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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group 


Research overview 

My research focuses on understanding the signalling and developmental processes in plants that allow interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, that facilitate the capture of nutrients from the environment. My mission is to eradicate the need for inorganic fertilisers in agriculture, through the use of these beneficial microbial associations. We aim to achieve this through optimising the use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi that form associations with most crop plants and through the transfer of the nitrogen-fixing association to the many crop plants that lack this association. Greater use of these beneficial microbial associations in agriculture has much potential for enhancing the sustainability of agriculture in high and middle-income countries and providing sustainable productivity for farmers in low-income countries.  

School of Biological Sciences theme affiliations


Previous positions

2019-present Director, Crop Science Centre
2017-present Group Leader, Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University
2002-2017 Group leader, John Innes Centre, Norwich
1998-2002 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, Stanford University, California


1994-1998 PhD in Plant Biology, University of California, Berkeley
1990-1994 BA Plant Biology, University of East Anglia

Key publications


All publications


Awards and fellowships

  • Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Foreign member, National Academy Sciences, USA
  • Member, EMBO
  • Clarivate top 1% cited scientist, 2013-present
  • Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2012-present
  • Society of Experimental Biology President’s Medal, 2006
  • Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award,  2002
  • EMBO Young Investigator Award, 2005
Note I only accept Masters applications through the MPhil programme in Masters of Biological Sciences, Crop Sciences and not for the MSc.
Director of the Crop Science Centre
Russell R Geiger Professor of Crop Science
Professor Giles  Oldroyd

Contact Details

Email address: 
Crop Science Centre,
Lawrence Weaver Road,
01223 342200