Scientific & Support Groups

TSL currently hosts approximately 100 research scientists and support staff. The laboratory houses six research groups headed by Nick Talbot, Jonathan Jones, Sophien Kamoun, Wenbo Ma, Matthew Moscou and Cyril Zipfel. TSL is also proud to have a research partnership with the 2Blades Foundation who have a research group within the laboratory headed by Peter van Esse.

Science within the laboratory is enhanced by access to four technology support groups; Tissue Culture & Transformation, Proteomics, Bioinformatics and Synthetic Biology.

Scientific Groups

  • Jonathan Jones Group

    Pathogens secrete effector proteins into plant cells or their apoplastic spaces. We are interested in how plants resist disease, and how resistance is overcome by pathogens.

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  • Sophien Kamoun Group

    We study how filamentous plant pathogens, such as the Irish potato famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans, infect plants, and the plant processes that are modulated by these pathogens.

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  • Wenbo Ma Group

    We study the virulence function and evolution of pathogen effectors with the aim to understand mechanisms underlying plant immunity and microbial pathogenesis.

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  • Matthew Moscou Group

    Matthew Moscou Group

    Our long-term goal is to identify and clone the molecular components underlying non-host resistance to cereal rusts in grass species, and engineer this resistance in wheat.

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  • Nick Talbot Group

    Research in our group involves the understanding of how fungi are able to cause disease in plants, specifically one of the world’s most devastating diseases called rice blast.

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  • Cyril Zipfel Group

    We study the molecular basis of plant innate immunity, and aim to decipher signaling events linking perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns to the establishment of immunity.

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  • 2Blades Group

    The 2Blades Group

    We perform translational research leveraging the advanced understanding of molecular host-pathogen interactions at TSL to deliver new solutions against relevant plant diseases.

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Support Groups

  • Bioinformatics

    Our range of bioinformatics projects include work in genomics through bioinformatics and citizen science to evolutionary modeling.

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  • Proteomics at The Sainsbury Laboratory


    The proteomics team at TSL addresses the challenge of truly understanding signal transduction and plant immunity from a network biology perspective.

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  • Synthetic Biology

    We design and develop molecular tools to engineer genomes and use natural and synthetic biological parts to produce novel functions in plant cells.

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  • Tissue Culture & Transformation

    Tissue Culture & Transformation

    We support TSL groups by generating large numbers of transgenic plants in a wide variety of species for both model plants and crops.

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Associated Groups

Groups from other institutes work in close collaboration with our research groups

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Administration and Human Resources teams