Hi, I’m an independent research consultant. I offer expertise in Plant breeding, Tree breeding, Plant physiology and Data Management.

I have worked with crop development using different approaches depending on the crop.

For my Ph.D., I worked on wheat, an established, well-studied annual crop. I screened and field-tested 1000s of individuals for traits induced by mutagenesis, x–ray and tissue culture somaclonal variation.

After this I worked on the development of new crops. First, miscanthus an introduced grass species, from Asia to the UK, used as a biomass plant for renewable energy. In addition to studying the physiology and productivity of this introduced clone, I screened the Kew Gardens miscanthus collection for other potential genotypes so that the industry would not be reliant on just one clone.

Then, for the past number of years, I have been working on the early stages of tree improvement projects; the COFORD funded birch project since 2004 and on alder since 2005. The birch and alder tree improvement has involved evaluating native ‘wild’ populations and selecting individuals to establish an initial breeding population and subsequent progeny testing. Then the application of plant breeding statistical analysis to determine the best genotypes to keep in the program.
I enjoy working in crop improvement as it brings together plant genetics and plant physiology in an applied manner. The stakeholders depend on research results to provide confidence and expertise when investing in new crops. I have found interaction with the end-users a very enjoyable aspect to my work and get satisfaction from working in an industry driven research environment.

I also maintain an interest in plant genetic conservation, ecology and other current topics in plant science. I’m a contributor to the National Biodiversity Database.

My newest interest is in data management in research projects. More and more funding agencies are requiring data management plans and data sharing. Similar to Open Source publishing, Open Data is fast becoming the norm. While as a researcher one feels ownership of one’s data, I’ve become convinced that this is a welcome development.  I’ve seen filing cabinets of data being thrown away after personnel retire or move on. The long-term aspect of plant and tree breeding makes it especially relevant to these endeavors.  Safeguards are built in, for example anonymity in clinical studies or a delay in commercial sensitive data. The process uses opendata commons for proper accreditation.

Get sharing…good things will happen!


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