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, the regulatory networks underlying the defence response, and novel bio-control strategies. We also use systems biology and genomic/transcriptomics to enhance breeding of key traits in leafy vegetable crops – for the UK and for smallholder farmers in the Global South.

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 improved varieties of leafy vegetables – whether to enhance disease resistance, nutritional content, yield under low input agricultural systems, or adapt varieties for new growing systems. 

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.

Screenshot 2021-03-05 at 15.12.33We are currently recruiting for a postdoc to join an interdisciplinary team and contribute to a multi-university project called FixOurFood – co-creating regenerative food systems that optimise the health of people and the planet in an equitable manner. One of the FixOurFood interventions is a new indoor urban vertical farm, Grow It York, hosted at Spark:York. This postdoctoral position will lead on running Grow It York and carrying out research into its environmental and social impacts – quantitative & qualitative research, community & schools engagement and co-production.

This position will suit someone with a science background keen on broadening their skills and working in a truly interdisciplinary project. See more details and how to apply here. Deadline 4th April 2021.


  • 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