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Oak Park Staff

Susanne Barth Susanne Barth
Title Research Officer
Job Remit Crop Genetics and Genomics
Phone Number +353 59 9170290

Research Interests

My research programme is focused on forage species and cereals: perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), white clover and Miscanthus spp. and other bioenergy grasses. I am interested in genetic resources, reproductive traits including self-incompatibility and flowering time, biomass yield and heterosis, water soluble carbohydrates, fatty acid composition and abiotic stresses. Further genomics activities are the sequencing of the nuclear, chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes of ryegrass and the development of functional tools based on the sequence information.

Currently I am coordinating the FP7 funded cooperative GrassMargins project. See

I am an active accepting editor with the journal Annals of Botany (; 2014 Impact factor 3.295, 5 year impact factor 4.001).

In 2012 I edited a forage breeding book deriving from the 2011 Eucarpia Fodder Crops and Amenity Grasses Meeting which was held in Dublin: Barth, S. & Milbourne, D. (eds) (2012) Breeding Strategies for sustainable forage and turf grass improvement, Springer, Dordrecht, 2012 (ISBN 978-94-007-4554-4) (DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-4555-1).


Funding for the projects comes from FP7, Teagasc & The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Current Lab Members

  • Sai Arojju Krishna (October 2013 to September 2017)

  • Ewan Mollison (January 2013 to December 2016, permanently based at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee)

  • Janaki Velmurugan (May 2011 to April 2015)

  • Tiina Lynch (October 2011 to March 2016)

  • Thibauld Michel (March 2014 to August 2015)

  • Dr. Manfred Klaas (March 2012 to September 2015)

Former Lab Members

  • Dr. Stephen Byrne (Postdoctoral Researcher, January 2007 to January 2010)
  • Dr. Trina Vellani (February 2013 to November 2013)
  • Jeanne Mehenni-Ciz (plant genetics technician)
  • Marialaura Destefanis (plant genetics technician)
  • Angela Ruggiero (plant genetics technician)
  • Nora Casey
  • Sarah McGrath (graduated with PhD November 2008)
  • Ulrike Anhalt (graduated with PhD July 2009)
  • Bicheng Yang (graduated with PhD December 2009)
  • Luca Cotecchia (graduated with MSc July 2010)
  • Kerstin Diekmann (graduated with PhD November 2010)
  • Alexandre Foito (graduated with PhD June 2011)
  • Rob van den Bekerom (graduated with PhD November 2011)
  • Celine Tomaszewski (graduated with PhD August 2012)
  • Mariateresa de Cesare (graduated with PhD November 2012)
  • Mauro di Fenza (PhD thesis submitted January 2013)
  • Chloe Manzanares (PhD thesis submitted February 2013)

Current Projects

  • ‘Virtual Irish Centre of Crop Improvement’ (VICCI), DAFM Research Stimulus Fund 14/S/819 (Work package leader)
  • ‘GrassMargins – Enhancing biomass production from marginal lands with perennial grasses’, FP7 collaborative project (coordinator) (KBBE-2011-5-289461)
  • ‘Classical and genotypic methods of increasing grassland productivity through breeding’ RMIS 6410: This is a collaborative project led by Dr. Michael O’Donovan in collaboration with Dr. Dan Milbourne and Dr. Patrick Conaghan. Financed under the “Research Stimulus Fund” of the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine (DAFM) (11/S/109).
  • ‘Development of genome based resources and SNP discovery for perennial ryegrass genetics and breeding ’ RMIS 6074; joint project with Dr. Dan Milbourne; Teagasc core funding

Past Projects

  • “Generation of marker tools towards the mapping and isolation of key agronomic traits in Lolium perenne L.”RMIS 5244; collaboration with Dr. Daniel Thorogood/IBERS, Dr. Ian Armstead/IBERS, Wales and Prof. Chris Franklin/University of Birmingham, UK ; Teagasc core funding (2004 to 2013)

  • "Exploiting the genetic diversity within and among ecotypes of Lolium perenne collected in old pastures all over Ireland" RMIS 5229; collaboration on this project with Dr. Trevor Hodkinson Trinity College Dublin. Financed in part between 2003 to 2007 from the Irish Department of Agriculture and Food under the “Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture” programme.

  • "Development of metabolomics to benefit marker assisted breeding of perennial ryegrass” RMIS 5622: This is a collaborative project with Dr. Derek Stewart, SCRI Dundee and Dr. Claire Halpin, The University of Dundee. Financed under the “Research Stimulus Fund” of the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) (RSF 06 346).

  • "The organelle genomes of perennial ryegrass: Sequence discovery and genomics for basic and applied agricultural research" RMIS 5532; collaboration on different aspects of this project with Dr. Trevor Hodkinson, Trinity College Dublin and Prof. Phil Dix, NUI Maynooth, financed under the Teagasc Vision programme

  • "Investigations into the biological and genetic controls of fatty acid levels in perennial ryegrass” RMIS 5620: collaborative project with Dr. Tommy Boland, University College Dublin and Dr. David McGilloway, Department of Agriculture and Food, Crop Variety Evaluation Backweston, Leixlip. Financed under the “Research Stimulus Fund” of the Irish Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFF) (RSF 06 330).

  • "Developing advanced technologies and resources for conventional and “-omics”-based white clover breeding strategies” RMIS 5762; joint project with Dr. Dan Milbourne, financed under the “Research Stimulus Fund” of the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) (RSF 07 566)

  • "Developing a knowledge-base for the biotechnology-driven exploitation of self-incompatibility in white clover breeding.” RMIS 5761; joint project with Dr. Dan Milbourne, Teagasc core funding

  • "Developing Sustainable Low-Input Fodder and Energy Maize Production Systems for Temperate Conditions.” RMIS 5769; project partner on project coordinated by Dr. Thomas Gallagher/UCD, financed under the “Research Stimulus Fund” of the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) (RSF 07 501)

  • "Genomics of the biomass crop Miscanthus: characterizing variation in the plastid genome and assessing nuclear ploidy variation.” RMIS 5763; Teagasc core funding

Select Publications

  • Foito A, Hackett CA, Byrne SL, Stewart D & Barth S (2014) Quantitative trait loci analysis to study the genetic regulation of non-polar metabolites in perennial ryegrass. Metabolomics, doi:10.1007/s11306-014-0703-5

  • Hodkinson TR, Klaas M, Jones MB, Prickett R & Barth S (2014) Miscanthus: a case study for the utilization of natural genetic variation. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 1–20: doi:10.1017/S147926211400094X 

  • Foito, A., Byrne, S.L., Hackett, C., Hancock, R.D., Stewart, D. & Barth, S. (2013) Short-term response in leaf metabolism of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) to alterations in nitrogen supply. Metabolomics 9: 145-156 (DOI: 10.1007/s11306-012-0435-3)

  • Nagy, I., Barth, S., Mehenni-Ciz, J., Abberton. M.T. & Milbourne, D. (2013) A hybrid next generation transcript sequencing-based approach to identify allelic and homeolog-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms in allotetraploid white clover. BMC Genomics (DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-14-100)

  • Diekmann, K, Hodkinson T.R. & Barth, S. (2012) New chloroplast microsatellite markers prove to be suitable for assessing genetic diversity of Lolium perenne and other related grass species. Annals of Botany (doi:10.1093/aob/mcs044)

  •  Tomaszewski, C., Byrne, S.L., Foito, A., Kildea, S., Kopecký, D., Doležel, J., Heslop-Harrison, P.(J.S.), Stewart, D. & Barth, S. (2012) Genetic linkage mapping in an F2 perennial ryegrass population using DArT markers. Plant Breeding, doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0523.2011.01944.x

  •  Klaas, M., Yang, B., Bosch, M., Thorogood, D., Armstead, I., Franklin, F.C.H., & Barth, S. (2011) Progress towards elucidating the mechanisms of self-incompatibility in the grasses: further insights from studies in Lolium. Annals of Botany 108(4): 677-685 (doi:10.1093/aob/mcr186)

  •  Byrne, S.L., Foito, A., Hedley, P.E., Morris, J.A., Stewart, D., & Barth, S. (2011) Early response mechanisms of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) to phosphorus deficiency. Annals of Botany 107:243-254 (doi:10.1093/aob/mcq234)

  •  McGrath, S., Hodkinson, T.R., Charles, M.T., Zen, D., & Barth, S. (2010) Variation in inflorescence characters and inflorescence development in ecotypes and cultivars of Lolium perenne L. Grass and Forage Science, 65: 398-409 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2494.2010.00759.x)

  •  De Cesare, M., Hodkinson T.R., & Barth S (2010) Chloroplast DNA markers (cpSSRs, SNPs) for Miscanthus, Saccharum and related grasses (Panicoideae, Poaceae). Molecular Breeding, 26: 539-544 (DOI: 10.1007/s11032-010-9451-z)

  •  Byrne, S., Durandeau, K., Nagy I., & Barth, S. (2010) Identification of ABC transporters from Lolium perenne L. that are regulated by toxic levels of Selenium. Planta 231:901-911 (doi:10.1007/s00425-009-1096-y)

  •  Foito, A., Byrne, S.L., Shepherd, T., Stewart, D., & Barth, S. (2009) Transcriptional and metabolic profiles of Lolium perenne L. genotypes in response to a PEG-induced water stress, Plant Biotechnology Journal 7:719-732 (DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7652.2009.00437.x)

  •  Anhalt, U.C.M., Heslop-Harrison, J.S. (Pat), Piepho, H.P., Byrne S.L. & Barth, S. (2009) Quantitative trait loci mapping for biomass yield traits in a Lolium inbred line derived F2 population, Euphytica 170: 99-107 (DOI : 10.1007/s10681-009-9957-9)

  •  Yang, B., Thorogood, D., Armstead, I., Franklin, F.C.H. & Barth, S. (2009) Identification of genes expressed during the self-incompatibility (SI) response in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Plant Molecular Biology, 70: 709-723, DOI : 10.1007/s11103-009-9501-2

  •  Diekmann, K., Hodkinson, T.R., Wolfe, K.H., Bekerom, R.v.d., Dix, P.J. & Barth, S. (2009) Complete chloroplast genome sequence of a major allogamous forage grass species, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), DNA Research, 16(3): 165-176, DOI:10.1093/dnares/dsp008

  •  Anhalt, U.C.M., Heslop-Harrison, J.S. (Pat), Piepho, H.P., Byrne S.L. & Barth, S. (2009) Quantitative trait loci mapping for biomass yield traits in a Lolium inbred line derived F2 population, Euphytica, DOI : 10.1007/s10681-009-9957-9.

  •  Diekmann, K., Hodkinson, T.R., Fricke, E., & Barth, S. (2008) An optimized Chloroplast DNA Extraction Protocol for Grasses (Poaceae) Proves suitable for Whole Plastid Genome Sequencing and SNP Detection. PloS One 3(7): e2813. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002813

  •  Yang, B., Thorogood, D., Armstead, I. & Barth, S. (2008) How far are we from unravelling self-incompatibility in grasses? New Phytologist 178: 740-753

  •  Anhalt, UCM, Heslop-Harrison, P (J.S.), Byrne, S., Guillard, A., & Barth, S (2008) Segregation distortion in Lolium - evidence for genetic effects. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 117: 297-306