Photo of Dr Meriel Jones

Dr Meriel Jones

Senior Lecturer Functional and Comparative Genomics


Current research - plants

My research interests centre on how plants and fungi respond to their environment, including through the production of secondary metabolites.

Current projects include investigation of alkaloid biosynthesis in daffodils, combining chemical analysis with next generation sequencing. The objective is to gain better understanding of the biosynthetic pathway and how it is controlled. In addition, we are now exploring how to use sequence data from large, outbreeding genomes to provide molecular markers for daffodil breeding programmes.

Current research - fungi

My research with fungi has concentrated on their roles as pathogens (white rot of onion) and mycorrhiza (in grasses for golf courses and in the life history of the bee orchid).

I also have a long-standing collaboration with Mark Caddick (also Department of Functional and Comparative Genomics) on analysis of the control of gene expression, using nitrogen metabolism in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans as a model system.

Onions and Garlic
Image and clip about onion flaour and recipie
Image and clip about onion flaour and recipie

This has developed from my earlier work on the biosynthesis of flavour precursors in onions and garlic, working in collaboration with UK growers and consultants, as well as biological and medical scientists in the EU and USA. One unexpected outcome was improved classification of onions for the UK market, including development of a new, sweet onion crop for the UK (see personal website).

I have provided consultancy to industry and the media on flavours and secondary metabolites and about fungal control and identification. In November 2013 I appeared on BBC1 in 'Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds' to talk about onion flavour and watch him cook. See a clip at

Research Grants
  • Regulated Transcript Stability
  • Garlic & Health: the development of high quality garlic and its influence on biomarkers of artherosclerosis and cancer in humans for disease prevention.
  • Improvement of some potential forage crops for livestock in Saudi Arabia
  • OVS Health Trust Fellowship programme
  • Wazeera Abdullah - bench fees
  • Co-ordination of nitrate and nitrogen metabolite signalling at the level of transcript stability.
  • Sensing and the biological response in plants (SENSIBLE).
  • Proteomic lead analysis of nitrogen regulation and signalling in aspergillus nidulans.
  • Aleya Ferdausi - Bench Fees
  • University of Liverpool Institutional Discipline Bridging.
  • UK fundamentals for mild onion production.

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