I obtained my BSc Biology from the University of York, with a year in Industry in Pharmaceutical research. After graduating I undertook a Fast-Moving-Consumer-Goods Graduate Scheme which was great industrial experience. I am now excited to return to Plant Biotechnology which I specialised in during my undergraduate degree. My current project excites me because it offers the opportunity to use innovative DNA-nanotechnology to address an important problem facing scientists wanting to develop better crops, which is the very low efficiency of gene targeting (a type of precise genome engineering) in plants.
The recent development of targeted modification of plant genomes heralds a new era in biotechnology for the 21st century. My project will develop new approaches for plant genome engineering, based on DNA-origami nanotechnology, to design DNA structures that promote genome integration at a targeted genomic site. This technology will be combined with CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases, a biotechnological tool that is revolutionising modern biology. The application of nanotechnology to CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene targeting has the promise of high throughput precision engineering of the plant genome, key to the development of synthetic biology and the new generation of crop plants. These biotechnology approaches will be essential if we are to meet the demand required by the growing world population for sustainable increased food and energy production against the challenges of climate change, limited land for cultivation and increased pressure on natural resources.