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Dr Gary Barker

Dr Gary Barker

Dr Gary Barker
B.Sc.(E.Anglia), Ph.D.(Bristol)

Senior Lecturer

Area of research


Office Life Sciences: 2B17
Life Sciences Building,
24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ
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+44 (0) 117 39 41172


My research interests involve the application of bioinformatics to environmental genomics and crop Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) datasets.  My interest in environmental genomics dates back to my PhD and postdoctoral work on gene flow in algae and cyanobacteria. In recent years I worked in collaboration with Keith Edwards group at Bristol to generate useful SNP markers for hexaploid bread wheat.  I developed pipelines to mine inter-varietal SNPs from exome-capture sequence data and we went on to develop two commercial genotyping arrays from the ~1 million putative SNPs we found.  These arrays are now used extensively by UK wheat breeders to rapidly screen new breeding lines at an early stage for markers linked to useful traits such as disease resistance and their impact has been to drastically reduce the time taken to naturally breed new wheat varieties. The advent of Next Generation Sequencing technology for DNA has made population-scale analysis of microbial communities tractable in recent years, which has enabled me to re-visit this area of my research.  I currently have an EU-funded project to investigate micro-fouling of marine surfaces in which we are using high throughput sequencing for the identification of both taxa and genes associated with different anti-fouling compounds. I am also collaborating on projects using the similar techniques to study the microbial colonisation of retreating glacial fore-fields (in collaboration with Alex Anesio) and of humans who have received a nasal flu vaccine (in collaboration with Adam Finn).  I am also working with Juliet Brodie at the Natural History Museum and Chris Yesson at the Institute of Zoology to develop genotyping by sequencing and novel sonar-based survey methods for UK kelps. I currently have a PhD vacancy funded by the EU to develop bioinformatics approaches to mine novel genes from cold environments. 


  • Cereal Genomics
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • metagenomics


My main research interest is Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) discovery and gene expression analysis in hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). This work primarily uses Illumina Next Generation Sequence data from normalised cDNA libraries, but as part of the UK wheat genome sequencing consortium we are currently using ABI SOLiD whole genome shotgun sequence data. Funded by a BBSRC BBR programme I am responsible for bringing UK wheat genomics data together under the MONOGRAM ubrella. I am curently collaborating with Donal O'Sullivan at NIAB on the discovery of genes involved in Ergot resistance in wheat. Other interests include metagenomics, with a particular emphasis on glacial ecosystems in collaboration with Alex Magno Anesio in the School of Geographical Science.

  • single nucleotide polymorphism (snp)
  • gene expression analysis in triticum eastivum
  • uk wheat genome sequencing consortium
  • ergot resistance in wheat
  • metagenomics
  • glacial ecosystems
  • Memberships


    School of Biological Sciences

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