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Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
College Photo Name Hodkinson, Trevor Roland
Main Department Botany
College Title Associate Professor
College Tel +353 1 896 1128
Fax +353 1 896 1147
PhD University of Birmingham, UK, 1991-1995; Post Doc Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, 1995-1997; Lecturer in Botany, Trinity College Dublin 1997-2006; Senior Lecturer in Botany, Trinity College Dublin 2006-2011; Associate Professor in Botany, Trinity College Dublin 2011-onwards
Details Date
Editorial Board for Plant Ecology and Diversity 2008 onwards
Editorial board for Journal of Plant Research, Japan 2002-2009
European Expert Evaluator, Framework VII (Knowledge Based Bioeconomy, RTD Programme) 2010-
European Expert Evaluator, Framework VI (INCO-Dev-2) 2004-2008
European Expert Evaluator, Framework V (Energy, Environment & Sustainable Development and Quality of Life RTD Programmes) 1999-2002
Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Systematics Association, Society of Systematic Biologists
Awards and Honours
Award Date
Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin 2005
Most-Cited Paper Award 2005, Journal of Plant Research (as first author) 2005
Winner of the Ernst Mayr Award, Society of Systematic Botanists (as second author) 2004
Winner of annual Journal of Plant Research Best Paper Award, 50,000 Yen (as first author) 2001
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Description of Research Interests
My laboratory is currently used by seven postgraduate students with research mainly focussed in fields known as molecular systematics, genetic resource characterisation and population genetics. I have specialist knowledge of the grass family and of forest tree genetics. I collaborate with a number of national (Department of Agriculture, Teagasc) and international institutions (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK; University of Lausanne).
Research Interests
Biodiversity Biodiversity and Conservation Chloroplasts Cytogenetics
Ecological Evolution, Dynamics Forest Genetics Forest Sciences Genetic Mapping, Gene Sequence
Genetics Genomes, Genomics Molecular Biology Molecular Genetics
Molecular systematics Plant biology Plant systematics Tissue Culture
Research Projects
Project title GrassMargins
Summary As part of an EU FP7 funded project called GrassMargins, this project is collecting novel germplasm of Dactylis, Festuca, Phalaris and Miscanthus in Europe and Asia. We are also collating existing geographical and ecological data on the species and their close relatives. When this is complete we will construct ecological niche models and model biogeography to help predict the areas with highest potential for production of each of the crops. Once these factors have been identified breeders will be able to better select germplasm for development of new varieties especially for growth in marginal habitats that are less suited to conventional agriculture. We also conducting diversity and phylogeographic studies of the target grasses using molecular markers. PhD student: Ruby Prickett. Co-supervisor: Prof. Mike Jones.
Funding Agency EU
Programme FP7
Type of Project Research
Date from October 2011
Date to September 2015
Person Months

Project title Isolation of low temperature tolerant beneficial fungal root endophytes of crops
Summary There is an increasing chemical load on the environment, partly due to high agri-chemical inputs. More sustainable methods that would reduce chemical use, while still maintaining crop performance, are needed. Bio-control and bio-fertilisation methods are often longer lasting than chemical applications in their effects, can reduce labour time, and are also generally more environmentally friendly. A group of endophytic root fungi in the Sebacinales order have recently been shown to increase yield, enhance stress tolerance and induce pathogen resistance in many crop plants. This research will investigate the natural occurrence, diversity and efficacy of Sebacinalean and other fungal root endophytes in a variety of Irish plant species. Competent fungal strains suitable for Irish conditions could be used in various forms for crop inoculation. Irish agriculture could significantly benefit from any positive outcomes from this research, with potential reductions in fungicide, pesticide and fertiliser use. Future global warming may result in altered Irish crop growing conditions, and this area of research could therefore become increasingly relevant. PhD Student: Brian Murphy. Co-supervised by Fiona Doohan (UCD).
Funding Agency TCD
Programme College Award
Type of Project
Date from Oct 2012
Date to Sept 2015
Person Months

Project title Phylogenetics of paclitaxel biosynthesis genes in Taxus baccata, Taxus hybrids and allies
Summary Taxus baccata (the Irish Yew) produces a natural diterpenoid commonly known as Taxol that is an effective chemotherapeutic agent against a wide range of tumors especially ovarian, breast and lung cancers. With recent advances in molecular biology, the entire taxol biosynthetic pathway has been elucidated and many of its genes have been characterised. We plan to study molecular variation in these genes to establish differences between species including hybrids and their know parents so that associations can be discovered between paclitaxel production and DNA sequence polymorphism. The primary aim is to discover which genes are most important for paclitaxel production in Taxus baccata and discover variation in these genes. PhD student Patricia Coughlan. Co-supervisor James Carolan. Collaborator Ingrid Hook.
Funding Agency TCD
Programme Part-time study
Type of Project MSc
Date from Sept 2011
Date to
Person Months

Project title Characterisation of lignin and cellulose formation genes in biomass and energy grasses (Poaceae)
Summary PhD Student: Vishnu Mohanan. Co-supervised by Susanne Barth. Collaborators Nicolas Salamin & Elizabeth Kellogg. Grasses have received considerable attention as a source of woody biomass for bioenergy production to provide alternatives to fossil fuels. Potential bioenergy grasses include Miscanthus, maize, switchgrass and several woody bamboos. Most grasses are herbaceous but some subfamilies have evolved woodiness. Bamboos (subfamily Bambusoideae) have evolved a woody character via enhancement of the lignocellulosic component of vascular tissue, especially vessels. Reeds (e.g. Arundo, Phragmites, subfamily Arundinoideae) and Panicoideae (e.g. Saccharum, Miscanthus, Panicum) have also evolved this trait. It is not known if they have achieved this via alternative biosynthetic paths/genes. Grass cell walls differ from other angiosperms in their major structural polysaccharides, pectins, proteins and phenolic compounds. Recent advances in genomics have revealed cellulose synthase‐like (Csl) gene families (unique to grasses) and the CslF gene (unique to Poales, the order to which the grass family belongs). An understanding of how these gene families and lignocellulosic biosynthesis evolved in grasses is key to improving the processing quality of grasses for bioenergy and the manipulation of the genes in future biotechnology and plant breeding. Objectives and methodology: 1) Investigate, via a candidate gene approach, the evolution of genes known to be of importance for woodiness in grasses (e.g. cellulose synthase genes, Cesl, a highly expressed gene family in developing vascular fibres, including CslF, and monolignol biosynthesis genes. 2) Investigate the effects of woodiness on grass evolution (e.g. investigate, using diversification statistics and molecular dating, whether woodiness was a significant key innovation for speciation in the groups that have evolved it).
Funding Agency HEA PRTLI 5
Programme Earth and Natural Sciences, ENS
Type of Project Structured PhD
Date from Sept 2011
Date to Sept 2015
Person Months

Project title Investigating variation of disease resistance and wood formation genes in willow
Summary The proposal aims to characterise native species of willow through DNA sequencing to assess the levels and the nature of natural polymorphism within the species and populations studied. Importantly, they will be assessed for variation in specific genes known to confer tolerance to biotic agents (fungi and pests) as well as genes that affect dry matter and wood density. Efforts will concentrate on Salix viminalis since commercial varieties are available for this species. Willows and poplars (Populus) are closely related (Salicaceae family). Several important genes affecting disease resistance and wood formation are well characterized in poplar and will have homologs in willow. We propose to examine these genes in native willows and compare them to commercial cultivars. Material showing greater gene diversity for a target region such as disease resistance will identify germplasm with potential value for further breeding work. PhD student: Aude Perdereau. The project is a collaboration between Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Teagasc and the National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin. It is jointly supervised by Dr Gerry Douglas (Teagasc (Kinsealy; and Dr Colin Kelleher (
Funding Agency Teagasc
Programme PhD
Type of Project Research
Date from Oct 09
Date to Sept 13
Person Months 36

Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Thomasset M, Fernández-Manjarrés JF, Douglas GC, Bertolino P, Frascaria-Lacoste N, Hodkinson TR, Assignment testing reveals multiple introduced source populations including potential ash hybrids (Fraxinus excelsior x F. angustifolia) in Ireland, European Journal of Forest Research, 132, 2013, p195 - 209
Christin P-A, Osborne CP, Chatelet DS, Columbus JT, Besnard G, Hodkinson TR, Garrison LM, Vorontsova MS, Edwards EJ, Anatomical enablers and the evolution of C4 photosynthesis in grasses, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 110, 2013, p1381-1386
Perdereau AC, Douglas GC, Hodkinson TR, Kelleher CT, High levels of variation in Salix lignocellulose genes revealed using poplar genomic resources, Biotechnology for Biofuels, 6, 2013, p1 - 15
Hodkinson, TR, Jones, MB, Waldren S, Parnell, JAN, Climate Change, Ecology and Systematics. The Systematics Association Special Series Volume 78, Cambridge University Press, 2011, 524 + IXpp
Delêtre M, McKey DB, Hodkinson TR, Marriage exchanges, seed exchanges, and the dynamics of manioc diversity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108, (45), 2011, p18249-18254
TARA - Full Text
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Last Updated:23-SEP-2014