Areas of expertise

  • Food Quality
  • Soil


Professor Thompson's first degree was in Microbiology and Genetics at University College London. His career as a plant scientist began when he moved to Durham University to join a group studying the molecular biology of seed storage proteins. Subsequently, he was awarded a PhD in 1990. An interest in post transcriptional regulation and RNA metabolism led to a postdoctoral position at University of Texas at Austin, working on catalytic RNAs from the algae Chlamydomonas.
Prof Thompson then returned to England to provide a molecular biological dimension to a plant water relations program at Horticulture Research International (HRI), a network of government-funded research institutes serving the horticulture industry. Ownership of HRI, Wellesbourne was later transferred to University of Warwick where he led the Water Use Research Group as Associate Professor in Warwick Life Sciences until 2012 when he joined Cranfield University.

Current activities

Prof Thompson leads the Crop Water Use Group, working on multidisciplinary research to improve crop production when water is limiting. He has a current interest in the use of rootstocks to improve vigour and stress resistance in vegetable crops such as tomato and pepper and is currently working on the molecular genetics of root traits in tomato that may be useful to create new rootstock cultivars. His rootstock research was funded by the EU project Rootopower, and is currently supported by BBSRC and Syngenta in the RootLINK project. He is also developing genetic and genomic resources for studying drought resistance in tomatoes using the wild relatives of tomato Solanum sitiens and Solanum chilense in a project funded by BBSRC and the Indian Department of Biotechnology. He supervises PhD student projects related to aspects of plant development such as fruit abscission and truss branching in tomato. All these projects involve molecular genetic analysis using next generation sequencing, high-throughput genotyping and bioinformatic analysis in collaboration with the bioinformatics group at Cranfield.


EU, BBSRC, DEFRA, Agrochemical industry, Plant Breeding companies.


Articles In Journals