Dr Eric Belfield

Research interests

Mutation and Evolution 

Group Leader: Professor Nicholas Harberd


Since my move with the Nick Harberd from the John Innes Centre, Norwich, my research has focused principally in the following areas:

1. Mutation analysis

Mutations are the source of genetic variation and fundamental to evolution. I use the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana and related species to study spontaneous and environmentally induced mutations using next generation sequencing technologies.

2. Salt tolerance

I’m using next-generation sequencing technologies to determine the genetic variations in wheat varieties that have an increased tolerance to salinity and other stresses.


Other infomation
  • Departmental Lecturer and Tutor (Biological Sciences degree)
  • Biological Safety Officer
  • Growth Facilities Manager

Committee membership:

  • Genetic Modification Safety (Chair)
  • Facilities
  • Safety

Member of Wolfson College


Contact details


Tel: +44 (0)1865 275000
Fax: +44 (0)1865 275074



Belfield, E.J., Ding, Z.J., Jamieson, F.J.C., Visscher, A.M., Zheng, S.J., Mithani, A., Harberd, N.P. DNA mismatch repair preferentially protects genes from mutation (2018) Genome Research, 28 (1), pp. 66-74. DOI: 10.1101/gr.219303.116

Imprialou M, Kahles A, Steffen JG, Osborne EJ, Gan X, Lempe J, Bhomra A, Belfield E, Visscher A, Greenhalgh R, Harberd NP, Goram R, Hein J, Robert-Seilaniantz A, Jones J, Stegle O, Kover P, Tsiantis M, Nordborg M, Rätsch G, Clark RM, Mott R (2017). Genomic Rearrangements in Arabidopsis Considered as Quantitative Traits. Genetics. 205(4):1425-1441. 
doi: 10.1534/genetics.116.192823. 

Khan, A., Belfield, E.J., Harberd, N.P., Mithani, A. (2016) HANDS2: accurate assignment of homoeallelic base-identity in allopolyploids despite missing data. Scientific Reports Volume 6, 5.    

Anne M. Visscher, Eric J. Belfield, Daniela Vlad, Niloufer Irani, Ian Moore and Nicholas P. Harberd (2015). Overexpressing the multiple-stress responsive gene At1g74450 reduces plant height and male fertility in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS One 10(10): e0140368.

Belfield, E.J, Brown, C, Gan, X, Jiang, C, Baban, D, Mithani, A, Mott, R, Ragoussis, J, Harberd, N.P. (2014) Microarray-based optimization to detect genomic deletion mutations Genomics Data. 2: pp 53-54.

 Belfield, E.J, Brown, C, Gan, X, Jiang, C, Baban, D, Mithani, A, Mott, R, Ragoussis, J, Harberd, N.P. (2014) Microarray-based ultra-high resolution discovery of genomic deletion mutations BMC Genomics. 15 (1):.

Jiang, C, Mithani, A, Belfield, E.J, Mott, R, Hurst, L.D, Harberd, N.P. (2014) Environmentally responsive genome-wide accumulation of de novo Arabidopsis thaliana mutations and epimutations. Genome Res.. 24 (11): pp 1821-1829.

Leach, L.J, Belfield, E.J, Jiang, C, Brown, C, Mithani, A, Harberd, N.P. (2014) Patterns of homoeologous gene expression shown by RNA sequencing in hexaploid bread wheat BMC Genomics. 15 (1):.

Jiang, C, Belfield, E.J, Cao, Y, Smith, J.A.C, Harberd, N.P. (2013) An Arabidopsis soil-salinity-tolerance mutation confers ethylene-mediated enhancement of sodium/potassium homeostasis Plant Cell. 25 (9): pp 3535-3552.

Mithani, A, Belfield, E.J, Brown, C, Jiang, C, Leach, L.J, Harberd, N.P. (2013) HANDS: A tool for genome-wide discovery of subgenome-specific base-identity in polyploids BMC Genomics. 14 (1):.

Belfield, Eric, Gan, Xiangchao, Mithani, Aziz, Brown, Carly, Jiang, Caifu, Franklin, Keara, Alvey, Elizabeth, Wibowo, Anjar, Jung, Marko, Bailey, Kit, Kalwani, Sharan, Raggoussis, Jiannis, Mott, Richard, Harberd, Nicholas. (2012) Genome-wide analysis of mutations in mutant lineages selected following fast-neutron irradiation mutagenesis of Arabidopsis thaliana Genome Research..

Jiang, C, Belfield, E.J, Mithani, A, Visscher, A, Ragoussis, J, Mott, R, Smith, J.A.C, Harberd, N.P. (2012) ROS-mediated vascular homeostatic control of root-to-shoot soil Na delivery in Arabidopsis EMBO Journal..

Gan, X, Stegle, O, Behr, J, Steffen, J.G, Drewe, P, Hildebrand, K.L, Lyngsoe, R, Schultheiss, S.J, Osborne, E.J, Sreedharan, V.T, Kahles, A, Bohnert, R, Jean, G, Derwent, P, Kersey, P, Belfield, E.J, Harberd, N.P, Kemen, E, Toomajian, C, Kover, P.X, Clark, R.M, Ratsch, G, Mott, R. (2011) Multiple reference genomes and transcriptomes for Arabidopsis thaliana Nature. 477 (7365): pp 419-423.

Jiang, C, Mithani, A, Gan, X, Belfield, E.J, Klingler, JohnP, Zhu, J.-K, Ragoussis, J, Mott, R, Harberd, Nicholas. (2011) Regenerant Arabidopsis Lineages Display a Distinct Genome-Wide Spectrum of Mutations Conferring Variant Phenotypes Current Biology. 21 (16): pp 1385-1390.

Harberd, N.P, Belfield, E, Yasumura, Y. (2009) The angiosperm gibberellin-GID1-DELLA growth regulatory mechanism: How an "inhibitor of an inhibitor" enables flexible response to fluctuating environments Plant Cell. 21 (5): pp 1328-1339.

Before joining the department:

Belfield E J, Hughes R K, Tsesmetzis N, Naldrett M J, Casey R. (2007) The Gateway pDEST17 expression vector encodes a -1 ribosomal frameshifting sequence. Nucleic Acids Research, 35, (4), 1322-1332.

Hughes, R K, Belfield, E J, Muthusamay, M, Khan, A, Rowe, A J, Harding, S E, Fairhust, S A,  Bornemann, S, Thorneley, R N F, and Casey, R (2006) Characterization of Medicago truncatula (barrel medic) hydroperoxide lyase (CYP74C3), a water-soluble detergent-free cytochrome P450 monomer whose biological activity is defined by monomer–micelle association. Biochemical Journal, 395, 641-652.

Khan, A, Hughes, R K, Belfield, E J., Casey, R, Rowe, A J and Harding, S E (2006) Oligomerization of hydroperoxide lyase, a novel P450 enzyme in plants. Progress in Colloid and Polymer Science, 131, 116-120.

Hughes, R. K., Belfield, E. J., Ashton, R., Fairhurst, S. A., Göbel, C., Feussner, I. and Casey, R. (2006) Allene oxide synthase from Arabidopsis thaliana (CYP74A1) exhibits dual specificity that is regulated by monomer-micelle association. FEBS Letters, 580, 4189-4195.

R K Hughes, E J Belfield and R Casey (2006) CYP74C3 and CYP74A1, plant cytochrome P450 enzymes whose activity is regulated by detergent micelle-association and proposed new rules for the classification of CYP74 enzymes.Biochemical Society Transactions, 34, 1223-1227.

Belfield E J, Ruperti B, Roberts J A, McQueen-Mason S (2005) Changes in expansin activity and gene expression during ethylene-promoted leaflet abscission in Sambucus nigraJournal of Experimental Botany, 56, 817-823.

Mita, G, Quarta, A, Fasano, P, De Paolis, A, Di Sansebastiano, G P, Perrotta, C, Iannacone, R, Belfield, E, Hughes, R, Tsesmetzis, N, Casey, R, Santino, A (2005) Molecular cloning and characterization of an almond 9-hydroperoxide lyase, a new CYP74 targeted to lipid bodies. Journal of Experimental Botany, 56, 2321-2333. (Featured as journal front cover).

Belfield, E, Hughes, R K, Olias, R, Tsesmetzis, N and Casey, R (2004) Expression and characterisation of legume lipoxygenases and hydroperoxide lyases. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 137, S219.