Wolfson Foundation CEO Visits P3 Facility

Scientists from the Plant Production and Protection (P3) Centre at the University of Sheffield were delighted to be able to welcome Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation to visit their labs at the beginning of April. PhenotypingScanner

The Wolfson Foundation awarded £1 million to P3 in 2016 and this was Mr Ramsbottom’s first opportunity to visit the facilities that the award has funded.

Professor Jurriaan Ton, co-director of the P3 Centre, said, “We are very grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for its support of our research at the University of Sheffield. The funding has enabled us to buy new state-of-the-art equipment for the P3 Centre including a remote scanning platform that can detect disease in crops at an early stage.”

Mr Ramsbottom was shown the scanning equipment by Dr Steve Rolfe, of the P3 Centre, who explained how this phenotyping platform offers technology that could accelerate genetic selection schemes for disease-resistant crop varieties and develop new treatments that can prime the immune system in existing crop varieties.

A number of P3 scientists, including PhD students from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, were on hand to provide a tour of the full Wolfson Plant Phenotyping Facility, which also includes microscopy equipment, state-of-the art DNA sequencing equipment and mass spectrometers for high-throughput analysis of plant metabolites.

LineupThe P3 Centre aims to stimulate development of sustainable agriculture by taking world-class fundamental research to the farm field and solving many of the challenges currently faced in the agri-food sector, for example the necessity to increase agricultural output while simultaneously increasing its sustainability and resilience of crops against climate change.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said “The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity that funds the highest quality research. This is certainly the case in terms of Sheffield’s P3 Centre, and I very much enjoyed my tour of the facilities. Our investment helps to provide a platform for the expansion of this research – across the latest technologies in microscopy, DNA sequencing and mass spectrometry – and the potential is exciting. I was very impressed by the excellence and enthusiasm of all that I met.”