Dr Kerrie Farrar


Dr Kerrie Farrar

Principal Investigator


Contact Details


I graduated in 1996 with a Plant Sciences degree from the University of Edinburgh. I obtained a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Durham and spent three years (2000-2003) as a postdoc at Aberystwyth University. I have worked at IGER/IBERS since January 2004 as a postdoc (2004-2007) and started as a BBSRC Institute Career Path Fellow here on July 1st (2007-2013) and most recently as research group leader for Energy Crop Biology (2011-present).

Research in my lab aims to understand both plant development and plant-microbe interactions, with a focus on the energy grass Miscanthus. Miscanthus is a tall C4 grass from South East Asia which grows to a height of several metres even in temperate climates. Increasing biomass yield is essential in order to replace petroleum-based energy, liquid transport fuels, and bulk chemicals.

Additional Information

I participated in the first UKERC/NESTA Carbon Crucible programme, and subsequently the establishment of the THE award winning Welsh Crucible. I have a personal interest in promoting diversity among the research community, and have been appointed an Aberystwyth University Equalities Champion.
I co-organise the BioEnergy Grass Genomics workshop at the annual Plant and Animal Genome Conference.



Research in the Farrar lab focuses on increasing biomass yield in energy crops in order to replace fossil fuel usage, sequester atmospheric carbon, & ultimately contribute to climate change mitigation. In order to achieve this, there are two main research areas: Plant developmental biology & genetics and Plant-soil-microbe interactions.


  • Energy crops
  • Perennial grasses
  • Bacterial endophytes

Current Projects

Lab members:

Sarah Hawkins (Lab Manager), Gareth Raynes ('Endophytic bacteria: co-existence and chemical warfare', BBSRC iCASE studentship), Rebecca Entwistle (‘Targeting extremophilic bacterial endosymbionts for plant growth promotion and phytoremediation applications’, IBERS PhD studentship), TBA (Dissecting perenniality – molecular & physiological factors regulating rhizome formation and function, BBSRC/IBERS PhD students


Farrar, K, Heaton, EA & Trindade, LM 2018, 'Optimizing Miscanthus for the Sustainable Bioeconomy: From Genes to Products', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 9, 878. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00878
McCalmont, J, Mcnamara, N, Donnison, I, Farrar, K & Clifton-Brown, J 2017, 'An interyear comparison of CO2 flux and carbon budget at a commercial-scale land-use transition from semi-improved grassland to Miscanthus x giganteus', GCB Bioenergy, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 229-245. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12323
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. https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erx339
van der Weijde, T, Huxley, L, Hawkins, S, Sembiring, EH, Farrar, K, Dolstra, O, Visser, RGF & Trindade, LM 2017, 'Impact of drought stress on growth and quality of miscanthus for biofuel production', GCB Bioenergy, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 770-782. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12382
McCalmont, J, McNamara, N, Donnison, I, Farrar, K & Clifton-Brown, J 2017, 'Partitioning of ecosystem respiration of CO2 released during land-use transition from temperate agricultural grassland to Miscanthus x giganteus: Ecosystem respiration under Miscanthus', GCB Bioenergy, vol. 9, no. 4, GCB-B-OR-16-031, pp. 710-724. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12380
More publications on the Research Portal