Welcome to the Denby Lab. We are interested in plant disease resistance and using systems and synthetic biology approaches to unravel how plants respond to pathogen infection, and the regulatory networks underlying the defence response. We also use systems biology and genomic/transcriptomics to enhance breeding of disease resistance (and other key traits) in crops – particularly vegetable crops.

IMG_0577Lab members have biological and/or computational backgrounds and work together to solve key questions on how plants respond to changing environmental conditions, and how we can breed or engineer plants with enhanced tolerance to environmental stress and disease resistance.

We are located at the University of York in the Department of Biology within the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP). Katherine is also Academic Director of the N8 AgriFood programme. This exciting multidisciplinary research programme across the N8 universities is working to transform food security research in the UK and deliver sustainable, healthy food supply nationally and internationally.

  • We are looking for an enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher to lead a Knowledge Transfer Partnership in New Crop Breeding Technologies with Tozer Seeds Ltd. in Surrey (28 month position).lettuce

    The aim of the KTP is to deploy two ground-breaking innovative breeding technologies to substantially increase the speed, scale and efficiency of vegetable breeding. This will involve the optimisation and development of footprint-free gene editing technologies, as well as development of “speed breeding” protocols for key vegetable crops (reduced generation time through manipulating day length and temperature) to accelerate the launch of new and improved vegetable varieties. The project offers an exciting opportunity to combine world-class research with innovation and commercial impact. Tozer Seeds Ltd has bred innovative vegetable varieties for ~80 years and is the largest independent UK vegetable breeding company. They are recognised by seed companies and growers worldwide for innovation and creativity and have offices in Spain, the USA and Australia.

    See advert here.


  • We are helping organise the 2nd International Plant Systems Biology conference which is supported by EMBO and will be held in Venice 21st – 25th Sept 2020. NOW POSTPONED until April 2021 – will launch website and details later this yearFlyer slide iPSB2020.001
  • We are always interested in hearing from graduates who are self-funded and wish to pursue a PhD.  Please also see Join Us for details of projects in my lab and funding opportunities.

Contact details

Prof. Katherine Denby, Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, UK.

email: katherine.denby (at) york.ac.uk

+44 (0)1904 328760