Prof John Doonan

BSc Hons (Leeds), PhD (Leeds)

Prof John Doonan

Chair (DLM)

Contact Details


John Doonan has more than 25 years experience in genetics and developmental cell biology of plants and fungi. Before joining IBERS as Director of the National Plant Phenomics Centre , he was Group Leader at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. Previous to that he worked at the Robert Wood Johnston Medical School in New Jersey, USA and obtained his PhD from Leeds University.



Plant growth underpins the productivity of both natural and agricultural ecosystems. Our group uses both induced (mutants) and natural variation in experimental model systems and wheat to understand how plants grow and respond to their environment. Current research focuses on cyclin dependent protein kinase targets (a) in the microtubule system and (b) in the protein translation machinery. We are developing high throughput high content phenotyping technologies at the National Plant Phenomics Centre that will allow the better exploitation of genomic-type information in the process of both gene discovery and plant breeding.

Our lab welcomes visiting students, post-doc and academics on short and longer term training visits. Please contact us by email.

Research is supported by grants from the BBSRC, Leverhulme, FP7, BEAA, and the Welsh Government.

Research Groups


The histone acetyltransferase GCN5 and the transcriptional coactivator ADA2b affect leaf development and trichome morphogenesis in ArabidopsisKotak, J., Saisana, M., Gegas, V., Pechlivani, N., Kaldis, A., Papoutsoglou, P., Makris, A., Burns, J., Kendig, A. L., Sheikh, M., Kuschner, C. E., Whitney, G., Caiola, H., Doonan, J., Vlachonasios, K., McCain, E. R. & Hark, A. T. 2018 In : Planta.
Editorial: PhenomicsEgea-Cortines, M. & Doonan, J. 2018 In : Frontiers in Plant Science.9, 678
Novel digital features feature discriminate between drought resistant and drought sensitive rice under controlled and field conditionsDuan, L., Han, J., Guo, Z., Tu, H., Yang, P., Zhang, D., Fan, Y., Chen, G., Xiong, L., Dai, M., Williams, K., Corke, F., Doonan, J. & Yang, W. 2018 In : Frontiers in Plant Science.9, 492
The Cyclin Dependent Kinase G group defines a thermo-sensitive alternative splicing circuit modulating the expression of Arabidopsis ATU2AF65ACavallari, N., Nibau, C., Fuchs, A., Dadarou, D., Barta, A. & Doonan, J. 2018 In : Plant Journal.
Editorial: Plant Phenotyping and Phenomics for Plant BreedingLobos, G. A., Camargo-Rodriguez, A., del Pozo, A., Araus, J. L., Ortiz, R. & Doonan, J. 2017 In : Frontiers in Plant Science.8, 2181
The Mitotic Function of Augmin is Dependent on Its Microtubule-Associated Protein Subunit EDE1 in Arabidopsis thalianaJulie Lee, Y-R., Hiwatashi, Y., Hotta, T., Xie, T., Doonan, J. & Liu, B. 2017 In : Current Biology.27, 24, p. 3891-38977 p., e4
Improving the nutrient use efficiency of perennial forage species to enhance the sustainability of grassland based agricultureMarshall, A., Collins, R., Williams, K. S., Han, J., Corke, F. & Doonan, J. 2017 In : Aspects of Applied Biology.136, p. 221-2287 p.
The Planteome database: an integrated resource for reference ontologies, plant genomics and phenomicsCooper, L., Meier, A., Laporte, M-A., Elser, J. L., Mungall, C., Sinn, B. T., Cabaliere, D., Carbon, S., Dunn, N. A., Smith, B., Qu, B., Preece, J., Zhang, E., Todorovic, S., Gkoutos, G., Doonan, J., Stevenson, D. W., Arnaud, E. & Jaiswal, P. 2017 In : Nucleic Acids Research. gkx1152
Non-destructive, high-content analysis of wheat grain traits using X-ray micro computed tomographyHughes, N., Askew, K. L., Scotson, C. P., Williams, K. S., Sauze, C., Corke, F., Doonan, J. & Nibau, C. 2017 In : Plant Methods.13, 76
Natural Variation in Brachypodium Links Vernalization and Flowering Time Loci as Major Flowering DeterminantsBettgenhaeuser, J., Corke, F., Opanowicz, M., Green, P., Hernández-Pinzón, I., Doonan, J. & Moscou, M. J. 2017 In : Plant Physiology.173, 1, p. 256-268
Novel grasslands for agricultural production and flood mitigationHumphreys, M., Collins, R., Marshall, A., Marley, C., Walawee, N. M. & Doonan, J. 2017 p. 570-5723 p.
Linking dynamic phenotyping with metabolite analysis to study natural variation in drought responses of Brachypodium distachyonFisher, L., Han, J., Corke, F., Akinyemi, A., Didion, T., Nielsen, K. K., Doonan, J., Mur, L. & Bosch, M. 2016 In : Frontiers in Plant Science.7, 1751
Determining phenological patterns associated with the onset of senescence in a wheat MAGIC mapping populationCamargo-Rodriguez, A., Mott, R., Kim, J. T., Bentley, A., Mackay, I. J., Gardner, K., Doonan, J. & Corke, F. 2016 In : Frontiers in Plant Science.7, 1540
eIF4A RNA Helicase Associates with Cyclin-Dependent Protein Kinase A in Proliferating Cells and is Modulated by PhosphorylationBush, M. S., Pierrat, O., Nibau, C., Mikitova, V., Zheng, T., Corke, F. M. K., Vlachonasios, K., Mayberry, L. K., Browning, K. S. & Doonan, J. 2016 In : Plant Physiology.172, 1, p. 128-14013 p.
Climate-smart Strategies to Safeguard Persistency and Achieve Sustainable Grassland ProductionHumphreys, M., Loka, D., Gwynn-Jones, D., Scullion, J., Doonan, J., Gasior, D., Harper, J., Farrell, M., Kingston-Smith, A., Dodd, R., Chadwick, D., Hill, P., Mills, G., Hayes, F., Robinson, D. & Jones, D. 2016
Image-based phenotyping to measure plant diversity and performanceDoonan, J., Boyle, R., Han, J., Williams, K. S., Alcalde Barrios, A., Strange, H., Corke, F., Nibau, C., Scotson, C. P., Camargo-Rodriguez, A., Zwiggelaar, R., Sturrock, C. & Mooney, S. 2016
The RNA helicase, eIF4A-1, is required for ovule development and cell size homeostasis in ArabidopsisBush, M. S., Crowe, N., Zheng, T. & Doonan, J. 2015 In : Plant Journal.84, 5, p. 989-1004
Estimation of Branch Angle from 3D Point Cloud of PlantsLou, L., Liu, Y., Shen, M., Han, J., Corke, F. & Doonan, J. H. 2015 2015 International Conference on 3D Vision (3DV). Brown, M., Kosecka, J. & Theobolt, C. (eds.). IEEE Press, p. 554-5618 p.
Transcriptional repression by MYB3R proteins regulates plant organ growthKobayashi, K., Suzuki, T., Iwata, E., Chen, P., Ohtani, M., Ishida, T., Hosoya, H., Müller, S., Leviczky, T., Pettkó-Szandtner, A., Darula, Z., Iwamoto, A., Nomoto, M., Tada, Y., Higashiyama, T., Demura, T., Doonan, J., Hauser, M-T., Sugimoto, K., Umeda, M., Magyar, Z., Bögre, L. & Ito, M. 2015 In : EMBO Journal.34, 15, p. 1992-2007
Automatic Estimation of Wheat Grain Morphometry from CT DataStrange, H., Zwiggelaar, R., Sturrock, C., Mooney, S. & Doonan, J. 2015 In : Functional Plant Biology.42, p. 452-4598 p.
Accurate Multi-View Stereo 3D Reconstruction for Cost-Effective Plant PhenotypingLou, L., Liu, Y., Han, J. & Doonan, J. H. 2014 Image Analysis and Recognition: 11th International Conference, ICIAR 2014, Vilamoura, Portugal, October 22-24, 2014, Proceedings, Part II. Campilho, A. & Kamel, M. (eds.). Springer Nature, p. 349-3568 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; vol. 8815)
Endopolyploidy as a potential alternative adaptive strategy for Arabidopsis leaf size variation in response to UV-BGegas, V. C., Wargent, J. J., Pesquet, E., Granqvist, E., Paul, N. D. & Doonan, J. H. 2014 In : Journal of Experimental Botany.65, 10, p. 2757-276610 p.
Objective Definition of Rosette Shape Variation Using a Combined Computer Vision and Data Mining ApproachCamargo-Rodriguez, A., Papadopoulou, D., Spyropoulou, Z., Vlachonasios, K., Doonan, J. H., Gay, A. P. & Candela, H. (ed.) 2014 In : PLoS One.9, 5, p. e96889
Erratum to: Brachypodium distachyon: making hay with a wild grass: [Trends in Plant Science 13 (2008) 172–177]Opanowicz, M., Vain, P., Draper, J., Parker, D. & Doonan, J. H. 2014 In : Trends in Plant Science.19, 3, p. 193
Kinesins have a dual function in organizing microtubules during both tip growth and cytokinesis in Physcomitrella patensHiwatashi, Y., Sato, Y. & Doonan, J. H. 2014 In : Plant Cell.26, 3, p. 1256-126611 p.
CDKG1 protein kinase is essential for synapsis and male meiosis at high ambient temperature in Arabidopsis thalianaZheng, T., Nibau, C., Phillips, D. W., Jenkins, G., Armstrong, S. J. & Doonan, J. H. 2014 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.111, 6, p. 2182-21876 p.
Challenges of Crop Phenomics in the Post-genomic EraGegas, V. C., Gay, A., Camargo, A. & Doonan, J. 2014 Phenomics. Hancock, J. (ed.). Taylor & Francis, p. 142-17130 p.
A Cost-Effective Automatic 3D Reconstruction Pipeline for Plants Using Multi-view ImagesLou, L., Liu, Y., Sheng, M., Han, J. & Doonan, J. H. 2014 Advances in Autonomous Robotics Systems: 15th Annual Conference, TAROS 2014, Birmingham, UK, September 1-3, 2014. Proceedings. Mistry, M., Leonardis, A., Witkowski, M. & Melhuish, C. (eds.). Springer Nature, p. 221-230 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; vol. 8717)
Gene dosage effect of WEE1 on growth and morphogenesis from arabidopsis hypocotyl explantsSpadafora, N., Perrotta, L., Nieuwland, J., Albani, D., Bitonti, M. B., Herbert, R. J., Doonan, J. H., Marchbank, A. M., Siciliano, I., Lentz Grønlund, A., Francis, D. & Rogers, H. J. 2012 In : Annals of Botany.110, 8, p. 1631-99 p.
Perturbation of cytokinin and ethylene-signalling pathways explain the strong rooting phenotype exhibited by Arabidopsis expressing the Schizosaccharomyces pombe mitotic inducer, cdc25Spadafora, N. D., Parfitt, D., Marchbank, A., Li, S., Bruno, L., Vaughan, R., Nieuwland, J., Buchanan-Wollaston, V., Herbert, R. J., Bitonti, M. B., Doonan, J., Albani, D., Prinsen, E., Francis, D. & Rogers, H. J. 2012 In : BMC Plant Biology.12, 1, 45
EPPN: High throughput plant phenotyping facilities at AberystwythDoonan, J., Howarth, C., Camargo-Rodriguez, A., Allison, G., Swain, G., Gay, A. & Draper, J. 2012
T-DNA mutagenesis in Brachypodium distachyonThole, V., Peraldi, A., Worland, B., Nicholson, P., Doonan, J. H. & Vain, P. 2011 In : Journal of Experimental Botany.63, 2, p. 567-57610 p.
The auxin signalling network translates dynamic input into robust patterning at the shoot apexVernoux, T., Brunoud, G., Farcot, E., Morin, V., Van den Daele, H., Legrand, J., Oliva, M., Das, P., Larrieu, A., Wells, D., Guédon, Y., Armitage, L., Picard, F., Guyomarc'h, S., Cellier, C., Parry, G., Koumproglou, R., Doonan, J. H., Estelle, M., Godin, C., Kepinski, S., Bennett, M., De Veylder, L. & Traas, J. 2011 In : Molecular Systems Biology.7, 508
A T-DNA mutation in the RNA helicase eIF4A confers a dose-dependent dwarfing phenotype in Brachypodium distachyonVain, P., Thole, V., Worland, B., Opanowicz, M., Bush, M. S. & Doonan, J. H. 2011 In : Plant Journal.66, 6, p. 929-94012 p.
Interaction of a 14-3-3 protein with the plant microtubule-associated protein EDE1Pignocchi, C. & Doonan, J. H. 2011 In : Annals of Botany.107, 7, p. 1103-11097 p.
Arabidopsis T-DNA insertional lines for CDC25 are hypersensitive to hydroxyurea but not to zeocin or salt stressSpadafora, N. D., Doonan, J. H., Herbert, R. J., Bitonti, M. B., Wallace, E., Rogers, H. J. & Francis, D. 2011 In : Annals of Botany.107, 7, p. 1183-119210 p.
Cyclin dependent protein kinases and stress responses in plantsKitsios, G. & Doonan, J. H. 2011 In : Plant Signaling and Behavior.6, 2, p. 204-2096 p.
Selective recruitment of proteins to 5′ cap complexes during the growth cycle in ArabidopsisBush, M. S., Hutchins, A. P., Jones, A. M. E., Naldrett, M. J., Jarmolowski, A., Lloyd, C. W. & Doonan, J. H. 2009 In : Plant Journal.59, 3, p. 400-41213 p.
UVR8 in Arabidopsis thaliana regulates multiple aspects of cellular differentiation during leaf development in response to ultraviolet B radiationWargent, J. J., Gegas, V. C., Jenkins, G. I., Doonan, J. H. & Paul, N. D. 2009 In : New Phytologist.183, 2, p. 315-2612 p.
ENDOSPERM DEFECTIVE1 Is a Novel Microtubule-Associated Protein Essential for Seed Development in ArabidopsisPignocchi, C., Minns, G. E., Nesi, N., Koumproglou, R., Kitsios, G., Benning, C., Lloyd, C. W., Doonan, J. H. & Hills, M. J. 2009 In : Plant Cell.21, 1, p. 90-10516 p.
Brachypodium distachyon: making hay with a wild grassOpanowicz, M., Vain, P., Draper, J. H., Parker, D. & Doonan, J. H. 2008 In : Trends in Plant Science.13, 4, p. 172-1776 p.
A cyclin-dependent protein kinase, CDKC2, colocalizes with and modules the distribution of spliceosomal components in ArabidopsisKitsios, G., Alexiou, K. G., Bush, M., Shaw, P. & Doonan, J. H. 2008 In : Plant Journal.54, 2, p. 220-23516 p.
Either alpha-tubulin isogene product is sufficient for microtubule function during all stages of growth and differentiation in Aspergillus nidulansKirk, K. E., Morris, N. R. & Doonan, J. H. 1993 In : Molecular and Cellular Biology.13, 8, p. 4465-7612 p.
A negative regulator of mitosis in Aspergillus is a putative membrane-spanning proteinEngle, D. B., Osmani, S. A., Osmani, A. H., Rosborough, S., Xin, X. N., Morris, N. R. & Doonan, J. H. 1990 In : Journal of Biological Chemistry.265, 27, p. 16132-161376 p.
An actin network is present in the cytoplasm throughout the cell cycle of carrot cells and associates with the dividing nucleusTraas, J. A., Doonan, J. H., Rawlins, D. J., Shaw, P. J., Watts, J. & Lloyd, C. W. 1987 In : Journal of Cell Biology.105, 1, p. 387-959 p.