Rachel Brenchley

Dr Rachel Brenchley

Lecturer in Bioinformatics

  • Peel Building G25
  • T: +44 (0)161 295 5997
  • E: r.c.brenchley@salford.ac.uk

Office Times

“Please contact me via email for an appointment”


I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2004 with a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology. I continued my studies at the University of Manchester and completed the MSc in Bioinformatics followed by a PhD.  My PhD project involved working on computational methods to classify protein phosphatases and I applied these methods to define the phosphatase family in three protozoan parasite genomes. During my PhD I became interested in genomics and went on to carry out research in this area for nearly 5 years as a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Liverpool. I joined the University of Salford as a Lecturer in 2014. 

Research Interests

1) Understanding how genomes evolve over time and determining how species have evolved adaptive traits through these genome changes. This includes:

- Using comparative genomics to determine how the genomes of related plant species differ at the genome level, to identify whole-genome duplications, and at the gene level, to find gene duplications, re-arrangements, gene loss, which leads to the expansion/contraction of certain gene families.

- How the activity of plant transposable elements changes a genome sequence and impacts on gene structure and function.

- How horizontal gene transfer events have brought in new genes and biochemical pathways from other phylogenetic kingdoms to the benefit of plants.

2) The applications of genomics for agriculture.

Research into plant biology is now hugely important, as there are concerns around food security for the coming decades. With an increasing population to feed we need to protect and enhance the productivity of crops and other food plants. I am keen to find ways in which genomics can be applied to improve our food and ensure plants can survive disease and the effects of climate change.


Brenchley R, Spannagl M, Pfeifer M, Barker GLA, D’Amore L, Allen AM, McKenzie N, Kramer M, Kerhornou A, Bolser D, Kay S, Waite D, Trick M, Bancroft I, Gu Y, Huo N, Luo M, Sehgal S, Gill B, Kianian S, Anderson O, Kersey P, Dvorak J, McCombie WR, Hall A, Mayer KFX, Edwards KJ, Bevan M, Hall N. “Analysis of the bread wheat genome using whole-genome shotgun sequencing.” Nature (2012) 491, 705–710.

Winfield MO, Wilkinson PA, Allen AM, Barker GLA, Coghil JA, Burridge A, Hall A, Brenchley RC, D’Amore L, Hall N, Bevan M, Richmond T, Gerhardt D, Jeddeloh JA, Edwards KJ. “Targeted resequencing of the allohexaploid wheat exome.” Plant Biotechnol J. (2012) 10:6, 733-742.

Allen AM, Barker GL, Berry ST, Coghill JA, Gwilliam R, Kirby S, Robinson P, Brenchley RC, D’Amore R, McKenzie N, Waite D, Hall A, Bevan M, Hall N, Edwards KJ. “Transcript-specific, single-nucleotide polymorphism discovery and linkage analysis in hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).  Plant Biotechnol J. (2011) 9:9, 1068-1099.

Wolstencroft K, Brenchley R, Tabernero L, Stevens R. “Analyzing and classifying protein family data using OWL reasoning.” In “Data mining in biomedicine using ontologies.” Edited by Popescu M and Xu D, (2009).

Brenchley R, Tariq H, McElhinney H, Szöor B, Huxley-Jones J, Stevens R, Matthews K, Tabernero L “The TriTryp phosphatome: analysis of the protein phosphatase catalytic domains.” BMC Genomics. (2007) Nov 26, 8:434.