Postdoctoral Scientist

Robert Heal

staff portrait


I am interested in the development of durable disease resistance in major crops through the use of gene cloning, genetic modification and modern breeding techniques.

During my PhD I aim to clone several genes which confer resistance to the potato pathogens PLRV (potato leafroll virus) and Phytophthora infestans in tetraploid potato and its wild diploid relative Solanum americanum. To do this I will be using exome capture and next generation sequencing coupled with different mapping techniques to identify candidate resistance genes.

I also aim to use this knowledge to develop potato varieties with elevated resistance to these pathogens by transfer of major resistance genes through introgression and genetic modification.

Job history

  • 2019 - 2024

    PhD Student

    The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK
  • 2018 - 2019

    MSc Student – Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement

    University of East Anglia, Norwich
  • 2015 - 2018

    BSc Student – Biological Sciences

    University of East Anglia, Norwich