I am currently part of the BRESOV project https://bresov.eu : Breeding for Resilient, Efficient and Sustainable Organic Vegetable production. The aim of this project is to explore the genetic diversity of three economically important vegetable crops, Brassicas, Beans and Tomato, to select for increased tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses in organic and low-input productions systems.
At Liverpool we are focussing on Brassicas, using crops, landraces and crop wild relatives to explore genetic diversity for stress resilience. Through phenotyping and genotyping, we will map loci linked to these traits, which can then be fed into a breeding programme. This project will allow us to exploit the genetic variation for enhanced productivity through crop genetic improvement.
My previous research focussed on photosynthesis. I characterised genes involved in the decarboxylation module of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) and their regulation, to identify the critical elements needed to express CAM. The project's overarching goal was to engineer CAM into C3 crops to enhance the water use efficiency of plants and thus allow crops to use grow in a hotter drier climate predicted for the future. Target crops for this improvement include biofuel and food crops. I have also worked on BBSRC funded grant ‘Sequencing the transcriptome of Kalanchöe fedtschenkoi’.
I have previously worked on C4 photosynthesis, having isolated and characterized the first C4 pathway mutants in Amaranthus edulis, in particular a PEPC mutant.
I also have experience of working in the Biotech industry, first in Stirling, Scotland and then in Iceland, growing Haematococcus in small and large scale batch culture with the aim of inducing the production of Astaxanthin.
I received an Applied Plant Science degree from the University of Liverpool and subsequently undertook a Ph.D. from Lancaster University on ‘The Isolation and Characterisation of Mutants of Amaranthus edulis Lacking Key Enzymes of the C4 Pathway’. Based on the success of my Ph.D project, I received BBSRC funding for postdoctoral research to further characterise the mutants found during my Ph.D.