Dr Helen Ougham


Dr Helen Ougham

Emeritus Reader

Contact Details


Helen Ougham has a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Aberystwyth. She carried out research in plant science and crop bioinformatics for over 25 years at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research and Aberystwyth University, and taught regularly on graduate courses in genetics and genomics at the University of Birmingham and in crop science at the IAMZ, Zaragoza. She was a member of BBSRC's Genes & Developmental Biology Committee and Tools & Resources Strategy Panel. Although nominally 'retired', she is still actively involved in scientific research, teaching on IBERS modules, writing, reviewing and editing. She is a co-editor of New Phytologist and an Honorary Research Fellow at East Malling Research. With Russ Jones, Howard (Sid) Thomas and Sue Waaland, Helen is author of the textbook The Molecular Life of Plants. She has been an organiser of Aberystwyth Science Cafe since it was launched in 2005.


Plant growth and development, particularly leaf senescence. Evolution and significance of autumn colours. Use of imaging in plant and agricultural science. Applications of bioinformatics and modelling in crop science. Cross-disciplinary research. Communicating science to non-specialists. Science through the medium of Welsh.


Davey, C, Ougham, HJ, Millar, A, Thomas, H, Tindal, C & Muetzelfeldt, R 2009, 'Making crop and plant mathematical models easily accessible to the plant science and systems biology communities'.
Ougham, HJ, Hortensteiner, S, Armstead, IP, Donnison, IS, King, IP, Thomas, H & Mur, LAJ 2008, 'The control of chlorophyll catabolism and the status of yellowing as a biomarker of leaf senescence' Plant Biology, vol 10, no. S1, pp. 4-14. DOI: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.2008.00081.x
Gay, AP, Thomas, H, Roca, M, James, CL, Taylor, J, Rowland, JJ & Ougham, HJ 2008, 'Nondestructive analysis of senescence in mesophyll cells by spectral resolution of protein synthesis-dependent pigment metabolism' New Phytologist, vol 179, no. 3, pp. 663-674. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02412.x
Thomas, H, Ougham, HJ & Archetti, M 2008, 'The adaptive value of leaf colour' New Phytologist, vol 179, pp. 9-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02505.x
Mur, LAJ, Kenton, P, Lloyd, AJ, Ougham, HJ & Prats, E 2007, 'The hypersensitive response; the centenary is upon us but how much do we know?' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 59, no. 3, pp. 501-520. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erm239
Vargas-Suarez, M, Lopez-Delgado, H, Trevilla-Garcia, C, Zavaleta-Mancera, HA, Loza-Tavera, H, Ougham, HJ & Mora-Herrera, ME 2007, 'Cytokinin promotes catalase and ascorbate peroxidase activities and preserves the chloroplast integrity during dark-senescence' Journal of Plant Physiology, vol 164, no. 12, pp. 1572-1582. DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2007.02.003
Roberts, LA, Thorogood, D, King, IP, Goodacre, R, Ougham, HJ, Reader, SM & Ellis, DI 2007, 'From phenotype to genotype: whole tissue profiling for plant breeding' Metabolomics, vol 3, no. 4, pp. 489-501. DOI: 10.1007/s11306-007-0062-6
Armstead, IP, Huang, LS, King, J, Ougham, HJ, Thomas, H & King, IP 2007, 'Rice pseudomolecule-anchored cross-species DNA sequence alignments indicate regional genomic variation in expressed sequence conservation' BMC Genomics, vol 8, no. 283, 16. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-8-283
Mur, L, Mondhe, M, Papp, I, Holton, N, Hoertensteiner, S, Kingston-Smith, A, Thomas, H & Ougham, H 2007, 'Throwing new light on the hypersensitive response' Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, vol 146, no. 4, C2.9. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2007.01.445
Donnison, IS, Thomas, H, Armstead, IP, Ougham, HJ, Howarth, CJ & Galyuon, IKA 2007, The genetic control of senescence revealed by mapping quantitative trait loci. in S Gan (ed.), Annual Plant Reviews: Senescence Processes in Plants. vol. 26, Wiley, pp. 171-201.
Donnison, I, Gay, A, Thomas, H, Edwards, KJ, Edwards, D, Evans, C, Thomas, A & Ougham, H 2007, 'Modification of nitrogen remobilisation, grain fill and leaf senescence in maize (Zea mays L.) by transposon insertional mutagenensis in a protease gene' New Phytologist, vol 173, no. 3, pp. 481-494. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01928.x
Armstead, IP, Donnison, IS, Aubry, S, Harper, JA, Hörtensteiner, S, James, CL, Mani, J, Moffet, M, Ougham, HJ, Roberts, LA, Thomas, AM, Weeden, N, Thomas, S & King, IP 2007, 'Cross-species identification of Mendel's/locus' Science, vol 315, no. 5808, pp. 73. DOI: 10.1126/science.1132912
Armstead, IP, Donnison, IS, Aubry, S, Harper, JA, Hortensteiner, S, James, CL, Mani, J, Moffet, M, Ougham, HJ, Roberts, LA, Thomas, AM, Weeden, N, Thomas, S & King, IP 2006, 'From crop to model to crop: identifying the genetic basis of the staygreen mutation in the Lolium/Festuca forage and amenity grasses' New Phytologist, vol 172, no. 4, pp. 592-597. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01922.x
Ougham, HJ, Tomos, AD & Farrell, AD 2006, 'The effect of gibberellic acid on the response of leaf extension to low temperature' Plant, Cell and Environment, pp. 1329-1337.
Clare, AJ, Karwath, A, Ougham, HJ & King, RD 2006, 'Functional bioinformatics for Arabidopsis thaliana' Bioinformatics, vol 22, no. 9, pp. 1130-1136. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btl051
Ougham, HJ, Donnison, IS, Taylor, J, Vozel, B, Chehdi, K, Gay, AP, Wagstaff, C, Stead, AD, Cariou, C & Rogers, HJ 2006, 'Hyperspectral imaging in plant science: some case studies of various stresses on different species and at different scales under laboratory and natural lighting conditions'. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2006.01.053
Thomas, AM, Thomas, H, Armstead, IP, King, IP, Harper, JA, Moore, BJ, Huang, LS, Fentem, PA, Ougham, HJ, Jones, RN, Jones, TAH, Roberts, LA, King, J & Donnison, IS 2005, 'Molecular tagging of a senescence gene by introgression mapping of a stay-green mutation from Festuca pratensis' New Phytologist, vol 165, no. 3, pp. 801-806. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01269.x
Ougham, HJ, Thomas, H, Morris, P & Schatten, GP (ed.) 2005, 'The colour of autumn leaves as symptoms of cellular recycling and defences against environmental stresses' Current Topics in Developmental Biology, vol 66, pp. 135-160. DOI: 10.1016/S0070-2153(05)66004-8
Thomas, ID, Ougham, HJ, Roberts, LA, Peltier, D & Humphreys, MO (ed.) 2005, 'Databases for managing genetic resources collections and mapping populations of forage and related species'.
King, IP, King, J, Armstead, IP, Harper, JA, Roberts, LA, Thomas, H, Ougham, HJ, Jones, RN, Thomas, AM, Moore, BJ & Humphreys, MO (ed.) 2005, 'Introgression mapping in the grasses' Paper presented at The 4th international symposium on the molecular breeding of forage and turf, a satellite workshop of the XXth International Grassland Congress, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2005 - 2005, pp. 31-41.
Taylor, J, Moore, BJ, Rowland, JJ, Thomas, H & Ougham, HJ 2005, Discriminating stay-green grasses using hyperspectral imaging and chemometrics. in MO Humphreys (ed.), Molecular breeding for the genetic improvement of forage crops and turf. Wageningen Academic Publishers, pp. 120.
Roca, M, James, CL, Pruzinská, A, Hörtensteiner, S, Thomas, H & Ougham, HJ 2004, 'Analysis of the chlorophyll catabolism pathway in leaves of an introgression senescence mutant of Lolium temulentum' Phytochemistry, vol 65, no. 9, pp. 1231-1238. DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2004.03.022
Ougham, HJ & Huang, LS 2004, 'Bioinformatics: bringing data to a usable form for breeders' Plant Breeding, pp. 18-22.
Ougham, HJ, Hortensteiner, S, Roca, M, Thomas, H, James, CL & Dufossel, L (ed.) 2004, 'Chlorophylls and their breakdown in green plant tissues: genetic and environmental control' pp. 8-10.
Gay, A, Smith, EL, Kingston-Smith, A, Thorogood, D, Roca, M, Ougham, H, Thomas, H, Evans, C, Davies, T & Moss, L 2004, Photoinhibition and resistance to winter damage in stay-green amenity grasses. in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A. vol. 137, S170, Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) Meeting, Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2004.
Dewhurst, RJ, Scollan, ND, Lee, MRF, Ougham, HJ & Humphreys, MO 2003, 'Forage breeding and management to increase the beneficial fatty acid content of ruminant products' Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, vol 62, no. 2, pp. 329-336. DOI: 10.1079/PNS2003241
Wagstaff, C, Thomas, H, Ougham, HJ & Stead, AJ 2003, 'Defining senescence and death.' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 54, no. 385, pp. 1127-1132. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erg133
Ougham, H & Huang, L 2003, 'Update of ILGI and other Lolium data in the forage grass genome database (FOGGDB)' Abstract Plant & Animal Genomes XI Conference, California, United States of America, 2003 - 2003, pp. "209.
Ougham, H, Gay, A, Donnison, I, Thomas, H, Evans, C & Rowlands, J 2003, 'Hyperspectral imaging and machine learning as a no-invasive screening tool to determine crop maturity, nutritional status and stress' DEFRA Arable Crop Physiology and Technology Workshop, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2003 - 2003, pp. AR09.
Ougham, H, Gay, A, Donnison, I, Thomas, H, Evans, C & Rowlands, J 2003, 'Hyperspectral imaging and machine learning as a non-invasive screening tool to determine crop maturity, nutritional status and stress' DEFRA Arable Crop Physiology and Technology Workshop, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2003 - 2003, .
Fu, X, Richards, DE, Ait-Ali, T, Hynes, LW, Ougham, HJ, Peng, J & Harberd, NP 2002, 'Gibberellin-mediated proteasome-dependent degradation of the barley DELLA protein SLN1 repressor' Plant Cell, vol 14, no. 12, pp. 3191-3200. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.006197
Ougham, HJ, Canter, PH, Donnison, IS, Thomas, H, Lea, PJ (ed.), Morot-Gaudry, JF (ed.) & Hirel, B (ed.) 2002, 'What stay-green mutants tell us about nitrogen remobilization in leaf senescence' Journal of Experimental Botany, pp. 801-808.
Gay, A, Donnison, I, Taylor, J, Thomas, H & Ougham, H 2002, 'Hyperspectral imaging as a non-invasive tool to determine crop maturity, nutritional status and stress' 2002 Conference on Applications of Remote Sensing in Agriculture, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2002 - 2002, .
Armstrong, GA, Frick, GA, Thomas, AM, Thomas, BJ & Ougham, HJ 2001, 'Both light-dependent protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase A and protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase B are down-regulated in the slender mutant of barley' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 52, no. 360, pp. 1447-1454. DOI: 10.1093/jexbot/52.360.1447
Thomas, H, Ougham, HJ & Hortensteiner, S 2001, 'Recent advances in the cell biology of chlorophyll catabolism' Advances in Botanical Research, vol 35, pp. 1-52. DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2296(01)35003-6
Langdon, T, Seago, CM, Jones, RN, Ougham, H, Thomas, H, Forster, JW & Jenkins, G 2000, 'De Novo Evolution of Satellite DNA on the Rye B Chromosome' Genetics, vol 154, no. 2, pp. 869-884.
Ougham, HJ, Latipova, G & Valentine, J 1996, 'Morphological and biochemical characterization of spikelet development in naked oats (Avena sativa)' New Phytologist, vol 134, no. 1, pp. 5-12. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1996.tb01141.x
Ougham, H, Thomas, AM, Thomas, BJ, Roberts, PC, Mutinda, C, Hayward, MD & Dalton, S 1992, 'Leaf development in Lolium temulentum: characterization of a slow-to-green mutant' New Phytologist, vol 122, no. 2, pp. 261-272. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1992.tb04230.x
Ougham, H & Howarth, C 1988, Temperature shock proteins in plants. in SP Long & FI Woodward (eds), Plant and Temperature. vol. 42, Society for Experimental Biology, Society for Experimental Biology, pp. 259-280.
Hitch, T, Thomas, BJ, Friedersdorff, JCA, Ougham, H & Creevey, C 2018, 'Deep sequence analysis reveals the ovine rumen as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes' Environmental Pollution, vol 235, pp. 571-575. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.12.067
Thomas, H & Ougham, H 2017, Senescence and crop performance. in VO Sadras & D Calderini (eds), Crop Physiology: Application for Genetic Improvement and Agronomy. Academic International Press, pp. 223-250.
Thomas, H & Ougham, H 2017, 'On plant growth and form' New Phytologist, vol 216, no. 2, pp. 337-338. DOI: 10.1111/nph.14807
Thomas, H & Ougham, H 2016, 'Introduction to a Virtual Issue on plant senescence' New Phytologist, vol 212, no. 3, pp. 531-536. DOI: 10.1111/nph.14248
Thomas, H, Ougham, H, Mur, L & Jansson, S 2015, Senescence and programmed cell death. in BB Buchanan, W Gruissem & RL Jones (eds), Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. Wiley, pp. 925-982.
Ougham, HJ & Thomas, ID 2014, Germplasm databases and informatics. in M Jackson, BV Ford-Lloyd & ML Parry (eds), Plant Genetic Resources and Climate Change.. vol. 4, CABI Climate Change Series, CABI Publishing, pp. 151-165.
Chew, YH, Wenden, B, Flis, A, Mengin, V, Taylor, J, Davey, CL, Tindal, C, Thomas, H, Ougham, HJ, De Reffye, P, Stitt, M, Williams, M, Muetzelfeldt, R, Halliday, KJ & Millar, AJ 2014, 'Multiscale digital Arabidopsis predicts individual organ and whole-organism growth' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 111, no. 39, pp. E4127-E4136. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410238111
Thomas, H & Ougham, HJ 2014, 'The stay-green trait' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 65, pp. 3889-3900. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/eru037
Armstead, I, King, J, Huang, L, Ougham, H, Kudrna, D & King, I 2011, 'Developing a physical map of the Lolium perenne genome based on High-Information Content BAC Fingerprinting and BAC-end sequencing' 1st Festulolium Working Group Workship, Eucarpia and Fodder Crops and Amenity Section, Poznan, Poland, 2010 - 2010, pp. 32.
Millar, AJ, Tindau, C, beaton, M, Davey, C, Ougham, H, Muetzelfeldt, R, Pohilko, A, Van Ooijen, G, Troein, C, Dixon, L, Corellou, F, Bouget, FY, Halford, N (ed.) & Semenov, M (ed.) 2011, 'Linking models in the PlaSMo portal and modelling the biological clock' Paper presented at Systems approaches to crop improvement. 14-15 April, Harpenden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2011 - 2011, pp. pp77-78.
Lee, MRF, Theobald, VJ, Ougham, HJ, Veberg Dahl, A, Lundby, F, Scollan, ND & Wold, J-P 2010, 'Natural faecal fluorophores and the potential of chlorophyll based markers to optimise fluorescence as a real-time solution for the detection of faecal contamination on carcasses' Meat Science, vol 86, no. 4, pp. 966-975. DOI: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2010.08.002
Mur, LAJ, Aubry, S, Mondhe, M, Kingston-smith, A, Gallagher, J, Timms-taravella, E, James, C, Papp, I, Hörtensteiner, S, Thomas, H & Ougham, H 2010, 'Accumulation of chlorophyll catabolites photosensitizes the hypersensitive response elicited by Pseudomonas syringae in Arabidopsis' New Phytologist, vol 188, no. 1, pp. 161-174. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03377.x
Armstead, IP, Huang, LS, Ravagnani, A, Robson, PR & Ougham, HJ 2009, 'Bioinformatics in the orphan crops' Briefings in Bioinformatics, vol 10, no. 6, pp. 645-653. DOI: 10.1093/bib/bbp036
Jones, RN, Ougham, HJ, Thomas, H & Pasakinskiene, IS 2009, 'Markers and mapping revisited: finding your gene' New Phytologist, vol 183, no. 4, pp. 935-966. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02933.x
Thomas, H, Huang, L, Young, M & Ougham, HJ 2009, 'Evolution of plant senescence' BMC Evolutionary Biology, vol 9, no. 163, 163. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-163
Davey, C, Ougham, HJ, Millar, A, Thomas, H, Tindal, C & Muetzelfeldt, R 2009, PlasMo: Making existing plant and crop mathematical models available to plant systems biologist. in Aspects 93: Integrated Agricultural Systems. pp. S225-S226, Association of Applied Biologists Conference on Integrated Agricultural Systems: Methodologies, Modelling and Measuring, Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2009.
Ougham, HJ, Millar, A, Muetzelfeldt, R, Tindal, C, Thomas, H & Davey, C 2009, 'PlaSMo: Making existing plant and crop mathematical models available to plant systems biologists' Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, pp. 225-. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.04.562
Archetti, M, Doring, TF, Hagen, SB, Hughes, NM, Leather, SR, Lee, DW, Lev-Yadun, S, Manetas, Y, Ougham, HJ, Schaberg, PG & Thomas, H 2009, 'Response to Sinkkonen: Ultraviolet reflectance in autumn leaves and the un-naming of colours' Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol 24, no. 5, pp. 237-238. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.01.007
Lee, M, Theodorou, M, Ougham, H & Thomas, H 2009, Faecal Markers - Markers developed to optimise visualisation of faecal contamination on animal carcasses in the abattoir, Patent No. WO2010103261 A2.
Doring, TF, Lev-Yadun, S, Ougham, HJ, Leather, SR, Schaberg, PG, Archetti, M, Manetas, Y, Thomas, H, Lee, DW, Hagen, SB & Hughes, NM 2009, 'Unravelling the evolution of autumn colours: an interdisciplinary approach' Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol 24, no. 3, pp. 166-173. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.10.006