Eric Ober is a group leader in crop physiology within the Genetics and Breeding Department at NIAB.
His research focuses on improving crop yields and yield stability through increased understanding of the plant traits that contribute to yield formation, drought tolerance and the efficient use of water.
Research is primarily funded by government and the agricultural industry, and work is done in close collaboration with commercial plant breeders. Emphasis is placed on translating fundamental understanding of plant biology into practical field-scale screening methods, and identifying superior germplasm using advanced phenomics and phenotyping methods. Two current projects are testing ways to improve root system architecture and photosynthetic responses to the environment.
Prior to joining NIAB, he led the Crop Productivity Group at Rothamsted Research and Broom’s Barn, working predominantly on sugar beet and wheat. He was a postdoctorate fellow at the University of Missouri-Columbia (USA), working on the role of ABA in regulating maize root growth maintenance, osmotic adjustment, and signalling changes in rhizosphere water availability at the cell membrane level. Root tissue O2 relations were also studied by developing an O2 microsensor. He did his PhD at Cornell University (USA) investigating the effect of drought on the hormonal regulation (abscisic acid and cytokinins) of maize endosperm development and cell division, kernel growth, and genes for carbohydrate metabolism and storage proteins.