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Organisation profile

The Sainsbury Laboratory is committed to the highest standard of fundamental and applied scientific research into molecular plant-microbe interactions.

We favour daring, collaborative, long-term research and value scientific integrity through open science and transparency.

We deploy the latest technologies to combat plant diseases and accelerate breeding.

Our discoveries translate to scientific solutions that tackle crop losses caused by existing and emerging plant diseases, particularly in low-income countries.

The Sainsbury Laboratory provides an outstanding training environment that prepares talented postgraduate students, postdoctoral scientists, and early career group leaders to excel in their careers.

Our alumni continue to make ground-breaking discoveries that address real-world challenges.


Research topics at The Sainsbury Laboratory include

  • plant disease resistance genes
  • the biology of pathogen effector proteins
  • innate immune recognition in plants
  • signalling and cellular changes during plant-microbe interactions
  • plant and pathogen genomics
  • and biotechnological approaches to crop disease resistance.


The Sainsbury Laboratory is generously supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and by the University of East Anglia. Funding is also awarded to the laboratory by BBSRC, ERC and other research grant funding bodies through competitively won research grants and, for some research programmes, by commercial companies.

Each of our scientific groups have projects that take fundamental scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the field with the aim of reducing worldwide losses to crop diseases. Current projects include the discovery, engineering and deployment of novel immune receptors in crops, as well as genome editing tools that will enable the generation of novel alleles for crop improvement.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or