Dr Sinéad Drea

Sinead Drea

Senior Lecturer

Adrian Building, Room 318

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3468

Fax: +44 (0)116 2523330

Email: sd201@le.ac.uk

Personal details

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Genetics Department in the University of Leicester, joining the University in September 2007. This followed postdoctoral research in Yale University, USA, on flower evolution and development and in the John Innes Centre, Norwich, on wheat grain development.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Genetics and my PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics at Trinity College in Dublin. As well as continuing research in these areas, my teaching includes

  • Undergraduate Developmental Biology
  • Evolution and ecology
  • Work on the Leicester Natural Sciences degree program, undergraduate Biology and MSc

Molecular Genetics students carry out research projects in my lab. I am very interested in teaching issues in general and in university teaching policies specifically.

As a plant scientist, I enjoy promoting the field through involvement with the Gatsby Plants Program. I am also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


To view my publications please click HERE


Interests include:

Comparative and evo-devo analyses in plants

Evolution and development of fruits and seeds in cereals (monocots) and poppy (basal eudicot)

poppyOur research investigates how the genetic mechanisms that influence fruit and seed development are conserved or have diversified in species with different fruit types. The differences or similarities could be caused by diversification or conservation in master regulators of development; in their gene sequence, copy number, expression patterns and/or protein functions.

We have two main systems of interest that represent important crops: the capsular fruit of the opium poppy and the grain or caryopsis of the temperate cereals (e.g. wheat and barley). In the latter case, we are using Brachypodium distachyon as a model system and will exploit forward and reverse genetics approaches to investigate caryopsis development.

Poppy is a basal eudicot and Brachypodium is a monocot, so our research will provide insights into the evolution of development throughout the angiosperms.

Funding and people


Our research on poppy is currently funded by The Leverhulme Trust ('The Evolution of Fruit Form' 2011-2014) and Sofia Kourmpetli is the PDRA on that project.




Our research on Brachypodium and temperate cereals is funded by the BBSRC and Philip Hands is a PhD student working on comparative grain development.



  • Professor John Doonan, IBERS University of Aberystwyth
  • Professor Vivian Irish, Yale University
  • Dr. Phillippe Vain, John Innes Centre, Norwich

If you have funding for a PhD and would like to work in our group, contact us.

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Contact Details

Department of Genetics
University of Leicester

Adrian Building
University Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3374
E Mail: genetics@le.ac.uk

Head of Department
Professor Jacqui Shaw

Student complaints procedure


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