Why study pea genetics and biochemistry at the John Innes Centre?

We are an internationally renowned research institute, specialising in the plant and microbial biosciences, with a long legacy of pea research spanning over 100 years. Historically, our research findings include the development of the semi-leafless pea mutant, now impressively accounting for 100% of UK dry pea production, and a high proportion globally. Furthermore, we were the first to identify two of the genes responsible for the traits observed by Gregor Mendel, reported in his seminal work published in 1865 and continued by our first director, William Bateson.

Our research seeks to address problems facing the pea industry and to provide knowledge, tools and resources that underpin solutions that are tractable to breeding programmes. The research we do on pea (Pisum) seeds is also relevant to other legume and pulse crops and has impact in three main areas. A major question we ask is: how can our research benefit not only our understanding of genetics and biology, but also agriculture, human health and the environment? We strive to raise the profile of pea and other pulses as a sustainable food source, which is important in the face of the increasing number of global food security issues.

At the John Innes Centre (JIC), we have extremely valuable resources at our finger-tips: from diverse genetic mapping populations to dedicated field plots, state-of-the-art technology platforms, and access to the John Innes Germplasm Resource Unit (GRU), which stores our extensive Pisum collection. We work hard to build beneficial and productive relationships with industry, to maximise the impact of our research, and engage with scientists from around the world. 

Studying/working at the JIC

Our pea research team comes from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and there are numerous opportunities for aspiring scientists to join us. If you have an interest in studying and/or working at the JIC on pea, please follow the links below to explore the various opportunities available.

BBSRC Industrial CASE Studentship
Rotation PhD Programme
M.Sc. in Plant Genetics & Crop Improvement
JIC Careers and Training Page
Current Vacancies
Project Leaders
Postdoctoral Research
Undergraduate Opportunities

Former MSc student Rosanne Maguire


Courtesy of Rosanne Maguire (2016). As part of my MSc in ‘Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement’, I worked in Claire Domoney’s lab. The aim of my project was to gain a comprehensive understanding of variance in the JIC pea germplasm collection in known candidate genes in the chlorophyll degradation pathway. The Board of Examiners awarded me a Distinction, as well as the Colin Law prize for ‘best MSc PGCI student of the year 2013-2014’. Working with the research group was completely immersive, very supportive, and well connected to industry. I received excellent mentoring, which has given me a passion for translatable research in legume crops. I am now undertaking a BBSRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership at the University of Warwick, working with pulses to help tackle challenges of food security.


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