Lab members have gone on to do amazing things:

Patrick Dickinsonpatrick_dickinson was a Gatsby PhD student. Patrick did his undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh. Patrick is working alongside Manoj and Claudia to identify mutants in temperature sensing through the HSP70::LUC screen. When he’s not in the lab, Patrick plays on the Darwin College Football team. Patrick has gone on to a postdoc in Julian Hibberd’s lab in the Dept of Plant Sciences.

Sandra Cortijosandra_cortijo is an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellow working on the temperature epigenome. Sandra did her PhD in the lab of Vincent Colot in Paris, where she studied the phenotypic effects of differentially methylated regions in Arabidopsis. Sandra is taking advantage of her expertise in genome-wide epigenetic analysis to address three related questions in Arabidopsis: (1) how does H2A.Z-nucleosome occupancy influence the temperature transcriptome? (2) How does the interplay between transcription factors and chromatin determine the temperature transcriptome? (3) What are the major classes of chromatin remodelling and modifying enzymes influencing the temperature transcriptome? These are big questions, but Sandra is collaborating with Anna and Yod to unravel these challenges. Outside of the lab Sandra is an amazing cook, and treats the lab to a lot of amazing vegan cakes and cookies! More details

Poppy Marriott did her PhD in Simon McQueen-Mason’s lab at the University of York where she carried out a genetic screen to identify brachypodium mutants with altered cell wall properties to make them more amenable to biofuel production. In the group, Poppy plays a key role as research coordinator and assistant, running the databases, doing high-throughput cloning projects and keeping everything organised. She's using her special green bat to knock us into shape!


Anna Brestovitsky is from Israel. Anna did her PhD and first postdoc at the Technion, working in the Kleinberger lab studying Adenovirus E4orf4 protein, and its role in chromatin remodelling. Anna, our biochemistry wizard, is a joint postdoc hosted by Daniela Rhodes at the MRC-LMB. Anna is also our punting champion. More details


Surge Biswas did undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. Surge got hooked on plants working in Jeff Dangl's lab studying microbial invasion and persistence in the root microbiome. Surge has joined our lab as an MPhil student on a Churchill Scholarship. He is applying machine learning techniques to integrate ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq data as a step towards predicting regulatory networks for temperature sensing in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Surge is now doing a PhD at Harvard Medical School

Manoj kumar2

Manoj Kumar joined us after his PhD in the lab of Arp Schnittger, where he studied CDKs, seed development and natural variation. Manoj joined Arp's lab in Cologne, and then moved to Strasbourg, so he decided he'd add an extra European country to his itinerary. Manoj is working on temperature sensing screens and a number of other projects! Manoj is now a senior researcher in Delhi.


Kajal Kanchan did her PhD at the University of Tuebingen studying bacterial signal transduction mechanisms. She then went on to be a Marie Postdoctoral Fellow in Hungary at the University of Debrecen. She is helping out in the Wigge lab doing super difficult cloning that no one else can do to express insoluble proteins in bacteria! Kajal is now a senior researcher in Delhi Kajal's Linkedin page


Claudia Martinho did her PhD in the lab of Elena Baena-Gonzalez at the IGC in Portugal. During her PhD, Claudia developed a neat protoplast system to assay the function of microRNAs in protoplasts. Here in Cambridge Claudia is identifying new genes involved in temperature perception from the HSP70::LUC mutant screen as well as understanding how signals through the day-night cycle are integrated into the warm temperature response. Claudia is now a postdoc in the group of Sascha Laubinger.


Varodom Charoensawan (known to his friends as Yod) is a visiting scholar from Thailand. Previously, Yod did his degree in Biochemical Engineering (UCL) and went on to take an MPhil in computational Biology in Cambridge. Yod did his PhD in Cambridge studying with Sarah Teichmann at the MRC-LMB. During this time, Yod became very interested in the interplay between transcription factors and nucleosomes, and how this determines the transcriptional outcome. Yod is using these skills to help many people in the lab, as well as doing a lot of his own research projects! In addition to writing code, Yod is active in the lab running experiments and growing plants! Outside the lab, Yod is an active sportsman, and big-time supporter of the Reds! Yod has returned to his position in Thailand


Alba Rodriguez is from Spain. She came initially for a 8 week internship in the summer of 2014, but liked it enough to want to stay on a bit longer! Alba helps the whole team with a lot of plant work and she’s also a big supporter of BarcaAlba's LinkedIn page


Konstantin Kerner is a Masters student at the University of Cologne. Previously he worked in Maarten Koornneef's Department in the Max Planck Institute for Crop Breeding. Konstantin is doing his 6 month Master's project with us mapping new genes in the temperature sensing pathway and analysing natural variation in the thermoresponsive pathway. As well as being a plant biologist and Linux fan, Konstantin is  a trained paramedic.


Raghd Rostom read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, and is now doing her Part III Systems Biology thesis project with us. She’s working with Yod, Sandra and David performing a computational analysis of the interaction between nucleosomes, transcription factors and RNA PolII in both plants and yeast! Raghd likes doing experiments, but she’s mainly writing code these days. Before joining our lab, she worked at the EBI mapping small molecule binding data to structural domains. Raghd is back at the EBI studying for a PhD.

Matt box

Matt Box was the first postdoc to start in the new lab in Cambridge. Before joining us, Matt worked with Caroline Dean at the JIC. Matt did his PhD with Beverley Glover in the Department of Plant Sciences, so he's a native to Cambridge! Matt is working on natural variation and adaptation to different climates and next-generation sequencing approaches. You can read more about his scientific interests here. Matt did another postdoc in the Donald Danforth Center before taking up a position in Oxford in Technology development.

Seong Jeon YooSeong studied for his PhD with Weigelworld alum Jihoon Ahn in Seoul. Seong has been working on the control of flowering and temperature perception. As part of his PhD, he studied the role of SVP in mediating temperature signals that control flowering in Arabidopsis. Seong is working with Manoj to isolate new mutants in the temperature perception pathways.

Seong is now a Patent Judge back in Korea

Nick PullenNick is a Ph.D student working jointly with the Richard Morris group and the Wigge Lab. Nick got his degree in Mathematics from UEA, and instead of becoming enormously wealthy in the City of London, he decided he'd much rather model how plants achieve sharp expression boundaries during development. Nick grew up on a real farm, so unlike most of the rest of us, he knows about real crops.

Nick is currently researching postdoc opportunities

Emma SedivyEmma sedivy is a native of Canada and Rhode Island. Emma is working with us for one year following her BS in Biology from Stanford, where she worked on phototropic cyanobacteria in Devaki Bhaya's lab in Carnegie. Emma is going to go on to graduate school at MIT in the fall of 2013, but she was keen to sample life and plants on this side of the pond. Emma's working on a proteomics project and is our super-organiser who gets everyone to do their lab jobs!

Emma is now a graduate student at the MIT


Yanniv Dorone is an ERASMUS student from ENS Lyon where he is doing his Masters. Before joining us, Yanniv worked in the Bomblies Laboratory studying meiosis in tetraploids. Yanniv is working with Manoj and Seong cloning temperature sensing mutants.

Yanniv is now a graduate student at Stanford University

Alan ItakuraAlan is our most globetrotting lab member. Originally from California, he studied for his BSc at Imperial College London and a Bioscience Masters in King Abdullah University of Science and Techology (KAUST). When not at the bench, Alan divides his time between LA and Japan. We all want his airmiles. Alan worked with Manoj isolating temperature-sensing mutants.

Alan is now a graduate student at Stanford University

Marc JonesMarc is originally from Wales, and studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge. Marc worked with Matt Box in the summer of 2012 studying natural variation in temperature perception pathways in the MAGIC lines. A self-confessed computer aficionado, Marc does plant phenotyping by day and coding by night.

Marc is now on the John Innes Centre Rotation PhD Programme

Nick GaridisNick is a Natural Sciences undergraduate who has worked with us in the summer of 2012 screening temperature sensing mutants. Before joining us, Nick worked in David Baulcombe’s lab identifying microRNA targets in Tomato


Scott Boden is from down under. Scott did his Ph.D at the University of Adelaide, in Jason Able’s lab, where he characterised the TaASY1 gene in breadwheat. Here at JIC, Scott is working with Monika and Silvia to establish Brachypodium as a system for understanding temperature perception. Outside of the lab, Scott plays Australian rules football. Scott has gone on to a senior research position at CSIRO

Scott is now deciding which group leader position he will take up!


Wiebke Apel came to us from Germany via California. Wiebke grew up in Switzerland and Germany and did her Ph.D at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Physiology, Golm, in the department of Ralph Bock. Wiebke worked with Enri on a new signaling pathway in development. Outside of the lab, Wiebke is a keen camper and birdwatcher. Wiebke has taken a postdoc position with Jonathan Jones

Wiebke is now a lab manager in Berlin


Sarah Collier is a native of Norfolk. Before joining the lab, Sarah did her PhD at JIC with Liam Dolan and Peter Shaw. Sarah was our research assistant, and so she kept us all organised! Sarah spends her spare time running a youth club for teenagers, playing dungeons and dragons and loves dancing. Sarah has gone on to a position in Simon Griffiths' group at JIC.


Charlotte Kirchhelle was a Masters student at the Technical University of Munich (TU Munchen), where she cut her teeth working with Kay Schneitz. Charlotte joined us for an accelerated internship of 6 months and took on monster large-scale projects to identify natural variation in the ambient temperature response as well as work out how HSF1 works. We might need more than 6 months...Outside of the lab Charlotte is an accomplished sculpture and painter. Charlotte also takes an active interest in politics, and a local party executive member for the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Charlotte secured a place on the highly competitive JIC International Rotation PhD Program. Well done!

Charlotte is now a PhD student at the University of Oxford


Andreas Magusin is a bioinformatician who did programming and computational biology with us. Andreas is from Sweden, but grew up in New Zealand, where he did a masters in applied mathematics. Andreas went on to work on wheat genomics and natural variation with Cristobal Uauy at JIC.

Andreas now works for the NHS


Silvia Alves is originally from Portugal and first came to the JIC as an Erasmus student to work with Wendy Harwood and then as a Marie Curie fellow with Philippe Vain. While helping Philippe improve Brachypodium transformation, she discovered the wonders of the UV microscope self-induced tan and she liked it so much that she decided to join our lab to set up developmental studies in Brachypodium. Silvia won an independent 4 year Ph.D scholarship from the Portuguese government; and although she likes Norwich, occasionally she needs to travel back to Lisboa to pamper her two precious cats.

Silvia went home to her native Portugal

Subhasis Samantasubhasis was a postdoc from India. Subhasis did his PhD at  International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi with Prof. Sudhir Kumar Sopory. During his PhD, he worked on a family of calcium binding transcriptional activators from rice and discovered a transcription factor which undergoes alternative splicing under stress. Subhasis was involved in cloning new genes involved in temperature perception.

Subhasis is working in India

Vinod Kumarvinod2 was the first postdoc to join the lab. Vinod comes from the University of Delhi, where he worked on polyamine metabolism in Solanum and Chlamydomonas. He then worked on the Agrobacterium virulence system. Vinod started his own group after working in the Wigge lab for 6 years.

Vinod is running his independent research programme at the JIC

Asif Khan Khattakasif2 is a joint PhD student with the Wigge lab and Alastair Grant at the UEA ENV school. Asif is from Peshawar, Pakistan and is here on a scholarship. Asif is using Paula Kover’s Arabidopsis thaliana MAGIC lines to isolate QTLs involved in temperature responses and growth. He is also interested in investigating the molecular/genetic basis of natural variation for growth related traits.

Asif is now a Professor at the University of Peshawar


Coralie Viollet-Djelassi was a Master student at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), at Lyon, France. Coralie  joined us in 2010 as part of the JIC Summer Research Training Programme for 8 weeks and was busy isolating new genes and analysing transcription factor binding at different temperatures. Outside of the lab, Coralie enjoys playing the piano and driving in the Renault 4L Trophy across the Moroccan desert. Coralie liked her summer so much she is going on to do a Ph.D.

Coralie is a graduate student working on HIV at the Wellcome Trust for Human Genetics, University of Oxford


Charlotte Miller is doing her MSc at the UEA on the Crop Improvement program. Charlotte has been identifying new mutations in components of the temperature sensing pathway with Vinod. Charlotte has enjoyed the project so much she is staying on at JIC to do a PhD with Ian Bancroft.

Charlotte Miller is now doing her postdoc with Michael Bevan, John Innes Centre


Monika Kavanova is from the Czech Republic. Monika earned her PhD studying mechanisms controlling cell division and elongation in leaf growth in perennial ryegrass at the Grassland Group of the Technical University of Munich. Monika received a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship to establish Brachypodium distachyon as a system for analysing growth dynamics of the leaf in response to temperature differences. When not analysing cyclins, Monika spends time looking after her new family arrival, Marie Clara. Monika is establishing her own group in the Department of Claus Schechheimer back at the TüM.


Enriqueta Alós was a postdoc from Valencia, Spain. Enri studied the genomics of citrus fruit ripening for her PhD in the lab of Manuel Talón Cubillo. Here in Norwich Enri bought herself a fast car, and she is learnt to drive on the left side of the road! In the lab Enri is worked on flowering time and plant architecture. Enri was awarded a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship. Enri is now back in her beloved Valencia working on citrus fruit.


Chris Richford studied Biology with Ecology at the UEA, before deciding that to get a grip on environmental science one needs a molecular understanding of biology. Chris  therefore worked with Vinod on a screen to identify genes for ambient temperature sensing as the research component of his MSc in Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement. Outside of the lab, Chris plays guitar for the progressive psychedelic rock group A Million O'Clock. In 2004 Chris caught Crocodiles in the Okavango delta, which he says was a great preparation for working in the Wigge lab. 


Doris Lucyshyn did her PhD in Gerhard Adam's lab at the University of Applied Life Sciences, Vienna. Doris studied molecular mechanisms of resistance of a fusarium mycotoxin in wheat. Doris worked on how cold temperatures are sensed by the plant and the regulatory pathways involved. Doris won a Schrödinger Prize Fellowship from the Austrian government. Doris enjoys the outdoors, but hates snow, so she enjoyed Norwich! Doris is now back in her native Vienna, and promises to make fellow labmembers a large cake if they visit!


Dorien Engelaender is from Germany, where she is studying to become a Research Assistant. Dorien helped us out in the summer of 2008 with hundreds of genotyping experiments and making lots of plasmids for the lab. Dorien liked the great summer weather and travelling around the UK before going back to college in the autumn.


Pauline Nouvellon is a Master’s degree student from the University of Rennes, France. Pauline helped Enri map a number of genes involved in flowering time and architecture over the summer as part of her Master’s training. When she’s not running huge gels, Pauline likes tap dancing and travelling. Pauline liked the JIC from her summer work enough to come back and join the JIC Rotation programme, and is currently working with Robert Sablowski for her Ph.D project on meristem regulation.


Renuka Kudva, comes originally from India. She was awarded a distinction for the work she carried out in our lab for her MSc in Plant Genetics and Crop improvement at the UEA. Renuka carried out a luciferase screen with Vinod looking for cold induced gene expression. She especially likes collecting M2 seeds! Renuka has gone on to study for her PhD at the Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine at the University of Freiburg.


Ruth Williams was our only endogenous person from Norfolk. When not driving around Norwich in her Mini, she helped us out in the lab, while doing her undergraduate studies at UEA. She loves her dog and beside that has a passion for plants and does everything from swimming and kickboxing to cycling in order to stay fit and obtain her black belt. Ruth planned to become a teacher but now, after realizing scientists are not as scary as they look, is studying for a Ph.D in Xenopus biology at the UEA.


Roda Niebergall was a Diploma student from the FU Berlin and worked for 2 months in the lab setting up lots of yeast protein interaction screens and promoter studies. She had a great time in the lab and came back to do her whole Diploma project with us in 2007-2008. She liked her free time in Norwich (Thanks to the labmembers and her lovely housemates.) She has gone on to study for her PhD with Cyril Zipfel in the Sainsbury lab.


Peter Ryden was an UEA MSc student in Bioinformatics working with the Wigge and Magusin groups on analysing temperature responsive gene expression patterns and doing cis-element analysis. Before studying bioinformatics, Peter studied the chemistry of plant cell walls and the mechanical properties of primary cell wall mutants in Arabidopsis. He received his PhD in this area from the Institute of Food Research in 1996. Peter is now back working at the IFR.


Luise Brand is a Diploma student from the University of Tübingen, who spent 6 weeks in the lab helping us to map a gene and analyse gene expression. Luise has also worked in Tübingen with Markus Schmid.


Tanja Weinand is now working for a Biotech company back in her native Germany. Tanja worked with us studying temperature sensitive mutants in Arabidopsis. Tanja spent a year down under mapping genes, and is fluent in Australian, but decided there was too much sunshine, so she found Norwich the perfect place. Tanja is a keen scuba-diver and enjoys playing team games with other lab members during breaks. Tanja worked in the lab of Markus Schmid of the MPI in the department of Detlef Weigel before coming to the JIC.



Joe Moore is a plant science undergraduate from Sheffield. He joined us as a Gatsby summer student to find out about plant work and lab life. Joe carried out great genetic modifier screens and even isolated novel mutants, all in 6 weeks! Joe is now cutting his way through the rainforestsjoined us as a Gatsby summer student to find out about plant work and lab life. Joe carried out great genetic modifier screens and even isolated novel mutants, all in 6 weeks! Joe is now cutting his way through the rainforests of Borneo. Watch out for those snakes!


Matt Hodges worked for a summer in our lab as a final year Biology undergraduate at Oxford. Enthused to work on plants by Jane Langdale, he worked for the summer of 2006 as a Gatsby summer student with us making many yeast constructs and helping with genetic screens. Matt went on to read for his Ph.D with Jane Langdale.


Andrew Beacham, another Oxford graduate (Biochemistry) worked with us as a summer student before going to Rothamsted to study for a PhD on fusarium in wheat as a CASE student with Syngena. Good luck Andrew!


Yiliang Ding also carried out a PhD rotation with us, before doing her Ph.D project on medicago in the lab of Giles Oldroyd. Yiliang took her BSc at Shanghai Jiaotong University and worked on TCP genes and cycloidia homologues at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where she developed a fascination for development and evolution. Out of the lab Yiliang enjoys photography and shooting hoops. Yiliang went on to a posdoc with Sarah Assman at the University of Pennsylvania. She misses JIC!

Yiliang is now an independent group leader at the John Innes Centre


Alex Graf worked with us during his rotation period before doing his PhD with Alison Smith, unravelling the intricacies of starch metabolism. Alex did some fantastic immunochemistry and protein work during his rotation with us. Alex spent a year in the Sainsbury lab with Ken Shirasu, and decided he liked Norwich so much he wanted to stay for the next four years! Before Norwich, Alex studied in Finland where he worked on functional proteomics of membrane bound complexes in synechocystis. Alex studied for his Diplom in Halle. Alex has since gone on to do a postdoc in Switzerland

Alex Graf is now a group leader at the Max Planck Institute in Golm.

© 2019, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University, Bateman St, CB2 1LR