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New OpenPlant Programme Manager at the John Innes Centre in Norwich

Hi all,

Dieuwertje van der Does, OpenPlant Programme Manager

Dieuwertje van der Does, OpenPlant Programme Manager

My name is Dieuwertje van der Does and since February this year I am replacing Colette Matthewman as OpenPlant Programme Manager at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

Previously, I obtained my PhD in the Netherlands, and worked as postdoctoral fellow at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich to study the plant immune system. Before joining OpenPlant I spent two years at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, where I was Programme Lead for the 2Blades Foundation to aid the implementation of biotechnological solutions to crop diseases in East Africa. I am very excited to be able to contribute to the OpenPlant mission and accelerate the adoption of synthetic biology innovations in the real world. I am looking forward to our work together!

Prof Giles Oldroyd joins Sainsbury Lab to engineer nitrogen-fixing cereals

Prof Giles Oldroyd, an OpenPlant PI who directs a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation programme of research to engineer nitrogen-fixing cereals has recently joined the Sainsbury Lab at University Cambridge after 15 years at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

Prof. Giles Oldroyd is a leading investigator in plant-symbiotic interactions, with a particular focus on the signalling processes that allow the establishment of nitrogen-fixing and arbuscular mycorrhizal associations. His work has provided the genetic underpinnings to understand the symbiosis signalling pathway that allows rhizobial recognition in legumes and mycorrhizal associations in most plants. He explained his interests in an introductory post on the SLCU website:

"I spent 15 years working at the John Innes Centre, attempting to understand how plants perceive symbiotic microorganisms present in the rhizosphere. Having contributed to a detailed understanding of symbiosis signalling, I now want to understand how this signalling process activates the developmental changes in the root leading to the formation of a nodule and intracellular bacterial infection."

I am very excited by the prospect that some day this research could address one of the greatest limitations to agricultural productivity
— Prof Giles Oldroyd, SLCU

Prof Oldroyd now leads an international programme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the BBSRC that is attempting to engineer cereal recognition of rhizobial bacteria as the first step towards engineering nitrogen-fixing cereals.

"There remains much to be discovered before we are likely to be able to transfer nitrogen fixation to cereals. However, I am very excited by the prospect that some day this research could address one of the greatest limitations to agricultural productivity and I am particularly motivated by the fact that the beneficiaries of my work could be some of the poorest people on the planet."

The SynBio SRI welcomes the Oldroyd Lab to Cambridge and we look forward hearing more about their work in plant synthetic biology.

Prof Giles Oldroyd's homepage at SLCU >>