innes Centre to help the research team, this includes improving the user experience and adding new features.

Bijan will then return to the University of East Anglia to finish his bachelor degree next year.


Alice Pieri

Alice Pieri is s a visiting Postgraduate Student in Cristobal Uauy’s lab for part of her PhD research.

Alice's research focuses on the study of the regulatory noncoding genome (lncRNAs and miRNAs) of wheat and wild wheat progenitors, through a bioinformatic approach.

She’s currently working on the annotation of long noncoding RNAs in wild wheat relatives and assessing their conservation through the domestication process.

Alice got her MSc in Plant and Microbe Biotechnology from the University of Pisa in Italy and currently she is a PhD student at Prof. Mario Enrico Pè lab, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa).

Tobin Florio

Ricardo Ramirez-Gonzalez

The Cristobal Uauy lab The Uauy lab

Alumni of the Cristobal Uauy lab

Postdoctoral Researchers

Research Assistants

PhD Students

  • Abdulhamit Battal, Yuzuncu Yil University, Turkey (visiting)
  • Alessia Comastri, University of Parma, Italy (visiting)
  • Amelia Frizell-Armitage, University of East Anglia, UK (co-supervised)
  • Barbara Balcárková, Palacky University, Czech Republic (visiting)
  • Hana Vanžurová, Palacky University, Czech Republic (visiting)
  • Mitaly Bansal, Punjab Agricultural University, India (co-supervised)
  • Momina Hussain, NIBGE, Pakistan (visiting)
  • Sanu Arora, Punjab Agricultural University, India (visiting)
  • Teresa Mestre, CSIC, Spain (visiting)
  • Valentina Buffagni, University of Parma, Italy (visiting)

MSc Students

Undergraduate Students

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