Photograph of Professor John Doonan.Professor John Doonan

Professor of Phenomics
BSc Hons (Leeds), PhD (Leeds)


Office: Room 223, William Davis Building, Gogerddan Campus
Phone: 01970 823080


Director of the National Plant Phenomics Centre


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.


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.



Doonan, 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. Image-based phenotyping to measure plant diversity and performance. Plant and Animal Genome Conference XXIV, San Diego, California, United States of America, 09/01/2016 - 13/01/2016.


Boyle, R., Corke, F., Doonan, J. 2015. (In press) Automated estimation of tiller number in wheat by ribbon detection. Machine Vision and Applications 10.1007/s00138-015-0719-5

Strange, H., Zwiggelaar, R., Sturrock, C., Mooney, S., Doonan, J. 2015. Automatic Estimation of Wheat Grain Morphometry from CT Data. Functional Plant Biology 42 pp. 452-459. 10.1071/FP14068

Bush, M.S., Crowe, N., Zheng, T., Doonan, J. 2015. The RNA helicase, eIF4A-1, is required for ovule development and cell size homeostasis in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal 84 (5) pp. 989-1004. 10.1111/tpj.13062

Kobayashi, 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., Sugimoto, K., Umeda, M., Magyar, Z., Bögre, L., Ito, M. 2015. Transcriptional repression by MYB3R proteins regulates plant organ growth. EMBO Journal 34 (15) pp. 1992-2007. 10.15252/embj.201490899


Lou, L., Liu, Y., Han, J., Doonan, J.H. 2014. Accurate Multi-View Stereo 3D Reconstruction for Cost-Effective Plant Phenotyping. In A. Campilho, M. Kamel (eds), Image Analysis and Recognition: 11th International Conference, ICIAR 2014, Vilamoura, Portugal, October 22-24, 2014, Proceedings, Part II. Image Analysis and Recognition, vol. 8815 Springer pp. 349-356. 10.1007/978-3-319-11755-3_39 Other

Zheng, T., Nibau, C., Phillips, D.W., Jenkins, G., Armstrong, S.J., Doonan, J.H. 2014. CDKG1 protein kinase is essential for synapsis and male meiosis at high ambient temperature in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 (6) pp. 2182-2187. 10.1073/pnas.1318460111

Gegas, V.C., Wargent, J.J., Pesquet, E., Granqvist, E., Paul, N.D., Doonan, J.H. 2014. Endopolyploidy as a potential alternative adaptive strategy for Arabidopsis leaf size variation in response to UV-B. Journal of Experimental Botany 65 (10) pp. 2757-2766. 10.1093/jxb/ert473

Opanowicz, M., Vain, P., Draper, J., Parker, D., Doonan, J.H. 2014. Erratum to: Brachypodium distachyon: making hay with a wild grass: [Trends in Plant Science 13 (2008) 172–177]. Trends in Plant Science 19 (3) pp. 193. 10.1016/j.tplants.2014.01.012

Hiwatashi, Y., Sato, Y., Doonan, J.H. 2014. Kinesins have a dual function in organizing microtubules during both tip growth and cytokinesis in Physcomitrella patens. Plant Cell 26 (3) pp. 1256-1266. 10.1105/tpc.113.121723

Camargo-Rodriguez, A., Papadopoulou, D., Spyropoulou, Z., Vlachonasios, K., Doonan, J.H., Gay, A.P., 2014. Objective Definition of Rosette Shape Variation Using a Combined Computer Vision and Data Mining Approach. PLoS One 9 (5) pp. e96889. 10.1371/journal.pone.0096889 Other


Doonan, J., Howarth, C., Camargo-Rodriguez, A., Allison, G., Swain, G., Gay, A., Draper, J. 2012. EPPN: High throughput plant phenotyping facilities at Aberystwyth. EPPN Workshop, Warsaw, Poland, 11/05/2012 - 12/05/2012.

Spadafora, 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. Gene dosage effect of WEE1 on growth and morphogenesis from arabidopsis hypocotyl explants. Annals of Botany 110 (8) pp. 1631-9. 10.1093/aob/mcs223

Spadafora, 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. Perturbation of cytokinin and ethylene-signalling pathways explain the strong rooting phenotype exhibited by Arabidopsis expressing the Schizosaccharomyces pombe mitotic inducer, cdc25. BMC Plant Biology 12 (1) 45 10.1186/1471-2229-12-45 Other


Vain, P., Thole, V., Worland, B., Opanowicz, M., Bush, M.S., Doonan, J.H. 2011. A T-DNA mutation in the RNA helicase eIF4A confers a dose-dependent dwarfing phenotype in Brachypodium distachyon. Plant Journal 66 (6) pp. 929-940. 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04555.x

Spadafora, N.D., Doonan, J.H., Herbert, R.J., Bitonti, M.B., Wallace, E., Rogers, H.J., Francis, D. 2011. Arabidopsis T-DNA insertional lines for CDC25 are hypersensitive to hydroxyurea but not to zeocin or salt stress. Annals of Botany 107 (7) pp. 1183-1192. 10.1093/aob/mcq142

Kitsios, G., Doonan, J.H. 2011. Cyclin dependent protein kinases and stress responses in plants. Plant Signaling and Behavior 6 (2) pp. 204-209. 10.4161/psb.6.2.14835

Pignocchi, C., Doonan, J.H. 2011. Interaction of a 14-3-3 protein with the plant microtubule-associated protein EDE1. Annals of Botany 107 (7) pp. 1103-1109. 10.1093/aob/mcr050

Thole, V., Peraldi, A., Worland, B., Nicholson, P., Doonan, J.H., Vain, P. 2011. T-DNA mutagenesis in Brachypodium distachyon. Journal of Experimental Botany 63 (2) pp. 567-576. 10.1093/jxb/err333

Vernoux, 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. The auxin signalling network translates dynamic input into robust patterning at the shoot apex. Molecular Systems Biology 7 508 10.1038/msb.2011.39


Pignocchi, C., Minns, G.E., Nesi, N., Koumproglou, R., Kitsios, G., Benning, C., Lloyd, C.W., Doonan, J.H., Hills, M.J. 2009. ENDOSPERM DEFECTIVE1 Is a Novel Microtubule-Associated Protein Essential for Seed Development in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 21 (1) pp. 90-105. 10.1105/tpc.108.061812

Bush, M.S., Hutchins, A.P., Jones, A.M., Naldrett, M.J., Jarmolowski, A., Lloyd, C.W., Doonan, J.H. 2009. Selective recruitment of proteins to 5′ cap complexes during the growth cycle in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal 59 (3) pp. 400-412. 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2009.03882.x

Wargent, J.J., Gegas, V.C., Jenkins, G.I., Doonan, J.H., Paul, N.D. 2009. UVR8 in Arabidopsis thaliana regulates multiple aspects of cellular differentiation during leaf development in response to ultraviolet B radiation. New Phytologist 183 (2) pp. 315-26. 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02855.x


Kitsios, G., Alexiou, K.G., Bush, M., Shaw, P., Doonan, J.H. 2008. A cyclin-dependent protein kinase, CDKC2, colocalizes with and modules the distribution of spliceosomal components in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal 54 (2) pp. 220-235. 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03414.x

Opanowicz, M., Vain, P., Draper, J.H., Parker, D., Doonan, J.H. 2008. Brachypodium distachyon: making hay with a wild grass. Trends in Plant Science 13 (4) pp. 172-177. 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.01.007 Cadair


Kirk, K.E., Morris, N.R., Doonan, J.H. 1993. Either alpha-tubulin isogene product is sufficient for microtubule function during all stages of growth and differentiation in Aspergillus nidulans. Molecular and Cellular Biology 13 (8) pp. 4465-76. 10.1128/MCB.13.8.4465


Engle, D.B., Osmani, S.A., Osmani, A.H., Rosborough, S., Xin, X.N., Morris, N.R., Doonan, J.H. 1990. A negative regulator of mitosis in Aspergillus is a putative membrane-spanning protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry 265 (27) pp. 16132-16137. Other


Traas, J.A., Doonan, J.H., Rawlins, D.J., Shaw, P.J., Watts, J., Lloyd, C.W. 1987. An actin network is present in the cytoplasm throughout the cell cycle of carrot cells and associates with the dividing nucleus. Journal of Cell Biology 105 (1) pp. 387-95.