Thomas Navarro Sens

Postgraduate Researcher

Thomas is a second year CASE PhD student at the Seung Lab.

His project focuses on developing gene-edited potatoes with improved post-harvest qualities and health benefits. It is mainly supported by the John Innes Centre and BBSRC (UK), with Tropic Biosciences (Norwich, UK) as an industrial partner, and in collaboration with Solynta (Wageningen, Netherlands).

Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a major global crop reaching over 370 million tonnes in production and considered to be a key player in guaranteeing food security around the world. Despite its importance, big challenges arise in its breeding – particularly improving nutritional traits.

This project will take Thomas on a vast journey of fundamental and applied knowledge from tuber development to starch characterisation and sugar metabolism in this important crop.

Through modern breeding tools, he ultimately aims to contribute to the development of a healthy, improved potato capable of reaching the plates of millions of people across the world.

Originally half French and half Mexican, Thomas grew mostly in Mexico where he completed a B. S. in Biotechnology Engineering at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico City Campus, in 2018, with a year abroad (2017-2018) at the University of Tampere, Finland.

Having worked in industry as a laboratory technician in banana and coffee crop enhancement, he is now moving into academic research and enjoys being involved with the JIC Community.

Thomas is the current chair of the JIC Student Voice (JSV), a group that aims to empower students whilst catering to their social well-being. He has also taken part in science communication and outreach events, as well as being an active member of the NBI LGBTQ+ Working Group. Outside of science, he loves dancing and socialising.