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Research group

Plants and Food Security

Dragonfly on green crops.

We study the response of plants to the environment at the molecular, whole plant and ecological levels. This includes interactions with nematodes, insects and microbes.


Within the group there are 4 main areas of research:

  • Plant molecular biology: we research a wide range of crops from wheat, barley and rice, to crops that are currently underutilised, but have future potential as staple foods.
  • Agricultural ecology: we study the interaction of plants and other organisms in the context of agricultural ecosystems.
  • Crop pests and pollinators: we focus on the interaction of crops with both beneficial insects such as pollinators, as well as a range of important agricultural pests.
  • Human nutrition: we look into the consequences of altered nutrition on human health and development including epigenetic control of gene expression.

Research highlights

People, projects and publications


Dr Becky Morris

Associate Professor

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Charles Keevil

Professor In Environmental Health Care
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Dr Daniel Stabler

Lecturer in Plant-Organism Interactions

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Professor Guy Poppy CB FMedSci

Professor In Biological Sciences
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Dr Herman Wijnen Drs, PhD, FHEA

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Control of Daily Rhythms by Circadian Clocks and the Environment
  • Genetics, Behaviour and Neuroscience of the fruit fly Drosophila
  • Chronophysiology of Invertebrates in Association with Global Environmental Change and Food Security

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr Jan Janouskovec PhD

Lecturer in Ecology

Research interests

  • Protist diversity and ecology
  • Evolution of eukaryotic cells
  • Metabolism in plastids & mitochondria

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Dr Jenny Baverstock

Principal Enterprise Fellow
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Professor Karen Lillycrop

Professor of Epigenetics

Research interests

  • Epigenetics
  • Human Disease
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Professor Lindy Holden-Dye BSc, MSc, PhD, FRSB, FBPhS


Research interests

  • Neuropharmacology
  • Invertebrate neuroscience
  • Nematode neurobiology

Accepting applications from PhD students

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Food security is a very pressing issue; globally, around a billion people are already food insecure.
Professor In Biological Sciences