PhD Biological Sciences University of Southampton
MRes Analytical Biology University of Warwick
BSc (Hons) Ecology Lancaster University
I am a Fellow of the Linnean Society, Chair of the Umbellifer Crops Working Group and UK representative on the Brassica, Allium and Leafy Vegetables Working Groups of the European Co-operative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources. I am a member of the UK Plant Genetic Resources Group which provides technical and policy advice to Defra.
I have worked on various projects, including a study funded by the BBSRC/NERC 'Geneflow' initiative which looked at potential ecological effects of the commercial release of GM oilseed rape on a wild relative in the UK. I have also worked on a project investigating the diversity of disease resistance genes ('R-genes') in Brassica oleracea crop types including cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, kohl rabi and kale. These genes play a role in pathogen recognition and so are important in terms of crop improvement but also extremely interesting from an evolutionary point of view. I have used microsatellite markers to investigate the genetic diversity surrounding the BoAP1-a gene in cauliflowers and other brassica crop types. This gene has been implicated in the development of the curd tissue seen in cauliflowers but direct evidence of this is lacking.
All of my projects have used existing genetic diversity naturally present in the species of interest to answer questions relating to environmental and ecological issues and the genetic control of important traits.