Vanessa McMillan

Vanessa joined NIAB in May 2019 as the Technical Manager responsible for DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) Testing of Cereals (barley, oats and wheat) on behalf of APHA for National Listing (NL) and Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR).

Vanessa has a background in plant pathology and, prior to joining NIAB, her main research focus was the development of genetic strategies for the control of foliar and root diseases in wheat.

Professor Gerard Bishop

Gerard has over 30 years’ experience carrying out research on tomato, potato and eggplant. He has studied plant growth and development and helped in sequencing the tomato and potato genomes.

He is eager to see agronomic and genetic solutions enabling sustainable potato production and the adoption of new technologies and breeding techniques.

Alex Talibudeen


Alex Talibudeen is the Technical Manager responsible for DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) Testing of Winter Oilseed Rape, Fodder Rape, Field Bean, and Fodder Kale on behalf of APHA for National Listing (NL) and Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR).

Alex Joined NIAB in July 2010 and has since been involved with the delivery of Agricultural and Ornamental species DUS testing and Seed Certification. During this time, Alex has also specialised in the use of image analysis phenotyping for DUS purposes.

Tim Henshaw


Tim was appointed as Technical Manager for Seed Certification in March 2019. He has responsibility for all species but with an emphasis on Herbage, Oilseeds and Pulses.

Tim joined NIAB in March 2018 as a Technician in DUS testing and seed certification. Prior to that Tim had more than 30 years’ experience in the agricultural industry and studied Agriculture at Harper Adams Agricultural Collage.

Dr Michelle Fountain

Research interests

Michelle specialises in the minimisation of pesticide use in fruit horticulture, improving pollination in fruit crops and incorporating modern fruit growing practices with Integrated Pest Management. The former includes research on improving pest monitoring by developing semiochemical manipulation of insects, optimising the use of biological control agents and enhancing and fostering local landscape ecology to provide the ecosystem service of pest control.

Kevin Middleton

Part of the communications team based in Cambridge, Kevin manages NIAB's social media channels, writes and edits marketing marterials and can often be found at helping at NIAB's events.

Having worked in the scientific charity sector for 15 years, his experience covers copywiting and editing for both digital platforms and print, digital content production and science communications.

Dr James Cockram

Research interests

James is a group leader working on trait genetics at NIAB. After completing a PhD and post-doctoral position at the John Innes Centre, he has worked at NIAB as a Programme Leader since 2013. His research focuses on the application of plant molecular genetics, genomics, to investigate the genetic control of yield, yield components, disease resistance and quality traits in cereal crops, with particular focus on wheat and multi-founder advanced generation inter-cross (MAGIC) populations.


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