Dr Paul Robson

Dr Paul Robson

Senior Research Scientist

Contact Details

Profile

I graduated in Microbiology and Virology and received a doctorate in molecular microbiology from Warwick University working with Professor David Hodgson. My PhD was studying the mechanism of light induction from a promoter controlling carotenogenesis in Myxobacteria.
Since then I have worked in plant molecular biology and physiology, developing interests in the molecular mechanisms determining plant physiology and morphology. This included 7 years working with Professor Harry Smith at Leicester University studying photomorphogenesis and the biotechnological application of phytochrome. After a move to Aberystwyth I worked at IGER studying senescence and the induction of a stay-green phenotype in Maize (with Professor Howard Thomas); molecular determinants of apomixis (with Professor Philip Morris) and I now lead a project on Miscanthus Molecular Genetics and Crop Performance (with ).

Teaching

Research

The aim of my research is to understand the molecular and physiological control of morphologies in Miscanthus that contribute to efficient resource capture and utilisation and to develop molecular tools to enable efficient breeding strategies in Miscanthus. The work will provide fundamental insight into the genetic and environmental interactions determining Miscanthus development and how morphological change and physiological processes contribute to the capture of light and water and to nutrient use efficiency. This project will also develop genetic resources for Miscanthus including a genetic map and will test the syntenic relationship with other crops.

Research highlights include the following objectives:

  1. To determine variation in morphologies relevant to resource capture including, plant architecture, early season establishment, leaf area and senescence and to test the impact that these morphological changes have on resource capture and yield.
  2. To determine the morphological and physiological responses of Miscanthus to environmental signals in plot-based and controlled environment studies focusing initially on light as a resource and signal to reveal novel insights into photomorphogenesis in grass species.
  3. To develop markers and a genetic map for Miscanthus and to use markers for association and QTL mapping of morphological and compositional traits in Miscanthus.
  4. To determine the impact of senescence on crop quality, nutrient use efficiency and crop yield.
  5. To determine the extent of synteny with other crop species such as Sorghum and maize.
  6. To develop innovative phenotyping analyses including the use of high-throughput phenomics studies.
  7. To characterise gene expression in Miscanthus from senescence associated genes and abiotic stress genes.

Publications

Farrar, K, Hawkins, S, Jensen, E, Robson, P, Sanderson, R, Clifton-Brown, J & Donnison, I 2009, 'Exploiting model species to increase biomass yield in energy crops' 20th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research (IACR), Scotland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2009 - 2009, .
Donnison, IS, Farrar, K, Robson, PR, Clifton-Brown, JC, Smith, SP (ed.) & Spikes, KJ (ed.) 2008, 'Bioenergy and biorenewables from grasses', pp. 25-28, IBERS Knowledge-based Innovations, 1 01 July.
Jensen, EF, Jones, ST, Farrar, K, Robson, PRH, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, IS 2008, 'Optimising flowering time in Miscanthus for improved biomass yield and quality' GARNet/SEB Joint Plant Symposium, Vet School, Sutton Bonington Campus, Nottingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2008 - 2008, pp. L24.
Clifton-Brown, JC, Robson, PR, Allison, GG, Lister, SJ, Sanderson, R, Morris, C, Hodgson, E, Farrar, K, Hawkins, S, Jensen, EF, Jones, ST, Huang, L, Roberts, PC, Youell, SJ, Jones, BR, Wright, A, Valentine, J, Donnison, IS, Booth, E (ed.), Green, M (ed.), Karp, A (ed.), Shield, I (ed.), Stock, D (ed.) & Turley, D (ed.) 2008, 'Miscanthus: breeding our way to a better future' Aspects of Applied Biology, vol 90, pp. 199-206.
Buanafina, MMDO, Timms-Taravella, EJ, Robson, PRH, Morris, P, Wiffen, D, Dalton, SJ, Bettany, AJE & Humphreys, MO (ed.) 2005, Nylon mesh as an improved support for bombarded calli or cell suspensions. in FP O'Mara, RJ Wilkins, L 't Mannetje, DK Lovett, PAM Rogers & TM Boland (eds), XX International Grassland Conference: Offered Papers. 1 edn, Wageningen Academic Publishers, The 4th International Symposium on the Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf & Post-Congress Satellite Workshop of the XX International Grassland Congress - Genetic improvement of grasses and other forage crops, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2005.
Morris, P, Dalton, SJ, Buanafina, MMDO, Robson, PRH, Bettany, AJE, Timms, EJ & Humphreys, MO (ed.) 2005, 'A comparison of hygromycin and paromomycin selection strategies in the genetic transformation of seven Lolium, Festuca, Poa and Agrostis species' Paper presented at Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on the Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf. XXth International Grassland Congress, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2005 - 2005, .
Li, Q, Robson, PRH, Bettany, AJE, Donnison, IS, Thomas, H & Scott, IM 2004, 'Modification of senescence in ryegrass transformed with IPT under the control of a monocot senescence-enhanced promoter' Plant Cell Reports, vol 22, no. 11, pp. 816-821. DOI: 10.1007/s00299-004-0762-6
Robson, PRH, Donnison, IS, Wang, K, Frame, B, Pegg, SE, Thomas, AM & Thomas, H 2004, 'Leaf senescence is delayed in maize expressing the Agrobacterium IPT gene under the control of a novel maize senescence-enhanced promoter' Plant Biotechnology Journal, vol 2, no. 2, pp. 101-112. DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-7652.2004.00054.x
Adams, J, Morris, P, Robson, P, Dunn-Coleman, N & Donnison, I 2004, 'Fermentation of starch from maize mutants for biofuel production' 2004 Plant Science Wales, Swansea, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2004 - 2004, .
Devlin, PF, Robson, P, Patel, SR, Goosey, L, Sharrock, RA & Whitelam, GC 1999, 'Phytochrome D Acts in the Shade-Avoidance Syndrome in Arabidopsis by Controlling Elongation Growth and Flowering Time' Plant Physiology, vol 119, no. 3, pp. 909-916. DOI: 10.​1104/​pp.​119.​3.​909
Davey, C, Robson, P, Hawkins, S, Farrar, K, Clifton-Brown, J, Donnison, I & Slavov, G 2017, 'Genetic relationships between spring emergence, canopy phenology and biomass yield increase the accuracy of genomic prediction in Miscanthus' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 68, no. 18, pp. 5093-5102. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erx339
Wildhagen, H, Paul, S, Allwright, M, Smith, H, Malinowska, M, Schnabel, S, Paulo, J, Cattonaro, F, Vendramin, V, Scalabrin, S, Janz, D, Douthe, C, Brendel, O, Buré, C, Cohen, D, Hummel, I, Le Thiec, D, van Euewijk, F, Keurentjes, J, Flexas, J, Morgante, M, Robson, P, Bogeat-Triboulot, M-B, Taylor, G & Polle, A 2017, 'Genes and gene clusters related to genotype and drought induced variation in saccharification potential, lignin content, and wood anatomical traits in Populus nigra: Saccharification, Wood Anatomy and Gene Clusters' Tree Physiology. DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpx054
Jensen, E, Robson, P, Farrar, K, Thomas Jones, S, Clifton-Brown, J, Payne, R & Donnison, I 2017, 'Towards Miscanthus combustion quality improvement: the role of flowering and senescence' GCB Bioenergy, vol 9, no. 5, pp. 891-908. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12391
McCalmont, J, Hastings, A, Mcnamara, N, Richter, GM, Robson, P, Donnison, I & Clifton-Brown, J 2017, 'Environmental costs and benefits of growing Miscanthus for bioenergy in the UK' GCB Bioenergy, vol 9, no. 3, pp. 489-507. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12294
Clifton-Brown, J, Hastings, A, Mos, M, McCalmont, J, Ashman, C, Awty-Carroll, D, Cerazy, J, Chiang, Y-C, Cosentino, S, Cracroft-Eley, W, Scurlock, J, Donnison, I, Glover, C, Golab, I, Greef, J, Gwyn, J, Harding, G, Hayes, C, Helios, W, Hsu, TW, Huang, L, Jezownski, S, Kim, D-S, Kiesel, A, Kotecki, A, Krzyzak, J, Lewandowski, I, Lim, SH, Liu, J, Loosely, M, Meyer, H, Murphy-Bokern, D, Nelson, W, Pogrzeba, M, Robinson, G, Robson, P, Rogers, C, Scalici, G, Schuele, H, Shafiei, R, Shevchuk, O, Schwarz, K-U, Squance, M, Swaller, T, Thornton, J, Truckses, T, Botnari, V, Vizir, I, Wagner, M, Warren, R, Webster, R, Yamada, T, Youell, S, Xi, Q, Zong, J & Flavell, R 2017, 'Progress in upscaling Miscanthus biomass production for the European bio-economy with seed-based hybrids' GCB Bioenergy, vol 9, no. 1, pp. 6-17. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12357
Malinowska, M, Donnison, I & Robson, P 2017, 'Phenomics analysis of drought responses in Miscanthus collected from different geographical locations' GCB Bioenergy, vol 9, no. 1, pp. 78-91. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12350
Stavridou, E, Webster, R & Robson, P 2017, 'The impact of soil salinity on the yield, composition and physiology of the bioenergy grass Miscanthus x giganteus.' GCB Bioenergy, vol 9, no. 1, pp. 92-104. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12351
Wootton-Beard, P, Xing, Y, Durai Prabhakaran, RT, Robson, P, Bosch, M, Thornton, J, Ormondroyd, G, Jones, P & Donnison, I 2016, 'Review: Improving the impact of plant science on urban planning and design' Buildings, vol 6, no. 4. DOI: 10.3390/buildings6040048
Davey, C, Nipper, R, Robson, P, Farrar, K, Clifton-Brown, J, Jensen, E, Donnison, I & Slavov, G 2016, 'Selection and Genome-Wide Prediction of Phenology and Biomass Yield in Miscanthus' Plant and Animal Genome Conference XXIV, San Diego, California, United States of America, 2016 - 2016, .
Hopkins, A, Collins, R, Fraser, M, King, VR, Lloyd, D, Moorby, J & Robson, P (eds) 2014, EGF at 50: The Future of European Grasslands: Proceedings of the 25th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation. Aberystwyth, Wales 7-11 September 2014. vol. 19, Prifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University.
Parveen, I, Wilson, T, Threadgill, MD, Luyten, J, Roberts, RE, Robson, PR, Hauck, BD, Donnison, IS & Winters, AL 2014, 'Screening for potential co-products in a Miscanthus sinensis mapping family by liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry detection' Phytochemistry, vol 105, pp. 186-196. DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.05.003
Ings, J, Mur, LAJ, Clifton-Brown, JC, Bosch, M & Robson, PR 2014, 'Revealing the Molecular and Physiological Responses to Water Deficit in the Bioenergy Crop Miscanthus x giganteus' Plant Biology Europe - FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 2014 - 2014, pp. 34.
Slavov, GT, Nipper, R, Robson, P, Farrar, K, Allison, GG, Bosch, M, Clifton-Brown, JC, Donnison, IS & Jensen, E 2014, 'Genome-wide association studies and prediction of 17 traits related to phenology, biomass and cell wall composition in the energy grass Miscanthus sinensis' New Phytologist, vol 201, no. 4, pp. 1227-1239. DOI: 10.1111/nph.12621
Slavov, GT, Nipper, R, Robson, PR, Farrar, K, Allison, GG, Bosch, M, Clifton-Brown, JC, Donnison, IS & Jensen, EF 2014, 'Genome-wide association studies and prediction of traits related to phenology, biomass and cell wall composition in Miscanthus sinensis.' Plant & Animal Genome XXII Conference, San Diego, United States of America, 2014 - 2014, pp. W422.
Clifton-Brown, JC, Purdy, SJ, Hayes, CM, Ashman, CR, Jones, LE, Farrar, K, Huang, LS-F, Gallagher, JA, Glover, CM, Hinton Jones, ME, Jensen, EF, Loosley, RM, Maddison, AL, McCalmont, JP, Nunn, C, Robson, PR, Slavov, GT, Warren, RD, Webster, RJ, Youell, SJ, Donnison, IS, Davey, CL, Jones, CM, Barraclough, T, Castle, M, Cunniff, J, Cracroft-Eley, W, Greef, JM, Hastings, A, Harding, G, Lewandowski, I, Meyer, H, Mos, M, Nelson, W, Richter, G, Rodgers, C, Schwarze, K-U, Squance, M, Swaller, T, Shield, I, Xi, Q, Karp, A & Flavell, R 2014, 'Recent advances in Miscanthus science and breeding' International Bioenergy Conference 2014, Manchester, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2014 - 2014, .
Ings, J, Mur, LAJ, Robson, PRH & Bosch, M 2013, 'Physiological and growth responses to water deficit in the bioenergy crop Miscanthus x giganteus' Frontiers in Plant Science, vol 4, pp. 468. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00468
Slavov, G, Robson, P, Jensen, E, Hodgson, E, Farrar, K, Allison, G, Hawkins, S, Thomas-Jones, S, Ma, X-F, Huang, L, Swaller, T, Flavell, R, Clifton-Brown, J & Donnison, I 2013, 'Contrasting geographic patterns of genetic variation for molecular markers vs. phenotypic traits in the energy grass Miscanthus sinensis' GCB Bioenergy, vol 5, no. 5, pp. 562-571. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12025
Zatta, A, Clifton-Brown, J, Robson, P, Hastings, A & Monti, A 2013, 'Land use change from C3 grassland to C4 Miscanthus: effects on soil carbon content and estimated mitigation benefit after six years' GCB Bioenergy, vol 6, no. 4, pp. 360-370. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12054
Clifton-Brown, JC, Robson, PR, Davey, CL, Farrar, K, Hayes, CM, Huang, LS-F, Jensen, EF, Jones, LE, Hinton Jones, ME, Maddison, AL, Meyer, H, Norris, JA, Purdy, SJ, Rodgers, C, Schwarz, K-U, Salvatore, C, Slavov, GT, Valentine, J, Webster, RJ, Youell, SJ & Donnison, IS 2013, Breeding Miscanthus for bioenergy. in MC Saha, HS Bhandari & JH Bouton (eds), Biomass Crops: Breeding and Genetics. Wiley. DOI: 10.1002/9781118609477.ch5
Mos, M, Banks, S, Nowakowski, D, Robson, PR, Bridgwater, A & Donnison, IS 2013, 'Impact of Miscanthus x giganteus senescence times on fast pyrolysis bio-oil quality' Bioresource Technology, vol 129, pp. 335-342. DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.11.069
Slavov, GT, Robson, PR, Jensen, EF, Farrar, K, Ma, X-F, Swaller, T, Flavell, R, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, IS 2013, 'A population genomics approach to accelerating the domestication of the energy grass Miscanthus.' Plant & Animal XXI Conference, San Diego, United States of America, 2013 - 2013, pp. W088.
Jensen, E, Robson, P, Norris, J, Cookson, A, Farrar, K, Donnison, I & Clifton-Brown, J 2013, 'Flowering induction in the bioenergy grass Miscanthus sacchariflorus is a quantitative short-day response, whilst delayed flowering under long days increases biomass accumulation' Journal of Experimental Biology, vol 64, no. 2, pp. 541-552. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ers346
Robson, PRH, Farrar, K, Gay, AP, Jensen, EF, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, IS 2013, 'Variation in canopy duration in the perennial biofuel crop Miscanthus reveals complex associations with yield: Canopy duration and yield in Miscanthus' Journal of Experimental Biology, vol 64, no. 8, pp. 2373-2383. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ert104
Robson, P, Jensen, E, Hawkins, S, White, SR, Kenobi, K, Clifton-Brown, J, Donnison, I & Farrar, K 2013, 'Accelerating the domestication of a bioenergy crop: identifying and modelling morphological targets for sustainable yield increase in Miscanthus' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 64, no. 14, pp. 4143-4155. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ert225
Valentine, J, Clifton-Brown, JC, Hastings, A, Robson, PR, Allison, GG & Smith, P 2012, 'Food vs. fuel: the use of land for lignocellulosic 'next generation' energy crops that minimize competition with primary food production' GCB Bioenergy, vol 4, no. 1, pp. 1-19. DOI: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2011.01111.x
Robson, P, Mos, M, Dee, H, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, I 2011, 'Improving bioenergy crop yield and quality through manipulating senescence' Aspects of Applied Biology, vol 112, pp. 323-328.
Clifton-Brown, J, Robson, P, Sanderson, R, Hastings, A, Valentine, J & Donnison, I 2011, 'Thermal requirements for seed germination in Miscanthus compared with Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinaceae), Maize (Zea mays) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)' GCB Bioenergy, vol 3, no. 5, pp. 375-386. DOI: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2011.01094.x
Jensen, EF, Loosley, M, Farrar, K, Robson, PR, Norris, J, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, IS 2011, 'Impact of photoperiod and ambient temperature on days to flowering in Miscanthus species' Paper presented at 2010 Society of Experimental Biology Annual Main Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic, 2010 - 2010, pp. P3.3.
Robson, PR, Mos, M, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, IS 2011, 'Phenotypic variation in senescence in Miscanthus: Towards optimising biomass quality and quantity' Bioenergy Research, vol 5, no. 1, pp. 95-105. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-011-9118-6
Robson, PRH, Kelly, R, Jensen, EF, Giddings, GD, Leitch, M, Davey, C, Gay, AP, Jenkins, G, Thomas, H & Donnison, IS 2011, 'A flexible quantitative methodology for the analysis of gene-flow between conventionally bred maize populations using microsatellite markers' Theoretical and Applied Genetics, vol 122, no. 4, pp. 819-829. DOI: 10.1007/s00122-010-1489-0
Bosch, M, Roberts, LA, Dalton, SJ, Robson, PR, Donnison, IS, Nielsen, K & Mur, LAJ 2011, 'Brachypodium as a model for studying traits relevant for the development of bioenergy grasses' 1st European Brachypodium Workshop, Versailles, France, 2011 - 2011, pp. Abstract No: P2.9.
Dalton, SJ, Bosch, M, Robson, PR & Donnison, IS 2011, 'Neomycin phosphotransferase gene (nptII) as a selectable marker for Brachypodium BD21' 1st European Brachypodium Workshop, Versailles, France, 2011 - 2011, .
Jensen, EF, Jones, ST, Farrar, K, Robson, PR, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, IS 2011, 'Flowering time in Miscanthus' Plant and Animal Genome XIX Conference , San Diego, United States of America, 2011 - 2011, .
Robson, PR, Kelly, R, Jensen, EF, Davey, C, Gay, AP, Thomas, H, Donnison, IS, Leitch, M, Warren, JM, Giddings, GD & Jenkins, G 2011, Factors affecting rates of cross-pollination in maize growing under typical UK conditions RG0124. DEFRA Report 2011, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Robson, P, Jensen, E, Hodgson, E, Farrar, K, Slavov, G, Allison, G, Hawkins, S, Jones, S, Valentine, J, Clifton-Brown, J & Donnison, I 2011, 'Harnessing natural variation in phenotypic and chemotypic traits in Miscanthus for breeding improved bioenergy crops: A review of long term results from perennial energy cropping work at IBERS' Aspects of Applied Biology, vol 112.
Farrar, K, Robson, PR, Jensen, EF, Hawkins, S, Clifton-Brown, JC & Donnison, IS 2010, 'Manipulation of plant architecture to optimise biomass yield in Miscanthus' Plant and Animal Genome XVIII Conference, San Diego, United States of America, 2010 - 2010, .
Allison, G, Morris, C, Gill, S, Lister, S, Clifton-Brown, J, Jensen, E, Robson, P, Adams, J, Gallagher, J & Donnison, I 2010, 'Aligning the chemical composition of new Miscanthus varieties to the requirements of conversion processes' Sixth International Conference on Rnewable Resource and Biorefineries, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2010 - 2010, .
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
Mos, M, Robson, PR & Donnison, IS 2009, 'Cellular and molecular characterisation of senescence in the energy grass' Plant Sciences Wales, School of Biosciences, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2009 - 2009, pp. p20.
Donnison, IS, Farrar, K, Allison, GG, Hodgson, E, Adams, JM, Hatch, R, Gallagher, JA, Robson, PR, Clifton-Brown, JC & Morris, P 2009, Functional genomics of forage and bioenergy quality traits in the grasses. in T Yamada & G Spangenberg (eds), Molecular Breeding of Forage Turf: Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on the Molecular Breeding of Forage Turf. pp. 111-123, 5th International Symposium on the Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf, Sapporo, Japan, 2007.