Dr Rachael Symonds

School of Biological and Environmental Sciences

I am a Senior Lecturer in Plant Physiology LJMU and I am interested in all aspects of the molecular physiology of abiotic stress tolerance. I have a particular focus on water relations, salinity and heat stress in crop plants. My recent research has specifically focused on underutilized vegetables and crop wild relatives including Amaranth, and wild tomato relatives. Current projects include investigating the drought tolerance characteristics of wild and cultivated Amaranthus species and the development of molecular markers to study the genetic diversity of vegetable amaranth. I have previously held post doctoral positions at The University of Nottingham investigating carotenoid biosynthesis in tomato, and The World Vegetable Centre, Taiwan investigating drought and heat stress tolerance in tropical tomato. I have held teaching positions at The University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus and University College Dublin.


University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, PhD
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, MSc
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, BSc
University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Malaysia, PGCert Teaching and Learning in Higher Education


Ezin V, Symonds RC. 2023. Role of transposable elements in plants under abiotic stress response Plant Transposable Elements: Biology and Biotechnology :277-311 9781774911815

Ezin V, Symonds RC. 2023. Genome editing of tomato crop with CRISPR/Cas systems: Past present and future CRISPR/Cas-Mediated Genome Editing in Plants :191-238 9781774912126

Ezin V, Symonds RC. 2023. MicroRNA-mediated Regulation of Heat Stress Response Plant MicroRNAs and Stress Response :90-119 9781032344492 DOI Publisher Url

Jamalluddin N, Symonds R, Chai HH, Ho WK, Razi F, Mayes S, Massawe F. 2022. Genomic Designing for Improved Abiotic Tolerance in Amaranth: An Integrated Approach of Genetic Diversity and Tolerance Phenotyping Kole C. Genomic Designing for Abiotic Stress Resistant Vegetable Crops Springer Nature 9783031039645 DOI Publisher Url

Jamalluddin N, Symonds R, Mayes S, Ho WK, Massawe F. 2020. Diversifying crops for food and nutrition security: A case of vegetable amaranth, an ancient climate-smart crop Galanakis CM. Food Security and Nutrition :125-138 Academic Press 978-0-12-820521-1 DOI Publisher Url

Suckling C, Kelly M, Symonds R. 2020. Carotenoids in sea urchins Lawrence J. Sea Urchins Biology and Ecology 43 :209-217 Academic Press 9780128195703 DOI

Cleasby P, Symonds RC, Massawe FJ. 2016. Bambara Groundnut for Food Security in the Changing African Climate Lichtfouse E. Springer, Cham DOI Publisher Url

Symonds RC, Kelly MS. 2013. Carotenoids in Sea Urchins Sea Urchins Biology and Ecology Academic Press 9780123972132 DOI Publisher Url

Kelly MS, Symonds RC. 2013. Carotenoids in sea urchins Developments in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science 38 :171-177 DOI Publisher Url

de la Peña RC, Ebert AW, Gniffke PA, Hanson P, Symonds RC. 2011. Genetic Adjustment to Changing Climates: Vegetables Crop Adaptation to Climate Change John Wiley & Sons 9780470960905 DOI Publisher Url

Journal article

Jamalluddin N, Massawe FJ, Mayes S, Ho WK, Symonds RC. 2022. Genetic diversity analysis and marker-trait associations in Amaranthus species PLOS ONE, 17 :1-24 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Jamalluddin N, Massawe FJ, Mayes S, Ho WK, Singh A, Symonds RC. 2021. Physiological Screening for Drought Tolerance Traits in Vegetable Amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) Germplasm Agriculture, 11 :994-994 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Singh A, Siddiqui Y, Symonds RC, Musa M. 2019. Application of Rock Phosphate Levels Influenced the Root Growth, N and P uptake in Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea) Landraces International Journal of Agriculture and Biology, 22 :1167-1172 DOI Author Url Public Url

Pitt SJ, Hawthorne JA, Garcia-Maya M, Alexandrovich A, Symonds RC, Gunn A. 2019. Identification and characterisation of anti - Pseudomonas aeruginosa proteins in mucus of the brown garden snail, Cornu aspersum British Journal of Biomedical Science, 76 :129-136 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Jamalluddin N, Massawe FJ, Symonds RC. 2018. Transpiration efficiency of Amaranth (Amaranthus sp.) in response to drought stress Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 94 :448-459 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Rao ES, Kadirvel P, Symonds RC, Geethanjali S, Thontadarya RN, Ebert AW. 2015. Variations in DREB1A and VP1.1 genes show association with salt tolerance traits in wild tomato (Solanum pimpinellifolium) PLoS ONE, 10 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Sangu E, Tibazarwa FI, Nyomora A, Symonds RC. 2015. Expression of genes for the biosynthesis of compatible solutes during pollen development under heat stress in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Journal of Plant Physiology, 178 :10-16 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Massawe FJ, Mayes S, Cheng A, Chai HH, Cleasby P, Symonds R, Ho WK, Siise A, Wong QN, Kendabie P, Yanusa Y, Jamalluddin N, Singh A, Azman R, Azam-Ali SN. 2015. The Potential for Underutilised Crops to Improve Food Security in the Face of Climate Change Procedia Environmental Sciences, 29 :140-141 DOI Publisher Url

Luoh JW, Begg CB, Symonds RC, Ledesma D, Yang R-Y. 2014. Nutritional Yield of African Indigenous Vegetables in Water-Deficient and Water-Sufficient Conditions Food and Nutrition Sciences, 05 :812-822 DOI Publisher Url

Rao ES, Kadirvel P, Symonds RC, Ebert AW. 2013. Relationship between survival and yield related traits in Solanum pimpinellifolium under salt stress Euphytica, 190 :215-228 DOI Publisher Url

Rao ES, Kadirvel P, Symonds RC, Geethanjali S, Ebert AW. 2012. Using SSR markers to map genetic diversity and population structure of Solanum pimpinellifolium for development of a core collection Plant Genetic Resources: Characterisation and Utilisation, 10 :38-48 DOI Publisher Url

Keatinge JDH, Easdown WJ, Hughes JDA, Yang RY, Symonds R. 2011. Ensuring future food and nutritional security in the context of a warming world with more limited natural resources Acta Horticulturae, 916 :47-58 DOI Publisher Url

Suckling CC, Symonds RC, Kelly MS, Young AJ. 2011. The effect of artificial diets on gonad colour and biomass in the edible sea urchin Psammechinus miliaris AQUACULTURE, 318 :335-342 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Symonds RC, Kelly MS, Suckling CC, Young AJ. 2009. Carotenoids in the gonad and gut of the edible sea urchin Psammechinus miliaris AQUACULTURE, 288 :120-125 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Symonds RC, Kelly MS, Caris-Veyrat C, Young AJ. 2007. Carotenoids in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus: Occurrence of 9 '-cis-echinenone as the dominant carotenoid in gonad colour determination COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY B-BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 148 :432-444 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Thompson AJ, Mulholland BJ, Jackson AC, McKee JMT, Hilton HW, Symonds RC, Sonneveld T, Burbidge A, Stevenson P, Taylor IB. 2007. Regulation and manipulation of ABA biosynthesis in roots Plant, Cell and Environment, 30 :67-78 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Thompson AJ, Jackson AC, Symonds RC, Mulholland BJ, Dadswell AR, Blake PS, Burbidge A, Taylor IB. 2000. Ectopic expression of a tomato 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase gene causes over-production of abscisic acid Plant Journal, 23 :363-374 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Internet publication

Symonds RC. 2018. Amaranthus tricolor: eat your greens (and reds and purples) Author Url Publisher Url

Research Grants Awarded:

LJMU Global Challenge Research Fund, Genetic diversity of nutritional quality traits in leafy vegetable amaranth, Grant value (£): 10000. 2018

LJMU Early Career Researcher development seed corn funding Grant value (£): 9,998. 2019, The genetic and physiological basis for drought tolerance in vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor), Grant value (£): 9866.75.

Other Professional Activity:

PhD Co-Supervisor: The development of Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) approaches for the identification, comparison, and exclusion of bioenvironmental trace indicators in forensic investigations. Researcher: Harry Kelman. 2022.