Wendy leads the Crop Transformation Group at the John Innes Centre and manages the BRACT transformation facility which is providing crop transformation and genome editing resources to the research community worldwide.
Wendy’s group focuses on developing improved technologies for crop transformation and genome editing with a particular interest in the cereal crops, wheat and barley, but her group also works on other crops including the Brassicas.
As well as developing efficient Agrobacterium-mediated transformation systems for key UK crops, Wendy’s group have recently demonstrated efficient targeted gene knock-out using RNA guided Cas9 in wheat, barley, Brassica oleracea, tomato and potato. They are now investigating additional applications of gene editing technologies in particular gene targeting or ‘knock-in’ using CRISPR / Cas9.
Other interests of the group include engineering drought tolerance in cereal crops and contributing to the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) project which aims to use biological nitrogen fixation to sustainably increase yields for small-holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Wendy was awarded a Visiting Professorship for senior international scientists by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2014 and is also a Reader at the University of East Anglia. She is also active in public engagement on GM and gene editing technologies.
Hayta S., Smedley M. A., Demir S. U., Blundell R., Hinchliffe A., Atkinson N., Harwood W. A. (2019)An efficient and reproducible Agrobacterium-mediated transformation method for hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)Plant Methods (15)Publisher's version: 1746-4811
Harwood W. A. (2019)Barley – Methods and ProtocolsPublisher's version: 1064-3745
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)Publisher's version: 1474-7596