TSL researchers talk science with MPs

  • Published:

14th to 17th November 2022

Three TSL scientists are offering 1-2-1 briefings and Q&A sessions to MPs, peers and civil servants on the opportunities presented by gene editing, alongside researchers from the John Innes Centre, Earlham Institute and Quadram Institute Bioscience.

This initiative forms part of the Sense about Science’s Evidence Week 2022 and our participation is generously supported by the John Innes Foundation.

Dr Agniezka Witek and Dr Kamil Witek explaining how the rich biodiversity of the potato genus can be used to develop late blight resistant Maris Piper potatoes, during Prof. Robin May's visit earlier this year.

Evidence Week began in 2018 and enables researchers, the public and parliamentarians to meet and explore evidence to better inform the development and scrutiny of policy.

This year we will be explaining the genetic technologies driving the development of disease-resistant crops, exploring the opportunities presented through the development of Defra’s Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, and how delivery against the Bill could be best supported through proportionate and evidence-informed policy and process.

Three of our scientists will be hosting bookable online 1-1 sessions during the week, open to MPs, peers and civil servants between Monday 14th – Thursday 17th November.

Parliamentarians and those from local government can arrange to meet one of our scientists at Virtual Briefings between 10:00 Monday 14th to 12:30 Thursday 17th (you’ll need a .gov email address to book these).

Members of the public can

  • Watch the Opening event public panel discussion via live stream
  • Submit your question now. Tell your MP that Evidence matters and ask how policies are decided on the issues that matter to you

The Sainsbury Laboratory scientists offering 1-to-1 virtual briefings

Dr Josephine Maidment - Scientist
Josephine’s research concerns understanding the molecular interactions between plants and disease-causing microbes, and using this information to deliver disease resistant crop varieties. She works for 2Blades, a not-for-profit organisation, in a research team embedded in TSL. This team is engaged in a collaborative project in partnership with Bayer to identify novel resistance genes to deploy in soybean against the Asian soybean rust fungus.

Availability for virtual sessions:
Wed 16th Nov, 09:00-12:00
Wed 16th Nov, 13:00-17:00
Thur 17th Nov, 12:00-14:45

Dr Agnieszka Witek – Scientist
Agnieszka is a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Jonathan Jones lab at The Sainsbury Laboratory. She is focused on applying genetic modification technologies to improve disease resistance in potato for the UK market.

Availability for virtual sessions:
Tues 15th Nov, 0900 - 11:00; 14:00 - 16:00

Dr Kamil Witek – Team Leader (2Blades)
Kamil is a team leader at 2Blades working on sustainable solutions to major diseases of legumes and Solanaceae.
His team focuses on identification of novel resistance genes against devastating crop diseases. The aim is to create more durable resistance by combing several resistance genes with different modes of action.

Availability for virtual sessions:
Tues 15th Nov, 0900 -11:00; 13:00-14:00

Scientists from the John Innes Centre will also be offering 1-2-1 session – visit their site to find out more.