Dr Kerrie Farrar


Dr Kerrie Farrar

Senior Research Fellow


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


De Vega, JJ, Peel, N, Purdy, SJ, Hawkins, S, Donnison, L, Dyer, S & Farrar, K 2021, 'Differential expression of starch and sucrose metabolic genes linked to varying biomass yield in Miscanthus hybrids', Biotechnology for Biofuels, vol. 14, no. 1, 98. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13068-021-01948-4
De Vega, J, Donnison, I, Dyer, S & Farrar, K 2021, 'Draft genome assembly of the biofuel grass crop Miscanthus sacchariflorus', F1000Research, vol. 10, 29. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.44714.1
Mitros, T, Session, AM, James, BT, Wu, GA, Belaffif, MB, Clark, LV, Shu, S, Dong, H, Barling, A, Holmes, JR, Mattick, JE, Bredeson, JV, Liu, S, Farrar, K, Głowacka, K, Jeżowski, S, Barry, K, Chae, WB, Juvik, JA, Gifford, J, Oladeinde, A, Yamada, T, Grimwood, J, Putnam, NH, De Vega, J, Barth, S, Klaas, M, Hodkinson, T, Li, L, Jin, X, Peng, J, Yu, CY, Heo, K, Yoo, JH, Ghimire, BK, Donnison, IS, Schmutz, J, Hudson, ME, Sacks, EJ, Moose, SP, Swaminathan, K & Rokhsar, DS 2020, 'Genome biology of the paleotetraploid perennial biomass crop Miscanthus', Nature Communications, vol. 11, 5442. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18923-6
Jensen, E, Shafiei, R, Ma, XF, Serba, DD, Smith, DP, Slavov, GT, Robson, P, Farrar, K, Thomas Jones, S, Swaller, T, Flavell, R, Clifton-Brown, J, Saha, MC & Donnison, I 2020, 'Linkage mapping evidence for a syntenic QTL associated with flowering time in perennial C4 rhizomatous grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass', GCB Bioenergy. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12755
Grace, O, Lovett, JC, Gore, CJN, Moat, J, Ondo, I, Pironon, S, Langat, MK, Pérez-Escobar, OA, Ross, A, Abbo, MS, Shrestha, KK, Gowda, B, Farrar, K, Adams, J, Cámara-Leret, R, Diazgranados, M, Ulian, T, Sagala, S, Rianawati, E, Hazra, A, Masera, OR, Antonelli, A & Wilkin, P 2020, 'Plant Power: Opportunities and challenges for meeting sustainable energy needs from the plant and fungal kingdoms', Plants, People, Planet, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 446-462. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10147
More publications on the Research Portal