Sophie Harrington, first author of “A two-gene strategy increases iron and zinc concentrations in wheat flour, improving mineral bioaccessibility”
Current Position: Systems Research Scientist, Defra
Education: PhD in Plant Sciences, John Innes Centre, United Kingdom
Non-scientific Interests: Reading, running, and choral singing.
I carried out my PhD in Prof. Cristobal Uauy’s group at the John Innes Centre, where I studied the regulation of wheat senescence. I took a variety of approaches to studying wheat senescence, including a reverse genetics screen of the tetraploid wheat TILLING mutant population and a candidate gene approach. Following my PhD, I joined Dr. Janneke Balk’s lab at the John Innes Centre, where I worked to develop crop varieties with improved nutritional content using traditional and transgenic approaches. Alongside characterising transgenic lines with high iron and zinc content, which form the basis of this paper, I used transcriptome data and gene regulatory networks to identify genetic targets for new biofortification strategies in bread wheat and pea. After this position, I took up a brief Post-Doc position with Prof. Wolf Reik at the Babraham Institute, where I researched the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms governing cellular senescence in mice, before moving out of academia. I recently joined Defra (the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) as a Systems Research Scientist. In this role I work with policy teams to build a systemic understanding of environmental and agricultural policy and governance.