Dr Kerrie Farrar


Dr Kerrie Farrar



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 (2000) 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), a BBSRC Institute Career Path Fellow (2007-2013), Research Group leader for Energy Crop Biology (2011-2016), Theme leader for Agricultural Sciences & the BioEconomy (2018-2022) and as Institute Strategic Program lead for Resilient Crops (2023-present). I have been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) since 2014. 

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 perennial C4 grass which grows to a height of several metres every year, even in temperate climates, providing an annual biomass crop for over 15 years. Increasing biomass yield, under a changing climate, 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 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.


  • Biomass crops
  • Perennial grasses
  • Bacterial endophytes





Briones, MJI, Massey, A, Elias, DMO, McCalmont, JP, Farrar, K, Donnison, I & McNamara, NP 2023, 'Species selection determines carbon allocation and turnover in Miscanthus crops: Implications for biomass production and C sequestration', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 887, 164003. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.164003
Farrar, K, Bridio cnydau i ymdopi â newid hinsawdd, 2021, Web publication/site.
De Vega, JJ, Peel, N, Purdy, SJ, Hawkins, S, Donnison, I, 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. 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. 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, no. 1, 5442. 10.1038/s41467-020-18923-6
More publications on the Research Portal