Dr Oscar Gonzalez


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Improving the health impact of wheat starch


I was born into a Mexican farming family with a strong work ethic and interest in agronomical practices. Throughout my life, I have developed a great interest in basic and applied science because I was captivated by the role that science plays in improving people’s lives. This led me to study for an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology Engineering at the Sonora Institute of Technology (ITSON).  I subsequently undertook a Master in Science degree in Natural Resources at the same university, and through this course I was able to delve ‎deeper into the fascinating world of crop improvement.

As a scientific consultant in CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre), I collaborated on the MasAgro (Sustainable Modernization of the Traditional Agriculture) research project. This is a Mexican initiative financed by the Federal Government of Mexico through the Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA) with the objective of increasing yield potential in wheat to foster grain production and reduce global hunger.

In 2011, I started my PhD at the John Innes Centre in the Crop Genetics Department. The project focused on understanding the developmental basis of grain yield potential in wheat, combining physiological and genetic dissection of developmental phases to test specific hypotheses. During my postgraduate studies, I was fortunate to collaborate on two international projects: (i)ADAPTAWHEAT, aimed for the delivery of knowledge, variation and tools to breeding programmes targeting developmental attributes of wheat to improve adaptation and yield, and (ii) the Wheat Yield Consortium, where as part of a large team, we measured over one hundred agronomic and physiological traits of CIMMYT Core Germplasm with the overall aim of raising wheat yield potential. I have participated in four international workshops of the Wheat Yield Consortium (2011-14), three TRIGO (wheat) Yield Potential workshops (2015-17), and three Wheat Improvement Strategic Programme (WISP) genetic courses (2013-15).

Before becoming a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Quadram Institute Bioscience, I briefly worked as a Plant Phenomics Bioinformatician within the Engineering Biology Department of the Earlham Institute. There, I was involved in the development of a high-throughput phenotyping image analysis tool. In my current position, I am working on improving cereal quality for human health.

Throughout my career, the common denominator has always been the improvement of cereal crops and the pursuit of transforming acquired knowledge into technologies to advance people’s quality of life.

Key Publications

González-Navarro, O. E., Griffiths, S., Molero, G., Reynolds, M. P., & Slafer, G. A. (2015). Dynamics of floret development determining differences in spike fertility in an elite population of wheat. Field Crops Research, 172, 21-31.

González-Navarro, O. E., Griffiths, S., Molero, G., Reynolds, M. P., & Slafer, G. A. (2016). Variation in developmental patterns among elite wheat lines and relationships with yield, yield components and spike fertility. Field Crops Research, 196, 294-304

Hazard B, Fahy B, Gonzalez O, Savva G, Ahn-Jarvis J, Warren F, Lovegrove A, Dunn . (2022)

Loss of Starch Synthase IIIa changes starch molecular structure and granule morphology in grains of hexaploid bread wheat

Scientific Reports, 12, 10806

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Ghosh S., Watson A., Gonzalez-Navarro O. E., Ramirez-Gonzalez R., Yanes L., Mendoza-Suárez M., Simmonds J., Wells R., Rayner T., Green P., Hafeez A., Hayta S., Melton R. E., Steed A., Sarkar A., Carter J., Perkins L., Lord J., Tester M., Osbourn A., Moscou M. J., Nicholson P., Harwood W., Martin C., Domoney C., Uauy C., Hazard B., Wulff B. B. H., Hickey L. T.. (2018)

Speed breeding in growth chambers and glasshouses for crop breeding and model plant research

Nature Protocols

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