Germplasm Resources Unit team

Dr Noam Chayut - Germplasm Resource Unit Manager

With background in plant breeding and in molecular plant biology Noam's role is to support plant science and breeding programs through the utilisation of the fittest possible germplasm.

The genomic revolution is soon coming to its completion with the availability of complex reference genomes and with constantly improving low-priced genomic sequencing technologies. However, in the context of wide germplasm collections, we could not make effective use of the rapidly gathered genomic and transcriptomic data unless we integrate it with uniform, accurate and accessible phenomic data. Adding a deep phenotypic layer of information to the germplasm collections, accessible and relevant to the current industrial and scientific challenges, is Noam's key interest and goal as the Germplasm Resource Unit team leader.    

In a warming world with a growing population, the public investment in long term conservation of germplasm is crucial for future food security. In collaboration with many other UK germplasm curators, the Germplasm Resource Unit manager liaises with the relevant governmental bodies to increase the awareness for the importance of plant diversity preservation. With respect to the public funds and the sublime cause, curators ought to collaborate effectively on the national and international levels.

Noam represents the John Innes Centre in The UK Plant Genetic Resources Group and is our contact person for the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing and a member in the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources in working groups of wheat, barley and grain legume. Noam is an associate member of A European Genebank Integrated System. 

Liz Sayers - Core Germplasm Specialist

As the Core germplasm specialist, Liz Sayers oversees the long-term curation, maintenance, regeneration and assembly of the core collection according to the best practice of gene-bank protocols.

In addition, Liz is in charge of collecting valuable phenotypic data which promotes the usage of the germplasm by scientist and plant breeders. She also provides germplasm to collaborators and advises on seed phytosanitary and export/import permits.

Another aspect of Liz's role is to raise public awareness to the importance of diversity maintenance for sustainable food security.

Simon Orford - Derived Material Specialist

As the Derived material specialist, Simon Orford oversees the long-term curation, maintenance, regeneration and assembly of the derived collections according to the best practice of gene-bank protocols.

In addition, Simon is in charge of phenotyping and genotyping the derived germplasm material to enhance its usage by the bioscience community.

Simon is also engaged in bridging the gap between plant science and plant breeding by refining pre-breeding germplasm.

Dr Richard Horler - Scientific Computing Specialist

Richard developed the SeedStor software; an inhouse purpose developed germplasm information management system and user orientated searchable database.

SeedStor amplifies the Germplasm Resources Unit database management capacity and allows an effective systematic germplasm distribution process and offers a self-explanatory interface to the end user to order seeds and to search for data.

Richard currently oversees the implementation of SeedStor as a part of his role in the Norwich Bioscience Institutes 'Computing Infrastructure for Science' unit.

Saleha Bakht - Reverse Genetics Specialist

Saleha leads our technology platform for TILLING service; RevGenUK.

As the Reverse Genetics Specialist, Seleha would find mutations in your favourite gene in our curated mutagenized population.

The integration of RevGenUK and the GRU enhances our genotyping capacity and enables us to offer new collaborations and services: mutating new populations, screening mutated populations for mutations of interest and sequencing a genomic area of interest in the distributed germplasm.  

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