Norfolk is home to a cluster of internationally-renowned research organisations. They are working together to tackle the major challenges facing all of us in the 21st Century – the sustainability of our environment; our food supplies and healthy ageing. There are over 2500 scientists working to find realistic and practical solutions; who then have the infrastructure and support to translate these discoveries into commercially successful business.
Norwich is ranked 4th in the UK for the number of “most highly cited scientists” after London, Cambridge and Oxford and ahead of cities such as Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Nottingham and York – evidence of our outstanding international reputation
First close up images of Chalara fraxinea growing on the leaf stem of infected ash
The images were obtained using cryo scanning electron microscopy, where the sample is plunged into liquid nitrogen to freeze it and imaged using the electron microscope. The benefit of this method is that the sample is imaged in as close to its natural state as possible, providing the best quality 3D view of an organism. [...]
Q&A with Professor Mervyn Bibb
The enthusiasm of a school biology teacher helped fuel Professor Mervyn Bibb’s own curiosity. Today, as antibiotic resistance nears a crisis point, his work to understand how soil bacteria produce antibiotics is more vital than ever. What sparked your interest in science? I have always been interested in the “natural world”, but it was [...]
Q&A with Professor Mike Bevan
Receiving his first microscope hooked Professor Mike Bevan on biology. He has pioneered insights taken up by the crop biotech industry and with his current work aims to increase food production. Did an outdoorsy upbringing in New Zealand help spark your interest in science? I was brought up on a remote sheep farm [...]
Royal Society elects two new Fellows from the John Innes Centre
Two scientists from the John Innes Centre have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society, the premier scientific accolade in the UK. Their breakthroughs in fundamental research have pioneered advances in antibiotic discovery and in crop improvement from which we all benefit. Professor Mike Bevan pioneered methods for expressing foreign genes in plants that [...]
More food and greener farming with specialised transporters for plants
To grow more food more sustainably we need to make plants better at recruiting nutrients and water from soil to seed, according to 12 leading plant scientists writing in Nature. Essential to this are proteins called membrane transporters. Transporters also effectively carry high-energy molecules to where they are needed, help plants resist pathogens and [...]
Hidden map in growing buds shown to control leaf and petal shape
How petals get their shape Why do rose petals have rounded ends while their leaves are more pointed? In a study to be published in open access journal PLOS Biology, John Innes Centre and University of East Anglia scientists reveal that the shape of petals and leaves is controlled by a hidden map located within [...]
JIC training to help scientists fight disease-causing bacteria
Scientists from around the world will benefit from five days’ training at the John Innes Centre on bacteria that cause disease in economically important crops including maize, potato and apple. They will learn the complex techniques required to stitch together the genomes of phytoplasmas. Phytoplasmas are a class of bacteria able to modify their plant [...]
Beer brewed from Victorian barley variety
For the first time in nearly a century drinkers will be able to taste beer made from Chevallier, the classic heritage barley from the Victorian period. Old varieties are a rich source of new genes, and scientists at the John Innes Centre revived Chevallier from the institute’s Genetic Resources Unit as part of a barley [...]
Mining the botulinum genome
The toxin that causes botulism is the most potent that we know of. Eating an amount of toxin just 1000th the weight of a grain of salt can be fatal, which is why so much effort has been put into keeping Clostridium botulinum, which produces the toxin, out of our food. The Institute of Food [...]
Benchtop NMR breakthrough
In a world first, scientists from the Institute of Food Research (IFR) on the Norwich Research Park have been test-driving a prototype instrument that promises to revolutionise access to a potent laboratory analysis technique called NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance). The instrument was developed by Oxford Instruments, an award winning producer of scientific measuring equipment, who breathed [...]
The First UK-Ireland Food Business Innovation Summit
Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland in partnership with the Institute of Food Research are hosting the first UK-Ireland Food Business Innovation Summit on Wednesday 29th May, at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The summit is a one day conference bringing together leading UK and Irish food company executives and retailers, along with policy [...]
Contact killing of Salmonella Typhimurium by human faecal bacteria
Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, numbering more than the cells in the rest of our body, and these bacteria help us to digest our food, absorb nutrients and strengthen our immune system. This complex bacterial ecosystem, called the gut microbiota, also helps to prevent bad bacteria from colonising our bodies and making [...]
IFR scientists use the force to decode secrets of our gut
A new technique based on atomic force microscopy was developed at the Institute of Food Research to help ‘read’ information encoded in the gut lining. The lining of our gut is an important barrier between the outside world and our bodies. Laid out, the gut lining would cover the area of a football pitch. It [...]
Reliably higher levels of healthy compound in Beneforté broccoli
Field trials and genetic studies have shown that a new variety of broccoli reliably yields higher levels of a health-promoting compound. Broccoli contains a compound called glucoraphanin, which has been shown to promote health by maintaining cardiovascular health and a reduction in the risk of cancer. A long term breeding programme to increase glucoraphanin levels [...]
Highlights from the upcoming IFST Spring Conference
Securing the future supply of food is a major challenge facing the food industry. How can we ensure that the food chain continues to supply, safe healthy food to the consumer in a sustainable manner, as population grows and resources become scarcer? This is the focus of the IFST Spring Conference, being held jointly with the [...]
IFR at The Big Bang Fair
Many of the 65,000 visitors to The Big Bang Fair got a taste for network science recently as the Institute of Food Research and travelling arts emporium ME AND ER presented a representation of the global food network. Together, the scientists and artists put together a representation of the way different ingredients come together during [...]
Unravelling the genetic code of the Ash Dieback survivor “tree 35”.
Norwich, UK, Tue., 14 May 2013 - The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) scientists are addressing challenges in ash tree genomics as part of collaborative research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Defra. ...
TGAC new Scientific Advisory Board: a multidisciplinary set of key experts
Norwich, UK, 3rd May 2013 – Distinguished scientists from across the globe form the newly appointed Scientific Advisory Board of The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC). Dr. Ewan Birney of the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute will serve as Chair, and is...
TGAC hosted the Friends of John Innes evening on Tuesday 23rd April. More than 100 attendees from the general public, including farmers, breeders, retired scientists and prospective scientists attended. The theme for this evening was "Genebanks, more valuable than...
How fishy is the human genome?
Norwich, UK, Wednesday, 17 April 2013 – The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) is proud to have been part of the international effort led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to sequence and annotate the zebrafish genome. Dr Matt Clark,...
First sequenced Vietnamese rice genomes.
Norwich, UK, Hanoi, Vietnam Friday, 12 April 2013 - A collaboration of researchers from the UK and Vietnam has sequenced the genome of 36 lines of Vietnamese rice for the first time. ...
Metagenomics gone viral.
Norwich, UK, Monday, 8 April 2013 – The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) is proud to be part of a research collaboration that involves several research institutions across the globe with the objective to characterise the viruses encountered in ...
ELIXIR-UK/GOBLET Workshop: a summit of experts and joint efforts for sustainable and collaborative Bioinformatics Training.
Norwich, UK, Wednesday, 27 March 2013 – The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) was the host for more than fifty experts from the UK, rest of Europe and the world on Computing, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Training. The event funded by BBSRC,...
Sequencing Technologies now and in 25 years.
Norwich, UK, Friday, 22 March 2013 – The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) had the pleasure to host the ceremony marking the construction of the new Centrum building on Norwich Research Park. ...
Norwich gene hunters tackle crop diseases
Norwich scientists are on the trail of some of the most economically damaging organisms that infect crops worldwide. Their latest targets are the parasitic water fungus that causes powdery mildew and the water molds that cause late blight in potatoes and tomatoes and downy mildew in cruciferous vegetables and other crops.
GM trial to reduce agrochemicals
A field trial of GM potatoes is being planted this week to test whether genes from wild relatives can successfully protect commercial potato varieties from late blight, the disease that caused the Irish potato famine, without the need to spray fungicides.
Royal Society global food security report published
The Sainsbury Laboratory welcomes a Royal Society report calling for an investment of Â£2 billion into a research programme on global food security. The report published today (21 October 2009) says that the UK should lead international research efforts if we are to achieve the massive increase in food crop production that will be required by 2050 to meet global food demands without damaging the environment.
TSL scientists helped crack the code that bacteria use to manipulate agricultural crops
Sebastian Schornack, currently working with Sophien Kamoun at TSL, co-disovered the code which explains how bacterial effectors bind to specific host plant DNA sequences, manipulating host gene expression and leading to disease. This work is now published in Science.