Jack Parsons

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Personal photo - Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons

Doctoral Student at the Doctoral Training Centre

Rex Richards Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QU



  • Following on from my undergraduate studies in Biotechnology and Enterprise at the University of Manchester, I have joined the Doctoral Training Partnership programme at the University of Oxford with the aim of completing DPhil studies in the area of Plant Biotechnology and Global Food Security research. During this time, I hope to make important contributions to research aiming to tackle the growing challenges that currently face global food production.

    Research Interests

  • My research interests within the Doctoral Training Centre focus specifically on applying cutting edge bioscience techniques to the challenge of global food security. To this end I intend to harness the skillset provided by the Interdisciplinary Bioscience programme to investigate the molecular biological process underpinning the phenotype of nodulation in leguminous crop species. This symbiotic alliance between rhizobial organisms and root systems provides an important source of bioavailable Nitrogen, required for plant growth. However, this trait is not present in many globally important crops (such as wheat and maize), and overcoming resulting Nitrogen limitation often involves extensive use of synthetic fertilisers, which are both environmentally polluting and expensive. The ability to engineer a nodulating phenotype into globally important crop species is almost certain to bring about a sustainable increase in crop yields and aid in the provision of greater global food security. This work is currently heavily funded by various agencies such as the BBSRC, NSF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whilst my own research at the University of Oxford is funded by a New College Scholarship.

    Qualifications and Awards

  • University of Manchester 2011-15. BSc (Hons) Biotechnology and Enterprise - First Class Honours
  • Biotechnology Programme Prize - Outstanding Achievement Award 2013 & 2015

    Prior Research Experience

  • Scientific Researcher, Respiratory Disease Research, Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany 2013-14. Extensive in vivo laboratory experience in the field of airway disease research, specifically focussing on modelling of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and viral exacerbations thereof. A wide variety of techniques were implemented under BSL-2 laboratory conditions including viral infection protocols, MSD cytokine multiplex assays, Sysmex cell analysis, qRT-PCR and FACS. A novel COPD modelling platform was established and is currently in use.
  • Plastid genome biotechnology - novel strategies in laboratory directed protein evolution, University of Manchester 2015. This three month research project used a plethora of molecular research tecnhiques to generate novel mutations in RubisCO subunits, with the aim of characterising to higher resolution the functional role of RubisCO protein residues. The suite of genetic tools generated is now being used as part of a doctoral research project which promises to generate high impact publications.


  • Jack has worked previously as a nature guide and ecological researcher at the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecuador, and maintains and interest in conservation and biodiversity science. He spent a season ski instructing in Canada and continued this role during his time with Boehringer Ingelheim as an instructor in their company ski development programme. As a keen linguist he has a fluent working proficiency in German. When not with the Doctoral Training Centre Jack can often be found on the rivers around Oxford, rowing with the New College Boat Club.