Dr Fiona Corke PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Assistant (PDRA) - EPPN

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Department of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

Postal address
Aberystwyth University
Edward Llwyd Building
Penglais
Aberystwyth
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Contact
Phone: 01970 823229

Research interests

I am Smarthouse Manager in the National Plant Phenomics Centre.

**My main role involves coordinating the growing of plants for NPPC.
** A wide range of plants are grown in NPPC and the robotic nature of the glasshouse requires a level of experimental design not usually necessary. I advise customers of the facility on the logistics of their plant material both in terms of plant growth and collection of ground truth data. Glasshouse control via Priva control software is also my responsibility. NPPC attracts many visitors from diverse backgrounds and I frequently lead tours for groups.

I have a particular interest in the genetic and cellular basis of variation in seed and grain size.
My initial project at IBERS involved characterising Natural Accessions and Recombination Inbred Line populations of Brachypodium for variation in traits such as overall plant growth, grain size and harvest index. This project is in collaboration with the Sainsbury Lab (Norwich) has allowed traits of interest to be scored against a genetic map for QTL analysis. Brachypodium was used for this study because of its relatedness to other agronomically important cereals, its small genome (now sequenced), compact size and rapid life cycle. I am still involved in the Brachypodium research programme through international collaborative projects. 

Profile

Prior to joining IBERS I had been at the John Innes Centre, Norwich for 26 years. My PhD thesis was on pea embryo development, but subsequently I have worked in several groups on a wide range of topics related to plant growth and development. I have been involved in the isolation and characterisation of many Arabidopsis mutants, including mutants with altered response to sugars, cell wall defects, and altered organ size. My areas of expertise include cell biology, molecular biology and plant transformation.

I am a STEM ambassador and have continued to undertake diverse outreach activities since joining IBERS, focusing particularly on work with young people. I have been part of a small team involved in preparing an exhibit for the BBSRC Great British Bioscience Festival,  entitled 'Grasses for the future, food, energy and environment'.

I am a fully trained First Aider.My current role is Smarthouse Manager in Plant Phenomics Centre. This includes helping customers plan and schedule their experiments, coordinating plant growing, collection of manually collected data and monitoring glasshouse environment via specialist software, Giving informal tours of Phenomics is an important part of the job and includes polititians, farmers, industrialists, Young Farmers, students, the general public and school groups, and is a chance to showcase the work we are doing to make crop plants more climate resilient.

Additional information

Although the BBSRC School Regional Champion scheme has formally finished, I still support specific outreach events with particular emphasis on Young Farmers Clubs and Welsh schools offering BTEC Agriculture courses. Public engagement events I have delivered include International Fascination of Plants, British Science festival and participating in the departmental marquee at the Royal Welsh Show.

Responsibilities

Post-doctoral researcher in John Doonan's group

Responsibilities

I am Smarthouse manager in the Phenomics glasshouse. This job includes monitoring and controlling the glasshouse conditions (including liaseing with Estates & contractors for repairs). The main part of my job is planning and coordinating the execution of experiments. |I manage a team of staff, students and visiting workers.

 

Teaching

I don't formally undertake teaching but I attend conferences and give informal tours of NPPC to visitors. I have been interviewed for both radio and television about the relevance of our work to climate change.