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Understanding the keys of adaptation in plants: An interview with Dr Raziyeh Abdilzadeh

Raziyeh Abdilzadeh is a postdoctoral fellow working with Prof Levi Yant on Preadapt: revealing the basis of whole genome duplication-mediated adaption, a Leverhulme funded project. Razi joins the Future Food Beacon from the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad where she completed her PhD in 2020. Tell us about your role I am a postdoc research fellow …

Swift: A ten minute coffee with Prof Levi Yant

Levi Yant has recently been promoted to Professor in the School of Life Sciences. He is a Future Food Beacon group leader. Before this he was a Project Leader at the John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK). His independent research career began in 2014 as a Project Leader at Harvard University (USA), where he had previously …

Adaptation in the face of adversity: unlocking the secret of genomes

How can we better understand plant responses to stress through their genomes? Prof Levi Yant and Dr Guillermina Mendiondo discuss different ways to look inside the world of plants. Life’s astonishing diversity is entirely the product of evolution. Adaptation of any organism to the environment, and the reflection of this adaptation – the evolution of …

Evolving grass pea from ‘orphan’ crop to staple food

This post is written by Drs Peter Emmrich and Levi Yant.  Malnutrition from protein deficiency is a widespread problem and concern. Populations in the developing world are at particular risk due to the higher costs of animal proteins when compared to plant proteins. These populations therefore tend to rely on protein-rich plant-based foods like beans, …

Exploring diversity in pearl millet seed – An interview with Brighton Gapare

Brighton Gapare is a joint Nottingham-Rothamsted PhD Student 2019–2023. His project is entitled ‘Exploring genetic diversity in grain structure, composition and functionality of pearl millet germplasm’. His supervisors are Dr. Rahul Bhosale (UoN), Prof. Malcom Bennett (UoN) and Prof. Peter Shewry (RRes). He also works with Dr Neil Graham (UoN), Prof. David Cook (UoN), Prof. …

How does rice reproduce when it’s hot? – An interview with Maureen Ng’ang’a

Maureen Ng’ang’a is a second-year PhD student on the UoN-Rothamsted Graduate Centre for International Agriculture scheme.  Her project is entitled ‘TempR: Developing reproductive resilience to heat stress in rice’. Her supervisors are: Dr. Sigrid Heuer (RRes), Prof. Zoe Wilson (UoN) and Prof. Erik Murchie (UoN). Why did you decide to do a PhD? What were …

Improving Brassica rapa for better nutrition – An interview with Dr Guillermina Mendiondo

Dr Guillermina Mendiondo is an Assistant Professor in Translational Crop Science at The University of Nottingham. She works on different plant species as part of her work on crop molecular genetics within the Future Food Beacon. The origins of the project In 2018, Dr Mendiondo travelled to South Africa and visited farmers in KwaZulu-Natal as …

How can the winged bean improve our futures? An interview with Chong Yuet Tian

Tian is a Future Food Beacon Malaysia PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Festo Massawe, Dr. Hui Hui Chai and Dr. Ajit Singh. She obtained a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Science before joining University of Nottingham Malaysia to research genetic improvement of crop plants, especially minor and underutilised crops. She is currently researching winged …

Resistance to disease in tropical crops – an interview with Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan

Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan (‘Uma’) is the Director of the Cocoa Research Centre, University of the West Indies. The Future Food Beacon is proud to welcome him as an Honorary Professor for the 2020/21 academic year. We spoke with Uma about his research career, current projects, and collaborations with Future Food.  Tell me about your work. What is your research about?   …

Understanding genetic variation in winged bean: an interview with Niki Tsoutsoura

Niki is a PhD candidate with the Future Proteins Platform. Niki holds an MSc. in Crop Improvement from the University of Nottingham. During her MSc studies, she became familiar with underutilised crops like winged bean. Underutilised crops are relatively underexploited as they have low economic importance or agricultural significance in developed economies, therefore they receive …