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 in crops.

IMG_0577Lab members have biological, computational and/or mathematical 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.

  • UntitledWe are now recruiting for a BBSRC DTP PhD studentship exploring the exciting field of plant-pathogen manipulation and cross-kingdom sRNA communication “Transcriptional battles in plant-pathogen interactions: understanding and re-wiring gene regulatory networks to enhance disease resistance” See here for more details. Deadline Jan 5th 2020.


  • 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. A website will be up soon!Flyer 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