Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows


Rowan Mitchell

Senior Research Scientist
Plant Sciences

Dr Rowan Mitchell did a first degree in Botany and Chemistry at Durham University, UK, PhD in Plant Physiology at Imperial College, UK and more recently an MSc in Bioinformatics from University of Manchester, UK. He jointly leads, with Professor Peter Shewry, the Rothamsted Cell Wall research group. The group focuses primarily on synthesis of arabinoxylan (AX) in grasses, identifying synthetic genes and manipulating these to elucidate function and for genetic improvement. Target applications include decreasing AX solubility in wheat grain for non-food use, increasing AX content in wheat flour to enhance dietary fibre in the human diet and increasing digestibility of biomass in other grass species for ruminant feed and biofuel generation.

+44 (0) 1582 763 133 ext: +44 1582 938469
Rothamsted Research, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ


Kan YC, Wan YF, Beaudoin F, Leader DJ, Edwards K, Poole R, Wang DW, Mitchell RAC, Shewry PR (2006). Transcriptome analysis reveals differentially expressed storage protein transcripts in seeds of Aegilops and wheat. Journal of Cereal Science 44: 75-85.

Mitchell RAC, Castells-Brooke N, Taubert J, Verrier PJ, Leader DJ, Rawlings CJ (2007). Wheat Estimated Transcript Server (WhETS): a tool to provide best estimate of hexaploid wheat transcript sequence. Nucleic Acids Research 35: W148-W151.

Mitchell RAC, Dupree P, Shewry PR (2007). A novel bioinformatics approach identifies candidate genes for the synthesis and feruloylation of arabinoxylan. Plant Physiology 144: 43-53.

Wan YF, Poole RL, Huttly AK, Toscano-Underwood C, Feeney K, Welham S, Gooding MJ, Mills C, Edwards KJ, Shewry PR, Mitchell RAC (2008). Transcriptome analysis of grain development in hexaploid wheat. Bmc Genomics 9: Article 121.

Wilkinson M, Wan YF, Tosi P, Leverington M, Snape J, Mitchell RAC, Shewry PR (2008). Identification and genetic mapping of variant forms of puroindoline b expressed in developing wheat grain. Journal of Cereal Science 48: 722-728.

Shewry PR, Underwood C, Wan YF, Lovegrove A, Bhandari D, Toole G, Mills ENC, Denyer K, Mitchell RAC (2009). Storage product synthesis and accumulation in developing grains of wheat. Journal of Cereal Science 50: 106-112.

Wan YF, Underwood C, Toole G, Skeggs P, Zhu T, Leverington M, Griffiths S, Wheeler T, Gooding M, Poole R, Edwards KJ, Gezan S, Welham S, Snape J, Mills ENC, Mitchell RAC, Shewry PR (2009). A novel transcriptomic approach to identify candidate genes for grain quality traits in wheat. Plant Biotechnology Journal 7: 401-410.

Zhang YH, Primavesi LF, Jhurreea D, Andralojc PJ, Mitchell RAC, Powers SJ, Schluepmann H, Delatte T, Wingler A, Paul MJ (2009). Inhibition of SNF1-Related Protein Kinase1 Activity and Regulation of Metabolic Pathways by Trehalose-6-Phosphate. Plant Physiology 149: 1860-1871.

Nemeth C, Freeman J, Jones HD, Sparks C, Pellny TK, Wilkinson MD, Dunwell J, Andersson AAM, Aman P, Guillon F, Saulnier L, Mitchell RAC, Shewry PR (2010). Down-regulation of the CSLF6 gene results in decreased (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucan in endosperm of wheat.. Plant Physiology 152: 1209-1218.

Toole, G.A., Le Gall, G., Colquhoun, I.J., Nemeth, C., Saulnier, L., Lovegrove, A., Pellny, T., Wilkinson M.D., Freeman, J., Mitchell, R.A.C., Mills, E.N.C., Shewry, P.R. (2010) Temporal and spatial changes in cell wall composition in developing grains of wheat cv. Hereward. Planta, 229: 667-680

Martinez E., Delatte T., de Jong G., Somsen G., Nunes C., Primavesi L., Coello P., Mitchell R.A.C., Paul M.J. (2011) Wheat grain development is characterised by remarkable trehalose 6-phosphate accumulation pre-grain filling: tissue distribution and relationship to SNF1-related protein kinase1 activity. Plant Physiol. 156: 373-381.

Pellny TK, Lovegrove A, Freeman J, Tosi P, Love CG, Knox JP, Shewry PR, Mitchell RAC (2012) Cell Walls of Developing Wheat Starchy Endosperm: Comparison of Composition and RNA-Seq Transcriptome. Plant Physiology 158: 612-627

Shewry PR, Mitchell RAC, Tosi P, Wan YF, Underwood C, Lovegrove A, Freeman J, Toole GA, Mills ENC, Ward JL (2012) An integrated study of grain development of wheat (cv. Hereward). Journal of Cereal Science 56: 21-30

Semenov MA, Mitchell RAC, Whitmore AP, Hawkesford MJ, Parry MAJ, Shewry PR (2012) COMMENTARY: Shortcomings in wheat yield predictions. Nature Climate Change 2: 380-382

Anders N, Wilkinson MD, Lovegrove A, Freeman J, Tryfona T, Pellny TK, Weimar T, Mortimer JC, Stott K, Baker JM, Defoin-Platel M, Shewry PR, Dupree P, Mitchell RAC (2012) Glycosyl transferases in family 61 mediate arabinofuranosyl transfer onto xylan in grasses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109: 989-993

Lovegrove A, Wilkinson MD, Freeman J, Pellny TK, Tosi P, Saulnier L, Shewry PR, Mitchell RAC (2013). RNA Interference Suppression of Genes in Glycosyl Transferase Families 43 and 47 in Wheat Starchy Endosperm Causes Large Decreases in Arabinoxylan Content. Plant Physiol. 163: 95-107

Molinari HBC, Pellny TK, Freeman J, Shewry PR, Mitchell RAC (2013) Grass cell wall feruloylation: distribution of bound ferulate and candidate gene expression in Brachypodium distachyon. Frontiers in Plant Science 4: 50.

Mitchell RAC, Lovegrove A, Shewry PR (2013) Lunasin in cereal seeds: What is the origin? Journal of Cereal Science 57: 267-269




MSc in Bioinformatics (University of Manchester)


PhD in Plant Science (Imperial College, London University)


BSc in Botany and Chemsitry (University of Durham)

Measures of esteem


  • Exploiting wheat RNA Seq to understand cell wall synthesis in grasses: Plant Genomics Congress, London 12-13th May


  • Xylan synthesis in grasses and dicots: XII Cell Wall meeting, nantes, France
  • Dietary Fiber: Wheat genes for enhanced human nutrition: Invited Keynote presentation, International Wheat Genetics Symposium, Yokohama, Japan
  • examiner of PhD defence, univesity of Copenhagen: invited to be one of two external examiners


  • main supervisor of Lucy Hyde PhD


  • Wheat Endosperm Cell Wall â?? A Model For Studying: presentation given at Gordon Cell Wall conference, Bryant University, RI, USA


  • Manipulation of arabinoxylan synthesis in wheat en: Invited presentation at Cell Wall Biosynthesis meeting, Asilomar, CA, USA, June 2008


  • European Molecular Biology Organisation Long-term fellowship