Crop Science Centre - Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Lauren Eddie

Lauren Eddie


I am a PhD student in Giles Oldroyd's group, studying virus-induced gene editing in potato with the aim to use this tool to dissect plant-microbe symbioses, in particular with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. 

I did my undergraduate integrated masters degree in Biology at the University of Oxford, working in the van der Hoorn lab on plant proteases involved in immunity to bacterial and oomycete pathogens.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Saskia Birch

Saskia Birch


Originally from Dundee, Scotland, I did my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Clearly desiring flatter pastures, I travelled down from the hills of Scotland to do a PhD in the lab of Dr Jeongmin Choi. My project is investigating how regulation of phosphate homeostasis in rice impacts the level of root colonisation by Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Beth Molloy

Beth Molloy


Many of the most destructive plant-parasitic nematode (PPN) species form intimate biotrophic associations with plant roots by secreting effector proteins into host cells. These effectors manipulate endogenous plant processes in order to modify host immunity and development. This leads to the production of a unique organ from which the nematode draws nutrition for the remainder of its life cycle.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Abi Brock

Abi Brock


I am PhD student working with both the Plant Nutrient and Capture Group at the Crop Science Centre and the Plant Transformation team at NIAB. My research is based on improving nutrient use efficiency of cereal crops, focusing on the role of plant hormones, including Brassinosteroids, in direct and symbiotic nutrient uptake. I received my BSc in Natural Sciences from Durham University, before receiving my MSc from the University of Amsterdam in Biological Sciences - Green Life Sciences. Between my masters and my PhD I worked in the crop protection industry.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Caroline Bournaud

Caroline Bournaud


Caroline Bournaud holds a master's degree in Functional Biology in Plants and PhD in Microbiology and Parasitology in 2012 from the University of Montpellier (France). She was awarded a PhD grant from CIRAD research center (Montpellier, France) to study the biodiversity and symbiotic affinity of rhizobia associated with Brazilian legume tree species. After completing her PhD, she received a mobility postdoctoral grant "Science without Borders" from 2013 to 2017 to conduct her research at Embrapa (Brasilia, Brazil).

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Olaf Kranse

Olaf Kranse


I’m a PhD student working in Sebastian Eves-van den Akker's group working on plant parasitic nematodes. Largely our understanding of nematode parasitism is held back by the lack of tools to study them (both molecular and high throughput). My project aims to build the solutions to allow us to study plant-plant parasitic nematode interaction more efficiently and in more detail, and how to use that knowledge to build resistance against this pest.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Unnati Sonawala

Unnati Sonawala


I am broadly interested in plant-microbe interactions, genetics, and evolution. After completing my MSc in Food Security from the University of Warwick, I worked on my PhD at Virginia Tech (USA) wherein I studied how oomycete plant pathogens acquire nitrogen from their host using the model pathosystem of Arabidopsis and its downy mildew pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. I am now using genomics to study a hyper-variable effector family in the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida to further understand their function and how they contribute to nematode parasitism.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Isabella Liao

Isabella Liao


I'm an exchange student from the Netherlands. I'm 22 years old and I'm in my last year of college. I will be working as an intern at the Crop Science Centre for 10 months. There are many different reasons why I choose to do my internship abroad. One of the reasons is for my personal development, widen my knowledge and become independent. It also gives me the chance to work on my self-confidence and to get to know the English culture better. I hope to get to work with different people and see things from different perspectives.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Shawna Rowe

Shawna Rowe


Originally from the Missouri Ozarks in the US, I received a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri. I then received a PhD in Plant Biology from Michigan State University under the guidance of Dr. Yair Shachar-Hill. My research was focused on the regulation of resource exchange between hosts plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). In 2022, I joined Dr Jeongmin Choi's research group as a PostDoc at the Crop Science Centre where I will continue to work on AMF with of focus on nutrient signaling.

Publications

Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Jeni Sawford

Jeni Sawford


I have worked for the University of Cambridge in various colleges for fifteen years. I have also worked as a primary school teacher for five years.

Publications

Sustainable food production for everyone

The Crop Science Centre is a coalition between the University of Cambridge, Department of Plant Sciences, and NIAB. This coalition focuses on translational research in crops with real-world impact. We combine the diverse skills and expertise of the University and NIAB, providing an environment for research excellence with the capability to apply discoveries to crop improvement in the field.

Our research is interdisciplinary and of global relevance. We strive to improve both staple crops such as maize, wheat and rice, but also the specific crops of relevance to small-holder farmers, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Centre provides leadership in crop sciences, with a creative and dynamic research culture, motivated by improvement of agriculture for the betterment of society.

Our mission

At the Crop Science Centre, we are generating crop plants that deliver sufficient food for everyone in a sustainable way

  • We deliver agricultural impact, using excellence in research
  • We strive for sustainability, reducing agricultural reliance on chemical inputs
  • We foster equality, valuing all members of our research community
  • We believe in equity, ensuring even the world’s poorest farmers can grow enough food

Years of research has provided a deep understanding of how plants function, creating opportunities to transform the way we produce our food.  I am motivated to improve the sustainability and the equity of food production worldwide

Professor Giles Oldroyd,
CSC Director

Professor Giles Oldroyd

“At the Crop Science Centre we have the scientific breadth and track record to rapidly respond to one of the grand challenges of our time: growing enough nutritious food for an increasing population while reducing inputs and green house emissions.”

Professor Mario Caccamo,
CEO and Director of NIAB

Professor Mario Caccamo

“We envisage that new CSC crop technologies will enable higher crop yields and lower environmental impact for crop-based food production – as well as contributing to improved dietary health.”

Sir David Baulcombe,
Royal Society Professor

Sir David Baulcombe