Roots, the hidden half of plant biology, have been an enduring interest throughout my research career since studying nodules during my PhD. I later characterised several of the key hormone signals, genes and mechanisms that control root growth and development using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. In the last decade my research philosophy has shifted radically, believing that major breakthroughs will arise at the interface between disciplines. Grants with mathematicians, soil and computer scientists have recently led to breakthroughs in root-soil imaging and discovery of new adaptive traits that are helping re-engineer crop root systems.
Sue and I have been partners since we met aged 14 in Wales. We waited to have children until I took the Chair at Nottingham. Combining parenthood and a demanding academic position can be challenging at times (for both Sue and I!), but was also very rewarding. The past 18 months has been particularly challenging supporting one of our daughter's recovery from a severe illness whilst managing a large team of researchers. Such life events remind you that your support of (and from) your partner, colleagues, staff and friends is of paramount importance.