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Dr Laura D Atkinson - ePortfolio

This ePortfolio acts as a record of my progress as a PhD research student.

I submitted my thesis in 2010 and graduated in 2011.

Upon submitting my thesis I began working as an 'Assistant Plant Breeder' at Limagrain UK.

I am now however a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University of Reading.

Please still feel free to contact me at or on the page contact option below.

Please note that my research was conducted at Warwick HRI which has now joined into Life Sciences - therefore contact details maybe out of date and links broken, so please use the search options within the pages.

Hi everyone and welcome to my eportfolio. My name is Laura Atkinson and I am a PhD student at Warwick HRI, which is a relatively new department of the University of Warwick. My research interests lie in the area of crop improvement and I am particularly interested in increasing shelf life. I have an MSc in 'The Conservation and Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources' and a BSc in 'Biological Sciences' from the University of Birmingham.

My Research 

Thesis Title: The Genetic Characterisation of Post Harvest Spoilage in Lettuce

A major concern in the food industry is the post harvest discolouration of fruit and vegetables. The visual alteration of product organoleptic characteristics generally incites an unfavourable consumer response. The shelf life of pre-packed cut lettuce is regularly restricted by enzymatic browning and pinking via oxidation of polyphenols by polyphenol oxidase and accumulating anthocyanins respectively through the phenylpropanoid pathway. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase increases polyphenol biosynthesis for oxidation upon the wounding of plant tissue. Post harvest discolouration is currently delayed by combinations of post harvest treatment. A genetic engineering approach would allow regulation of the pathways, avoiding treatment use. However widespread public opinion opposes this type of modification. The current project aims to provide resources for breeding improved ‘shelf life’ through the exploitation of natural allelic variation and an understanding of the genetics of post harvest browning and pinking.

Department: Warwick HRI
Supervisors: Prof Dave Pink and Dr Vicky Buchanan-Wollaston
Research Group: Crop Improvement 
Funding: BBSRC with an industrial partner Rijk Zwaan 

I am currently involved in promoting postgraduate study at Warwick HRI. See the video and newsletters.

Please feel free to have a look around my eportfolio:
Twitter Follow me on twitter @laura_atkinson
Please note that unless annotated to the contrary, all copyrights to the images on this page and subpages are owned by myself or the University of Warwick. They may not be reproduced, re-used or modified without my or the university's express permission. Please contact for further information.
Laura, homepage

Laura Atkinson

Contact Me
Warwick HRI
University of Warwick
CV35 9EF
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 575039
Fax: +44 (0) 2467 574500
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