Ian Bancroft

Ian Bancroft


Former affiliation

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


Undertaking research on cyanobacteria and cyanophages, Ian Bancroft gain his PhD from the University of Lancaster in 1986 and then worked at Michigan State University as a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Scientist. Moving to the John Innes Centre in 1989 his focus shifted to Arabidopsis thaliana and was involved in the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative. He was appointed to a faculty position at the John Innes Centre in 1998, launching his research program to understand genome structure and evolution in Brassica species.  In 2013 he moved to the University of York as CNAP Chair of Plant Genomics in the Department of Biology, where his group is undertaking genomics research to address the basis of trait variation in oilseed rape.  

Research interests


Overall research aims

Ian Bancroft’s research focuses on the relationships between genome evolution and the control of characteristics of plants that are of relevance to food security, industrial biotechnology or the environment. We use Brassica napus (a species that includes oilseed rape and several other crop types) as a model system for studying the evolution of polyploid genomes under breeding selection.  Exploiting comparative genomics and the transcriptome as a means of analysis of both gene sequence variation and gene expression variation we are uncovering the genetic bases of variation for a range of traits, including fatty acid composition and Vitamin E content of seed oil.

In addition to the work on Brassica species, Ian Bancroft’s research includes the deployment to a range of species of the transcriptomics technology that the group developed to associate trait variation with molecular markers based on both gene sequence variation and gene expression variation, a technology termed Associative Transcriptomics.  


Current research projects

01/01/2014 to 31/12/2019 BBSRC Renewable Industrial Products from Rapeseed (RIPR) Programme. The principal aim of the project is to understand the genetic control, in rapeseed, of the accumulation of compounds representing emerging bio-refining opportunities. 


01/04/2019 to 31/03/2021 Low progoitrin food grade rapeseed. We aim to demonstrate the genetic basis of low progoitrin trait identified in industrial rapeseed, initiate protection by patenting our novel gene variant and move it into a background with a food grade oil profile ready for commercialisation.


01/10/2018 to 30/09/2021 Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability. We aim to apply to mustard rape cutting-edge genomic approaches first developed for oilseed rape in order to underpin improved productivity, sustainability and profitability.


01/01/2017 to 31/12/2021 Rapeseed and vegetable Brassicas: Studies to Optimise Development and Yield. The goal of the project is to elucidate, validate and exploit the interlinked processes that determine trade-offs between developmental traits in oilseed and vegetable Brassicas.


01/03/2018 to 31/03/2023 Oilseed rape genetic improvement network. Aims to promote stakeholder networking, develop tools and resources to address challenges, develop and exploit opportunities for further research and deliver effective dissemination and knowledge exchange.


Research staff

Dr Zhesi He                   Research Fellow in Computational Genomics

Dr Lenka Havlickova       Research Fellow in Rapeseed Genomics

Dr Natalia Stawniak        Enterprise Fellow

Dr Roxana Teodor          Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ms Sophia Cheng            Senior Research Technician

Ms Jayna Bains              Research Technician

Ms Varanya Kittipol         Research Technician


Impact delivery and knowledge exchange

Ian Bancroft’s programme includes a strong theme of delivering impact from genomics.  He collaborates with industrial partners where plant genomics and/or Associative Transcriptomics can be used to underpin commercial crop improvement.  



Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • BRAVO target sequence capture V3

    Steuernagel, B. (Creator), Woodhouse, S. (Creator), He, Z. (Creator), Hepworth, J. (Creator), Tidy, A. (Creator), Siles-Suarez, L. (Creator), Havlickova, L. (Creator), Calderwood, A. (Creator), Woolfenden, H. (Creator), Chinoy, C. (Creator), Bilham, L. (Creator), Corke, F. (Creator), Graham, N. (Creator), Doonan, J. (Creator), Teakle, G. (Creator), Eastmond, P. (Creator), Morris, R. (Creator), Wilson, Z. (Creator), Kurup, S. (Creator), Penfield, S. (Creator), Bancroft, I. (Creator), Irwin, J. (Creator), Wells, R. (Creator) & Ostergaard, L. (Creator), Zenodo, 27 Jan 2021