Professional summary

Research Interests

My primary role is to research the extent and significance of intraspecific genetic variation in plants.

The purpose of my role is to address questions such as:

  • What is the evolutionary history of this species?
  • What is the genetic basis for key adaptive traits?
  • Are populations locally adapted?
  • Can we use genomic prediction to forecast trait values?


Brief CV

I have been working at UKCEH since 2008, and in this time I have developed a wide breadth of skills, knowledge and experience. 

I manage the Molecular Ecology labs at Edinburgh, with responsibility for generating and analysing sequence data. I induct, train and supervise students, staff and visitors using our facilities. I have contributed to numerous successful proposals (e.g. GAPII, PROTREE, GRIPP, newLEAF) through preparing budgets, designing experiments and background research. I also manage several existing budgets. I am leading a work package in the UKRI funded newLEAF Treescapes project.

I have comprehensive laboratory skills including: sample preparation, DNA and RNA extraction and quantification, PCR (and optimisation) and RFLP; agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; genotyping and analysis of microsatellites using an ABI3500 genetic analyser; development of microsatellite markers; preparation of samples for Sanger/high throughput sequencing; ploidy estimates using a flow cytometer; isolation, culturing and DNA extraction from fungal cultures and spore counting using haemocytometer. 

I have a wide range of analytical skills including: construction of contigs and alignments, sequence analysis including phylogenetic analysis, divergence estimates and submission of sequences to Genbank; transcriptome sequence analysis; analysis of associations between genetic and phenotypic data; development of genomic prediction models.

I also lead and assist a variety of fieldwork, including: leaf/seed/cambium sample collection; phenology, herbivory, growth and disease assessments; chlorophyll fluorescence measurements; pan trapping, sea bird observations, pollinator collections; plant identification; Dothistroma septosporum identification.


PhD, Phenotypic and genetic variation in the Dothistroma-Pinus pathosystem: University of Edinburgh (2016)

BSc, Biology (with Industrial Experience): University of Manchester (2007)

Selected publications