Prof John Doonan

BSc Hons (Leeds), PhD (Leeds)

Prof John Doonan

Chair (DLM)


Contact Details


John Doonan has more than 30 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 for crops and model plants grown in either controlled environments and the field.  Collaborations with computer scientists, both locally within Aberystwyth and globally, aim to develop and exploit emerging data acquisition technologies and image interrogation methods based on Artificial Intelligence to provide new knowledge on the basis of productivity in natural and agricultural ecosystems.  

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

Research is or has been supported by grants from the BBSRC, Leverhulme, Interreg Funds, Horizon2020, NSF, FP7, BEAA, and the Welsh Government.

Research Groups


Jones, C, De Vega, J, Worthington, M, Thomas, A, Gasior, D, Harper, J, Doonan, J, Fu, Y, Bosch, M, Corke, F, Arango, J, Cardoso, JA, de la Cruz Jimenez, J, Armstead, I & Fernandez-Fuentes, N 2021, 'A Comparison of Differential Gene Expression in Response to the Onset of Water Stress Between Three Hybrid Brachiaria Genotypes', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 12, 637956.
Wu, D, Wu, D, Feng, H, Duan, L, Dai, G, Liu, X, Wang, K, Yang, P, Chen, G, Gay, AP, Doonan, JH, Niu, Z, Xiong, L & Yang, W 2021, 'A deep learning-integrated micro-CT image analysis pipeline for quantifying rice lodging resistance-related traits', Plant Communications.
Skalska, A, Wolny, E, Beckmann, M, Doonan, JH, Hasterok, R & Mur, LAJ 2021, 'Allotetraploidization in Brachypodium May Have Led to the Dominance of One Parent’s Metabolome in Germinating Seeds', Cells, vol. 10, no. 4, e828.
Ghahremani, M, Williams, K, Corke, FMK, Tiddeman, B, Liu, Y & Doonan, JH 2021, 'Deep Segmentation of Point Clouds of Wheat', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 12, 608732.
van de Koot, W, van Vliet, L, Chen, W, Doonan, J & Nobre Nibau, C 2021, 'Development of an Image Analysis Pipeline to Estimate Sphagnum Colony Density in the Field', Plants, vol. 10, no. 5, 840.
More publications on the Research Portal