Giles E. D. Oldroyd
Western agricultural systems are reliant on the application of inorganic nitrogen fertilisers that greatly enhance yield. However, production and application of nitrogen fertilisers account for a significant proportion of fossil fuel usage in food production and the major source of pollution from agriculture. Prof Giles Oldroyd studies the mechanisms by which some species of plants are capable of forming beneficial interactions with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which provide a natural source of nitrogen for plant growth. A long-term aim of this research is to reduce agricultural reliance on nitrogen fertilisers and he currently heads an international programme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore the feasibility of engineering nitrogen-fixing cereals. He completed his PhD in 1998 at the University of California, Berkeley, studying plant/pathogen interactions and then moved to Stanford University, USA, to work on nitrogen fixation in the laboratory of Prof. Sharon Long. After 15 years at the John Innes Centre, he recently moved to the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University. He has been recognised by a number of awards for his research: EMBO young investigator; European Research Council young investigator; Society of Experimental Biology Presidents medal; Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit award and a BBSRC David Philips Fellowship.