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The Sainsbury Laboratory

The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) is an independent research institute that focuses on plant health for a sustainable future. It makes fundamental scientific discoveries in molecular plant-microbe interactions and applies these to reduce crop losses caused by plant diseases, particularly in low-income countries.

The Sainsbury Laboratory favours daring, collaborative, long-term research and value scientific integrity through open science and transparency. Research topics at the Laboratory include:

  • plant disease resistance genes
  • the biology of pathogen effector proteins
  • innate immune recognition in plants
  • signalling and cellular changes during plant-microbe interactions
  • plant and pathogen genomics
  • biotechnological approaches to crop disease resistance


By deploying the latest technologies, The Sainsbury Laboratory can apply this knowledge to rapidly respond to emerging plant diseases and accelerate plant breeding.

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Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet
A vision to deliver solutions to global challenges.


Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet or HP³ is an ambitious vision to secure a safer, healthier and more sustainable future through the power of plant and microbial science.


HP3 is a vision unveiled by the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory. The vision outlines a revolution in plant and microbial sciences, integrating advances in genetics, genomics, structural biology, live cell imaging and computational biology leading to new levels of understanding. This will strengthen the position of the UK as a global leader in plant and microbial science.


HP3 addresses three critical challenges facing the planet which must be addressed in a rapidly closing window of time.


These are:

  • Feeding the world – by sustainably increasing crop yields
  • Combatting global health threats – such as antimicrobial resistance and viral pandemics
  • Meeting the challenge of climate change – developing crops resilient to environmental fluctuations and requiring inputs that are low carbon

Watch the HP3 video on youtube here

The Sainsbury Laboratory provides an outstanding training environment that prepares talented postgraduate students, postdoctoral scientists and early career project leaders to excel in academic, industrial and commercial sectors. Their alumni continue to make ground-breaking discoveries that address real-world challenges.


The Laboratory is generously supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and by the University of East Anglia. Funding is also awarded to the Laboratory by the BBSRC, ERC and other research grant funding bodies through competitively won research grants and, for some research programmes, by commercial companies.

Contact details

The Sainsbury Laboratory,
Norwich Research Park,
NR4 7UH,

Tel: +44 (0)1603 450400


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