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Ewen Mullins

Head of Crop Science Department

Research Interests

Investigating the efficacy of innovative technologies (e.g. specifically in the area of breeding techniques, disease diagnostics and surveillance) to support sustainable crop management practises, with a particular emphasis on reducing chemical inputs to offset pest/disease incidence.

Current Projects

  • Delivering the potential of EMT - A novel gene transfer platform for crop biotechnology  
  • Breeding of wheat in order to enhance yield and disease resistance – mutation of the BRI1 brassinosteroid receptor gene (WheatENHANCE; DAFM – RSF funded)
  • Assessing and monitoring the impacts of GM crops on agro-ecosystems, (AMIGA; EU 7th Framework)
  • Training in Innovative and Integrative Control of Cereal Diseases (CerealPath; H2020 Marie Curie ITN)
  • Virtual Irish Centre for Crop Improvement (VICCI; DAFM – RSF funded)
  • Development of biosensors for detection of viral and fungal crop pathogens (SCOPE; DAFM – RSF funded)
  • Genetic Resistance Against Septoria (GSAS, H2020 Marie Curie IF)


  • 1992 - 1996, PhD, University College Cork
  • 1986 - 1992, B.Sc, NUI Maynooth
  • Cassedy, A., Bartola, M.B. Parle-McDermott, A.P. Mullins, E. and O’Kennedy, R. (2022). A one-step reverse transcription recombinase polymerase amplification assay for lateral flow-based visual detection of PVY, Analytical Biochemistry, Vol. 642, p. 114526.
  • Griffin, D., Bourke, L., Mullins, E., Hennessy, M., Phelan, S., Kildea, S. and Milbourne, D. (2022). Potatoes in Ireland: Sixty years of potato research and development, market evolution and perspectives on future challenges. Irish Journal of Agriculture and Food Research, DOI: 10.15212/ijafr-2020-0144, 1-17
  • Lorenzo De Colli, Karl De Ruyck, Mohamed F Abdallah, John Finnan, Ewen Mullins, Steven Kildea, John Spink, Christopher Elliott and Martin Danaher (2021). Natural co-occurrence of multiple mycotoxins in unprocessed oats grown in Ireland with various production systems. Toxins, Vol. 13 (3), 188 – 201.
  • Hehir, J.G., Benbow, H.R., Rathore, D.S., Mullins, E., (2021). Improvements in Genomic Technologies: Applications to Crop Research. In: Cifuentes, A. (Ed.), Comprehensive Foodomics, vol. 1. Elsevier, pp. 113–126. ISBN: 9780128163955.
  • Benbow HR, Brennan CJ, Zhou B, Christodoulou T, Berry S, Uauy C, Mullins E, Doohan FM. Insights into the resistance of a synthetically-derived wheat to Septoria tritici blotch disease: less is more. BMC Plant Biology 2020;20(1):407; doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12870-020-02612-z.
  • Krause, S., Nather, A., Ortiz Cortez, V., Mullins, E., Kessel, G.J.T., Lotz, B. and Tebbe, C. (2020). No tangible effects of field-grown cisgenic potatoes on soil microbial communities. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  • Riaz, A., KockAppelgren, P., Hehir, J.G., Kang, J., Meade, F., Cockram, J., Milbourne, D., Spink, J., Mullins, E. and Byrne, S. (2020). Genetic Analysis Using a Multi-Parent Wheat Population Identifies Novel Sources of Septoria Tritici Blotch Resistance. Genes, Special Issue "Selection Methods in Plant Breeding: From Visual Phenotyping to NGS"
  • Meade, C., Ryan, E., Mullins, E. and Downes, M. (2020). Successful pollen dispersal modulates with flowering phase in field-hybridizing grasses. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol. 120B, No. 1 (2020), pp. 51-60
  • Benbow, H.R., Zhou, B., Brennan, C., Arunachalam, C., Karki, S.J.., Mullins, E., Feechan, A., Burke, J.I. and Doohan F., (2020). Wheat encodes small, effector-like secreted proteins that contribute to resistance to Septoria tritici blotch. Frontiers in Genetics
  • Brennan, C., Zhou, B., Benbow, H.R., Ajaz, S., Karki, S.J., Hehir, J.G., O’Driscoll, A., Feechan, A., Mullins, E. and Doohan, F.M (2020). Taxonomically restricted wheat genes interact with small secreted fungal proteins and enhance resistance to Septoria tritici blotch disease Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Della Bartola, M., Byrne, S. and Mullins, E. (2020) Characterization of Potato Virus Y Isolates and Assessment of Nanopore Sequencing to Detect and Genotype Potato Viruses. Viruses, 12(4), 478
  • Hehir, J. G., Benbow, H.R., Rathore, D.S and Mullins, E. (2020). Improvements in Genomic Technologies: Applications to Crop Research. In: Reference Module in Food Science (Elsevier, Inc.)
  • Raman, A., Doohan, F. and Mullins, E. (2020). Quantification of in planta Zymoseptoria tritici progression through different infection phases and related association with components of aggressiveness. Phytopathology
  • Szoboszlay,  M., Näther, A., Mullins, E and Tebbe, C.C. (2019). Annual replication is essential in evaluating the response of the soil microbiome to the genetic modification of maize in different biogeographical regions. Plos One
  • Brennan, C., Benbow, H., Mullins, E. and Doohan, F. (2019). A review of the known unknowns in the early stages of septoria tritici blotch disease of wheat. Plant Pathology
  • Zuniga-Soto, E., Fitzpatrick, D., Doohan, F. and Mullins, E. (2019). Insights into the transcriptomic response of the plant engineering bacterium Ensifer adhaerens OV14 during transformation. Scientific Frontiers
  • Mullins, E. (2019). Communicating the risks of GMOs: Lessons learnt from an Irish field of cisgenic potatoes. Journal of Experimental Botany
  • Cassidy, A., Mullins, E. and O’Kennedy, R. (2019). Sowing seeds for the future: The need for on-site plant diagnostics. Biotechnology Advances
  • Nugent, B., Ali, S., Mullins, E. and Doohan, F. (2019). A Major Facilitator Superfamily Peptide Transporter from Fusarium oxysporum influences bioethanol production from lignocellulosic material. Frontiers in Microbiology
  • Van der Voet, H., Goedhart, P.W., Lazebnik, J., Kessel, G.J.T., Mullins, E., van Loon, J.J.A., Arpaia, S. (2019). Equivalence analysis to support environmental safety assessment: Using nontarget organism count data from field trials with cisgenically modified potato. Ecology and Evolution.
  • Rathore D.S., Zuniga-Soto E., Mullins E. (2019) Ensifer-Mediated Transformation (EMT) of Rice (Monocot) and Oilseed Rape (Dicot). In: Kumar S., Barone P., Smith M. (eds) Transgenic Plants. Methods in Molecular Biology
  • Thapa, G., Gunupuru, L.R., Hehir, J.G., Kahla, A., Mullins, E. and Doohan, F.M. (2018). A Pathogen-Responsive Leucine Rich Receptor Like Kinase Contributes to Fusarium Resistance in Cereals. Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Kessel, G., Mullins, E., Evenhuis, A., Stellingwerf, J., OrtizCortes, V., Phelan, S., Van Den Bosch, T., Forch, M.G., Goedhard, P., Van Der Voet, H. and Lotz., L.A.P. (2018). Development and validation of IPM strategies for the cultivation of cisgenically modified late blight resistant potato. European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 96, May 2018, Pages 146–155
  • Stellingwerf, J., Phelan, S., Doohan, F., OrtizCortes, V., Griffin, D., Bourke, A., Hutten, R., Cooke, D., Kildea, S. and Mullins, E. (2018). Evidence for selection pressure from resistant potato genotypes but not from fungicide application within a clonal. Plant Pathology, DOI: 10.1111/ppa.12852
  • Rathore, D, Doohan, F. and Mullins, E. (2017). Ensifer-mediated Arabidopsis thaliana Root Transformation (E-ART): A Protocol to Analyse the Factors that Support Ensifer-mediated Transformation (EMT) of Plant Cells. Bio-Protocol, Vol. 7, Issue 19, October 5thhttp://www.bio-protocol.org/e2564
  • Hehir, G., Connolly, C., O’Driscoll, A., Lynch, J., Spink, J., Brown, J.K.M., Doohan, F. and Mullins, E. (2017). Temporal and spatial field evaluations highlight the importance of the pre-symptomatic phase in supporting strong partial resistance in Triticum aestivumagainst Zymoseptoria tritici. Plant Pathology, doi: 10.1111/ppa.12780
  • Young, M. W., Mullins, E. and Squire, R. G. (2017). Environmental risk assessment of blight-resistant potato: use of a crop model to quantify nitrogen cycling at scales of the field and cropping system. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, p1-11, doi:10.1007/s11356-017-9769-8
  • Ortiz, V., Phelan, S. and  Mullins, E. (2016) A temporal assessment of nematode community structure and diversity in the rhizosphere of cisgenic  Phytophthora infestans-resistant potatoes. BMC Ecology,  16:55 DOI: 10.1186/s12898-016-0109-5
  • Thorne, F., Fox, S., Mullins, E. and Wallace, M. (2016). Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Genetically Modified Potatoes in Ireland: An Experimental Auction Approach. International Journal of Agribusiness, DOI: 10.1002/agr.21477
  • Rathore, D., Doohan, F. and Mullins, E. (2016). Capability of the plant-associated bacterium, Ensifer adhaerens strain OV14, to genetically transform its original host Brassica napus. Journal of Plant Biotechnology – Plant Cell and Tissue Organ Culture, DOI:10.1007/s11240-016-1032-3
  • Ali, S.S., Nugent, B., Mullins, E. and Doohan, F. (2016). Fungal-mediated consolidated bioprocessing: the potential of Fusarium oxysporum for the lignocellulosic ethanol industry. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2016, 6:13.
  • Collinge, D.B., Mullins, E., Jensen, B. and Jorgensen, H.J.L. (2016). The status and prospects for biotechnological approaches for attaining sustainable disease resistance. In: Plant Pathogen Resistance Biotechnology (Collinge, D, Ed.), Wiley Publishers, ISBN: 978-1-118-86776-1.
  • Zuniga-Soto, E., Mullins, E. and Dedicova, B. (2015). Ensifer-mediated transformation: an efficient non-Agrobacterium protocol for the genetic modification of rice. SpringerPlus, Vol. 4, Issue 1.
  • Rathore, D., Lopez-Vernaza, M., Doohan, F., O'Connell, D., Lloyd, A. and Mullins, E. (2015). Profiling antibiotic resistance and electro-transformation potential of Ensifer adhaerens OV14; a non-Agrobacterium species capable of efficient rates of plant transformation. FEMS Microbiology Letters,
  • Vary, Z., Mullins, E., McElwain, J. and Doohan, F. (2015). The severity of wheat diseases increases when plants and
    pathogens are acclimatized to elevated carbon dioxide. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12899
  • Phelan, S., Fitzgerald, T., Grant, J., Byrne, S., Meade, C. and Mullins, E. (2015). Propensity for seed-mediated gene flow from potato crops and potential consequences for the coexistence of GM and non-GM potato systems. European Journal of Agronomy, Vol. 67, 52-60.
  • O'Driscoll, A., Doohan, F. and Mullins, E. (2015). Exploring the utility of Brachypodium distachyon as a model pathosystem for the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. BMC Research Notes, 8:132.
  • Mullins, E. (2014). Engineering for disease resistance: persistent obstacles clouding tangible opportunities. Pest Management Science, Vol. 71 (5), 645-651.


  • Transgenesis, Cisgenesis, Gene Editing, Mutagenesis
  • Point-of-use nanosensor-based disease diagnostics


University College Dublin

Tyndall Institute, Cork

Institute of Technology Carlow,

National University of Ireland Maynooth,

National University of Ireland, Galway

John Innes Centre and James Hutton Institute (UK)

Purdue University (USA)

INRA (France)

International Wheat Initiative (www.wheatinitiative.org)

European Consortium for Open Field Experimentation (www.ecofe.eu)