• Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings

    EH9 3JG Edinburgh

    United Kingdom

  • West Mains Road, Kings Buildings, Peter Wilson Building

    EH9 3JG Edinburgh

    United Kingdom

1993 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile


I am a plant and crop physiologist with over 35 years of teaching and research experience. 

My roles are:

  • Curriculum development, management and delivery of undergraduate courses in agriculture and horticulture.
  • Principal investigator and project manager for a range of government and industry-funded projects.
  • Postgraduate research supervision.
  • Knowledge exchange with the scientific community and agricultural industry.


Research interests

My research interests are in developing and applying an understanding of the physiological determinants of resource use efficiency (especially nitrogen use efficiency) and the response of crops to foliar disease to guide variety improvement and crop management practice. Physiological questions are addressed at the tissue, whole plant and crop scales. Research on nitrogen use efficiency is seeking to identify the physiological mechanisms and morphological traits associated with efficient capture and utilization of nitrogen by barley. Research on disease tolerance of barley is focused on quantifying the influence of canopy traits and the source-sink balance of the crop on the impact of pathogens including Rhynchosporium commune and Ramularia collo-cygni on yield formation. 



  • Programme Director for BSc Agricultural Science: Crop and Soil Science run jointly with University of Edinburgh.
  • Curriculum development and delivery for a range of crop science and agronomy teaching.
  • Cross-campus coordinator and module leader for Plant Physiology
  • Module leader for Agronomy, Crop Physiology and Agronomy, Science for Agri-Food Systems: Cells to Organisms, Crop Physiology & Breeding
  • Personal Tutor.


Current projects:

  • 2021-2023 - Quantifying the relative nitrogen use efficiency of foliar and soil applied fertilizer. Funded by Mains of Loirston Charitable Trust.
  • 2020-2022 - WWC: The winter wheat challenge. Funded by Mains of Loirston Charitable Trust.

Previous projects (Selected last 5 years):

  • 2018-2021 - Updating nitrogen and sulphur fertilizer recommendations for spring barley. Funded by AHDB.
  • 2017-2020 - Integrated disease management. Funded by Mains of Loirston Charitable Trust.
  • 2016-2020 - N Circle: Virtual Joint Centre for closed loop cycling of nitrogen in Chinese Agriculture. Funded by BBSRC.


Current project supervision:

  • PhD Understanding post-flowering N dynamics in barley to improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). End date April 2022

Previous projects supervised:

  • 9 PhD projects and 2 MPhil/MSc research projects supervised

Previous employer

2018 - date     Professor of Crop Physiology, SRUC

2013 - 2018    Reader in Crop Physiology, SRUC

2004 - 2013    Senior researcher (crop physiology), SRUC

1987 - 2004    Lecturer in Crop Science, SAC.

1985 - 1987    Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Bangor, Wales

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Effects of root-zone temperature on the growth, water and mineral nutrition of tomato, Oxford Polytechnic

Award Date: 30 Sept 1985

Bachelor, BSc hons (1st) Biology and Geography, Manchester Polytechnic

Award Date: 3 Jul 1979


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