Broad interests across plant biology Broad interests across plant biology

The Plant Sciences Theme has broad interests, which address many aspects of Plant Biology and includes groups in The Sainsbury Laboratory.

Research in the theme includes looking at plant resistance to parasites and pathogens, studying molecular and physiological adaptations to biotic and abiotic stress, identifying signalling mechanisms in plant responses to disease and using RNA silencing as an antiviral mechanism.

The theme has many close associations with the John Innes Centre and the NRP. Funding comes primarily form the BBSRC and the Gatsby Foundation

We welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students, postdocs and fellows. We also run a successful MSc in Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement

Academic staff

Theme leader: Professor Tamas Dalmay

Studying ligation bias during small RNA library preparation for next generation sequencing
Investigating the function of short RNAs in tomato fruit


Dr Charles Brearley

Inositol hexakisphosphate biosynthesis and signalling
Inositol and calcium signalling in Medicago truncatula
Metabolic biochemistry of disease resistance mediated by the genes RPW8.1 & 2


Dr Silvia Costa (John Innes Centre)

Root patterning
Role of chromatin organisation in cell fate specification
Cell fate changes and regeneration


Professor Philip Gilmartin (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science)

Gene regulation and flower development
Plant reproductive development



Dr Veronica Geieneisen (John Innes Centre)

Morphogen gradient dynamics
Cell polarity and shape in plants (and animals)
Cell-cell interactions and tissue polarity


Professor Jonathan Jones (The Sainsbury Laboratory)

Plant disease resistance
Plant pathogen effectors and their targets
Plant/pathogen coevolution


Professor Sophien Kamoun (The Sainsbury Laboratory)

Oomycete genomics
Filamentous pathogen effector function and evolution
Filamentous pathogen effector trafficking


Professor Silke Robatzek (The Sainsbury Laboratory)

Cell biology and plant immunity
Pathogen-triggered Membrane trafficking
Receptor endocytosis


Dr Colwyn Thomas

Plant-pathogen interactions
Disease resistance
Resistance gene evolution


Professor Cyril Zipfel (The Sainsbury Laboratory)

PAMP perception
PAMP signalling
Bacterial disease resistance