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Chasing auxin through the plant – international collaboration leads to Nature paper – by Anthony Bishopp

Photo (right) by Rita Astrovich on Unsplash Anthony Bishopp is a Royal Society University Research Fellow, Faculty of Science, University of Nottingham When Charles Darwin noticed that plants bend towards light, he performed a series of experiments showing that a mobile signal produced in the growing tip caused the plants to bend at the base. 160 years …

Computer Vision and plants – An interview with Bowen Deng

Bowen Deng is a PhD student on the Palaeobenchmarking Resilient Agricultural Systems (PalaeoRAS) project  Why did you decide to do a PhD? What were you doing before?   All my life, I have had a fascination with computing and technology. I have always enjoyed keeping pace with the latest advances in technology and have remained amazed at the speed of computerized developments over …

Crops for the future: the case of the winged bean – by Chong Yuet Tian

Future Food Beacon researchers in Malaysia and the UK are working with partners globally to utilise crop diversity to plug gaps in food production. We aim to address nutrition security challenges by making a diverse range of healthy food crops available and accessible to all. In addition to the flagship project on Bambara groundnut, Future …

A PhD placement with AB InBev in the USA

Jasmine Littler is a BBSRC-iCASE funded PhD candidate in the School of Biosciences. Her project is titled: Enhancing barley environmental stress tolerance through targeted mutagenesis. She is supervised by Dr Guillermina Mendiondo and co-supervised by Prof David Cook. As part of her PhD programme, Jasmine visited the AB InBev Barley Research Centre in Fort Collins, …

Understanding oil crop sustainability: An interview with Dr Thomas Alcock

Dr Thomas Alcock is a postdoctoral researcher with the Future Food Beacon, researching oil crops and sustainability. Prior to this role, he held a Future Food Doctoral award, in which he worked on identifying the genetic basis of magnesium uptake in Brassica crops, with the hope of developing more nutritious vegetables. Here, he shares with …

UK Plant Health Week: A conversation with a plant pathologist

2020 is the International Year of Plant Health and April 20-27 is UK Plant Health Week. We spoke to Dr Rumiana Ray, a Crop Pathologist, about the importance of plant health, and what you can do to support keeping plants healthy.   You are a specialist in crop pathology, what does that mean? Plant pathologists …

How do plant roots branch towards water?

Plant roots need to forage for water and nutrients in the soil. These key resources are not distributed equally through the soil so plants therefore have to send their roots towards the best available sources of water and nutrients. If plants couldn’t flexibly adapt to changing conditions in their environments, they would struggle to thrive …

The new agricultural bill: soils, sustainability and farming

It may have already left your news feed, but a few weeks ago a new agricultural bill was presented in parliament. We spoke to some of our local soil and plant scientists, Prof Sacha Mooney, President of the British Society of Soil Science, and Prof Malcolm Bennett, and Prof David Salt on what the new …

Doing science in the field: stories from our Colombian cocoa project

Dr Christopher Moore and Dr David Gopaulchan travelled to Colombia together in May 2019 to carry out scientific sampling of the cocoa fermentation process on different farms. David recently travelled back to Colombia for the second harvest, to conduct further sampling, in November and December 2019. We spoke to David and Chris about the experiences, …

The importance of zinc in cereal crops: An interview with Veronica Guwela

Veronica Guwela is a UoN-Rothamsted PhD student recipient. Their project is titled: ‘High zinc wheat for sub-Saharan Africa’ and they are supervised by Prof Julie King (UoN), Dr Malcolm Hawkesford (RRes), Prof Martin Broadley (UoN) and Prof Moses Maliro (LUANAR) . Why did you decide to do a PhD? What were you doing before? I decided …