Our Science

Significant agricultural losses are caused by pests, pathogens, poor nutrient availability and adverse environmental conditions. On average 30% of potential crop yield is lost.

In this research programme, we partner with The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) to provide scientific understanding of plant-pest, pathogen and symbiont interactions that will result in crop improvement, and a reduction of crop losses.

Together we explore the genetic components present within the plant kingdom that provide effective resistance to pests and pathogens. We also research the mechanisms by which pests and pathogens avoid these resistances and the means by which plants and micro-organisms enter beneficial symbioses for nutrient acquisition.

Researchers in the programme will generate the scientific knowledge required for the development of genetic alternatives to the use of agrochemicals, delivering sustainable agriculture while sustaining or improving yields.

Our research is based on a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of biotic interactions in both model and crop species and the application of these findings to crop plants. We combine research in the model systems Arabidopsis, Medicago and Brachypodium with crop plants, specifically focusing on wheat, Brassica and potato.

Founded in genetics, this Institute Strategic Programme integrates genomics, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology and mathematical modelling to develop a systems-level understanding of plant biotic interactions. 

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