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 demonstrated efficient targeted gene knock-out using RNA guided Cas9 in wheat, barley, Brassica oleracea, tomato and potato. They also work on additional applications of gene editing technologies, in particular gene targeting or ‘knock-in’ using CRISPR/Cas9. To further improve efficiencies, they have developed new genome editing tools including more efficient nucleases.
Other interests of the group include contributing to the Enabling Nutrient Symbioses in Agriculture (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 a Honorary Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia. She is active in public engagement on GM and gene editing technologies and is a member of the Food Standards Agency Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).
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