I currently manage the High Resolution Metabolomics Laboratory and am responsible for oversight of Enabling Technologies within IBERS including core facilities for Metabolomics, Next Generation Sequencing, Plant Phenomics and Bioinformatics.
From a technology perspective I am interested in the development of generic, high throughput phenotyping methodologies, based on global metabolite analysis (metabolomics) for use in a range of fields. My lab is concentrating on metabolite fingerprinting & profiling using high resolution mass spectrometry techniques.
I have established a range of collaborations with laboratories interested in the application of metabolomics technology in food & nutrition research & in plant pathology. We have developed high throughput methods (metabolite fingerprinting, data representation & data analysis) for compositional analysis & comparison of food raw materials. Alongside clinical/veterinary institutions & industry partners, we are currently researching methods for determining dietary exposure & individual responses to diet constituents in humans & domesticated animals from blood & urine analysis.
From a fundamental research perspective my team has pioneered the development of Brachypodium distachyon as a new model system for plant functional genomics. Together with local & international collaborators we played a key role in collecting & characterizing Brachypodium distachyon germplasm in terms of karyotype, comparative genomics, tissue culture behavior, transformation efficiency & pathogen interactions.
Currently I am developing a metabolomics platform for both metabolite identification & high throughput phenotyping in grasses & cereals based on the Brachypodium metabolome. A practical application of this research focuses on a study of metabolic reprogramming in B. distachyon, rice & barley during the biotrophic phases of interaction with rice blast. In collaboration with Nick Talbot (Univ. Exeter, UK) this project extends to an analysis of metabolome changes in Magnaporthae grisae during epidermal cell penetration & colonization.
My research is supported by grants from the BBSRC, The Foods Standards Agency & Industry.