Dr Helen Ougham PhD

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.



Thomas, H., Ougham, H. 2017. Senescence and crop performance. In V. O. Sadras., D. Calderini. (eds) Crop Physiology: Application for Genetic Improvement and Agronomy. Academic International Press pp. 223-250. Cadair


Thomas, H., Ougham, H. 2016. Introduction to a Virtual Issue on plant senescence. New Phytologist 212 (3) pp. 531-536. 10.1111/nph.14248 Cadair


Thomas, H., Ougham, H., Mur, L., Jansson, S. 2015. Senescence and programmed cell death. In B. B. Buchanan., W. Gruissem., R. L. Jones. (eds) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. Wiley pp. 925-982. Cadair


Ougham, H.J., Thomas, I.D. 2014. Germplasm databases and informatics. In M. Jackson., B. V. Ford-Lloyd., M. L. Parry. (eds) Plant Genetic Resources and Climate Change. CABI Climate Change Series CABI Publishing pp. 151-165. Other Cadair

Chew, Y.H., Wenden, B., Flis, A., Mengin, V., Taylor, J., Davey, C.L., Tindal, C., Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J., De Reffye, P., Stitt, M., Williams, M., Muetzelfeldt, R., Halliday, K.J., Millar, A.J. 2014. Multiscale digital Arabidopsis predicts individual organ and whole-organism growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 (39) pp. E4127-E4136. 10.1073/pnas.1410238111 Cadair

Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J. 2014. The stay-green trait. Journal of Experimental Botany 65 pp. 3889-3900. 10.1093/jxb/eru037 Cadair


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. Other

Millar, A.J., Tindau, C., beaton, M., Davey, C., Ougham, H., Muetzelfeldt, R., Pohilko, A., Van Ooijen, G., Troein, C., Dixon, L., Corellou, F., Bouget, F.-.Y.Halford, N., Semenov, M. 2011. Linking models in the PlaSMo portal and modelling the biological clock. Systems approaches to crop improvement. Rothamsted research, Harpende, UK, 14-15 April. Cadair


Lee, M.R.F., Theobald, V.J., Ougham, H.J., Veberg Dahl, A., Lundby, F., Scollan, N.D., Wold, J. 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 86 (4) pp. 966-975. 10.1016/j.meatsci.2010.08.002 Cadair

Mur, L.A.J., 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 188 (1) pp. 161-174. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03377.x Cadair


Armstead, I.P., Huang, L.S., Ravagnani, A., Robson, P.R., Ougham, H.J. 2009. Bioinformatics in the orphan crops. Briefings in Bioinformatics 10 (6) pp. 645-653. 10.1093/bib/bbp036 Cadair

Jones, R.N., Ougham, H.J., Thomas, H., Pasakinskiene, I.S. 2009. Markers and mapping revisited: finding your gene. New Phytologist 183 (4) pp. 935-966. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02933.x Cadair

Thomas, H., Huang, L., Young, M., Ougham, H.J. 2009. Evolution of plant senescence. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9 (163) 163 10.1186/1471-2148-9-163 Cadair Other

Davey, C., Ougham, H.J., Millar, A., Thomas, H., Tindal, C., Muetzelfeldt, R. 2009. PlasMo: Making existing plant and crop mathematical models available to plant systems biologist. Aspects 93: Integrated Agricultural Systems. Association of Applied Biologists Conference on Integrated Agricultural Systems: Methodologies, Modelling and Measuring. pp. S225-S226. Cadair

Ougham, H.J., 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-. 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.04.562 Cadair

Archetti, M., Doring, T.F., Hagen, S.B., Hughes, N.M., Leather, S.R., Lee, D.W., Lev-Yadun, S., Manetas, Y., Ougham, H.J., Schaberg, P.G., Thomas, H. 2009. Response to Sinkkonen: Ultraviolet reflectance in autumn leaves and the un-naming of colours. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24 (5) pp. 237-238. 10.1016/j.tree.2009.01.007 Cadair

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. Cadair

Doring, T.F., Lev-Yadun, S., Ougham, H.J., Leather, S.R., Schaberg, P.G., Archetti, M., Manetas, Y., Thomas, H., Lee, D.W., Hagen, S.B., Hughes, N.M. 2009. Unravelling the evolution of autumn colours: an interdisciplinary approach. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24 (3) pp. 166-173. 10.1016/j.tree.2008.10.006 Cadair

Davey, C., Ougham, H.J., 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. Cadair


Gay, A.P., Thomas, H., Roca, M., James, C.L., Taylor, J., Rowland, J.J., Ougham, H.J. 2008. Nondestructive analysis of senescence in mesophyll cells by spectral resolution of protein synthesis-dependent pigment metabolism. New Phytologist 179 (3) pp. 663-674. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02412.x Cadair Other

Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J., Archetti, M. 2008. The adaptive value of leaf colour. New Phytologist 179 pp. 9-13. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02505.x Cadair Other

Ougham, H.J., Hortensteiner, S., Armstead, I.P., Donnison, I.S., King, I.P., Thomas, H., Mur, L.A.J. 2008. The control of chlorophyll catabolism and the status of yellowing as a biomarker of leaf senescence. Plant Biology 10 (S1) pp. 4-14. 10.1111/j.1438-8677.2008.00081.x Cadair Other


Mur, L.A.J., Kenton, P., Lloyd, A.J., Ougham, H.J., Prats, E. 2007. The hypersensitive response; the centenary is upon us but how much do we know? Journal of Experimental Botany 59 (3) pp. 501-520. 10.1093/jxb/erm239 Cadair

Vargas-Suarez, M., Lopez-Delgado, H., Trevilla-Garcia, C., Zavaleta-Mancera, H.A., Loza-Tavera, H., Ougham, H.J., Mora-Herrera, M.E. 2007. Cytokinin promotes catalase and ascorbate peroxidase activities and preserves the chloroplast integrity during dark-senescence. Journal of Plant Physiology Biochemie und Physiologie der Pflanzen Zeitschrift für Pflanzenphysiologie 164 (12) pp. 1572-1582. 10.1016/j.jplph.2007.02.003 Cadair

Roberts, L.A., Thorogood, D., King, I.P., Goodacre, R., Ougham, H.J., Reader, S.M., Ellis, D.I. 2007. From phenotype to genotype: whole tissue profiling for plant breeding. Metabolomics 3 (4) pp. 489-501. 10.1007/s11306-007-0062-6 Cadair Other

Armstead, I.P., Huang, L.S., King, J., Ougham, H.J., Thomas, H., King, I.P. 2007. Rice pseudomolecule-anchored cross-species DNA sequence alignments indicate regional genomic variation in expressed sequence conservation. BMC Genomics 8 (283) 16 10.1186/1471-2164-8-283 Cadair

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 146 (4) C2.9 Abstracts of the Annual Main Meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology. 10.1016/j.cbpa.2007.01.445 Cadair

Donnison, I.S., Thomas, H., Armstead, I.P., Ougham, H.J., Howarth, C.J., Galyuon, I.K.A. 2007. The genetic control of senescence revealed by mapping quantitative trait loci. In S. Gan. (ed) Annual Plant Reviews: Senescence Processes in Plants. Wiley pp. 171-201. Cadair Other

Donnison, I., Gay, A., Thomas, H., Edwards, K.J., 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 173 (3) pp. 481-494. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01928.x Other Cadair

Armstead, I.P., Donnison, I.S., Aubry, S., Harper, J.A., Hörtensteiner, S., James, C.L., Mani, J., Moffet, M., Ougham, H.J., Roberts, L.A., Thomas, A.M., Weeden, N., Thomas, S., King, I.P. 2007. Cross-species identification of Mendel's/locus. Science 315 (5808) pp. 73. 10.1126/science.1132912 Other Cadair


Armstead, I.P., Donnison, I.S., Aubry, S., Harper, J.A., Hortensteiner, S., James, C.L., Mani, J., Moffet, M., Ougham, H.J., Roberts, L.A., Thomas, A.M., Weeden, N., Thomas, S., King, I.P. 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 172 (4) pp. 592-597. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01922.x Cadair

Ougham, H.J., Tomos, A.D., Farrell, A.D. 2006. The effect of gibberellic acid on the response of leaf extension to low temperature. Plant, Cell and Environment pp. 1329-1337. Cadair Other

Clare, A.J., Karwath, A., Ougham, H.J., King, R.D. 2006. Functional bioinformatics for Arabidopsis thaliana. Bioinformatics 22 (9) pp. 1130-1136. 10.1093/bioinformatics/btl051 Cadair Other

Ougham, H.J., Donnison, I.S., Taylor, J., Vozel, B., Chehdi, K., Gay, A.P., Wagstaff, C., Stead, A.D., Cariou, C., Rogers, H.J. 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. 10.1016/j.cbpa.2006.01.053 Cadair


Thomas, A.M., Thomas, H., Armstead, I.P., King, I.P., Harper, J.A., Moore, B.J., Huang, L.S., Fentem, P.A., Ougham, H.J., Jones, R.N., Jones, T.A.H., Roberts, L.A., King, J., Donnison, I.S. 2005. Molecular tagging of a senescence gene by introgression mapping of a stay-green mutation from Festuca pratensis. New Phytologist 165 (3) pp. 801-806. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01269.x Other Cadair

Ougham, H.J., Thomas, H., Morris, P.Schatten, G.P. 2005. The colour of autumn leaves as symptoms of cellular recycling and defences against environmental stresses. Current Topics in Developmental Biology 66 pp. 135-160. 10.1016/S0070-2153(05)66004-8 Cadair

Thomas, I.D., Ougham, H.J., Roberts, L.A., Peltier, D.Humphreys, M.O. 2005. Databases for managing genetic resources collections and mapping populations of forage and related species. Cadair Other

King, I.P., King, J., Armstead, I.P., Harper, J.A., Roberts, L.A., Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J., Jones, R.N., Thomas, A.M., Moore, B.J.Humphreys, M.O. 2005. Introgression mapping in the grasses. The 4th international symposium on the molecular breeding of forage and turf, a satellite workshop of the XXth International Grassland Congress. Cadair

Taylor, J., Moore, B.J., Rowland, J.J., Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J. 2005. Discriminating stay-green grasses using hyperspectral imaging and chemometrics. In M. O. Humphreys. (ed) Molecular breeding for the genetic improvement of forage crops and turf. Wageningen Academic Publishers pp. 120. Cadair Other Other


Roca, M., James, C.L., Pruzinská, A., Hörtensteiner, S., Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J. 2004. Analysis of the chlorophyll catabolism pathway in leaves of an introgression senescence mutant of Lolium temulentum. Phytochemistry 65 (9) pp. 1231-1238. 10.1016/j.phytochem.2004.03.022 Cadair

Ougham, H.J., Huang, L.S. 2004. Bioinformatics: bringing data to a usable form for breeders. Plant Breeding Zeitschrift für Pflanzenzüchtung pp. 18-22. Cadair Other

Ougham, H.J., Hortensteiner, S., Roca, M., Thomas, H., James, C.L.Dufossel, L. 2004. Chlorophylls and their breakdown in green plant tissues: genetic and environmental control. Cadair Other

Gay, A., Smith, E.L., 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. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A. Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) Meeting. Cadair


Dewhurst, R.J., Scollan, N.D., Lee, M.R.F., Ougham, H.J., Humphreys, M.O. 2003. Forage breeding and management to increase the beneficial fatty acid content of ruminant products. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 62 (2) pp. 329-336. 10.1079/PNS2003241 Cadair Other

Wagstaff, C., Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J., Stead, A.J. 2003. Defining senescence and death. Journal of Experimental Botany 54 (385) pp. 1127-1132. 10.1093/jxb/erg133 Cadair Other

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. Cadair

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. Cadair

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. Cadair


Fu, X., Richards, D.E., Ait-Ali, T., Hynes, L.W., Ougham, H.J., Peng, J., Harberd, N.P. 2002. Gibberellin-mediated proteasome-dependent degradation of the barley DELLA protein SLN1 repressor. Plant Cell 14 (12) pp. 3191-3200. 10.1105/tpc.006197 Cadair Other

Ougham, H.J., Canter, P.H., Donnison, I.S., Thomas, H.Lea, P.J., Morot-Gaudry, J.F., Hirel, B. 2002. What stay-green mutants tell us about nitrogen remobilization in leaf senescence. Journal of Experimental Botany pp. 801-808. Cadair Other

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. Cadair


Armstrong, G.A., Frick, G.A., Thomas, A.M., Thomas, B.J., Ougham, H.J. 2001. Both light-dependent protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase A and protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase B are down-regulated in the slender mutant of barley. Journal of Experimental Botany 52 (360) pp. 1447-1454. 10.1093/jexbot/52.360.1447 Cadair

Thomas, H., Ougham, H.J., Hortensteiner, S. 2001. Recent advances in the cell biology of chlorophyll catabolism. Advances in Botanical Research 35 pp. 1-52. 10.1016/S0065-2296(01)35003-6 Cadair


Langdon, T., Seago, C.M., Jones, R.N., Ougham, H., Thomas, H., Forster, J.W., Jenkins, G. 2000. De Novo Evolution of Satellite DNA on the Rye B Chromosome. Genetics 154 (2) pp. 869-884. Other Cadair


Ougham, H.J., Latipova, G., Valentine, J. 1996. Morphological and biochemical characterization of spikelet development in naked oats (Avena sativa). New Phytologist 134 (1) pp. 5-12. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1996.tb01141.x Cadair


Ougham, H., Thomas, A., Thomas, B., Roberts, P., Mutinda, C., Hayward, M.D., Dalton, S. 1992. Leaf development in Lolium temulentum: characterization of a slow-to-green mutant. New Phytologist 122 (2) pp. 261-272. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1992.tb04230.x Cadair


Ougham, H., Howarth, C. 1988. Temperature shock proteins in plants. In S. P. Long., F. I. Woodward. (eds) Plant and Temperature. Society for Experimental Biology Society for Experimental Biology pp. 259-280. Cadair