I work as a post-doctoral researcher at the UK Vegetable Genebank (UKVGB). The UKVGB manages a collection of ~14,000 vegetable seed such as cauliflower, carrots and onions. Our aim is to conserve the genetic diversity of this collection and make seed available for researchers and plant breeders to use. Genetic diversity is the raw material required to produce new crop varieties. Our collections hold seed from crop wild relatives, farmer-developed landraces, heritage varieties and more modern cultivars, originating from across the world. By conserving the UKVGB collection we ensure that crop genetic diversity is available for researchers and plant breeders to access to identify traits of interest, and to develop new crop varieties able to thrive as environmental conditions change and new pests and diseases emerge, ensuring we all have access to nutritious food.
Broader interests and activities
My role particularly focuses on the data management of the collections. In the UKVGB collection we ~14,000 accessions, stored in ~150,000 packets of seed. We have millions of varied pieces of data associated with our collections, such as accession provenance, taxonomy, seed germination, freezer location, research project association, image data and genetic data. We have to keep it all accurate and secure.
I analyse data from our collections to help us make effective decisions about how we manage the collection. I am developing tools to help us better identify accessions that are particularly unique, and identify which accessions should be prioritised for regeneration.
My current research interests focus around enhancing the visibility of the UKVGB collections contributions to science. I am also interested in better understanding the genetic diversity contained within the collections, which has included analysis of Genotype-By-Sequencing data to study intra-population diversity in carrots.I have broad research interests in plant evolution and genetics, and I also have a particular interest in the use of long-term collections and experiments as a resource for research.
- 2016 – Present: Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick (UK Vegetable Genebank project)
- 2012 – 2016: PhD Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour, University of Liverpool. Genetic variation in life history strategy and the responses of plant populations and communities to climate change
- 2008 – 2012: BSc (Hons) Biology with a Year-in-Industry, University of York