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Paul Shaw

Staff picture: Paul Shaw
Information and Computational Sciences
Information and Computational Sciences
Senior Research Scientist
+44 (0)1382 568864

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


Paul focuses on software development for plant genetic resources, genetics and plant breeding. He leads several projects where his research contributes towards making experimental data including plant passport, pedigree, phenotypic and genotypic data available to collaborators, research and breeding communities using a suite of database and visualization tools that his team develops. He is particularly interested in biological visualization and how data can be effectively presented, explored and accessed in logical, digestible chunks in order to gain maximum impact and insight. He is also interested in how biological entities, such as plant accessions in pedigrees, and samples in plant breeding and genetics experiments, can be visualized and modelled using graphs.

The main software resources his group develops and maintains include the informatics platforms Germinate ( for the storage of experimental data resulting from plant germplasm collections and Helium ( for the visualization of complex plant pedigrees. His group is also active in the development of innovative mobile applications for the efficient collection of experimental data ( and tools to help with general informatics requirements of genotyping platforms such as the barley 50K SNP platform and maintaining Hutton’s seed store and Underpinning Capacity collections.

He maintains regular interactions with the international plant genetic resources community both through research interests, collaborations and involvement in international groups such as the Divseek International Network ( where Germinate is recognised as a ‘Thematic Hub` promoting the use of Germinate as a common and scalable data infrastructure platform and community focal point suited to a wide range of users who are primarily studying collections of germplasm of different sizes and complexities.

Paul works on a diverse set of projects involving other science departments at the Insitute including Cell and Molecular Sciences, Ecological Sciences and James Hutton Ltd.

Current research interests

  • Information systems for plant genetic resources collections, plant genetics and breeding.
  • Development of visualization tools to help aid understanding of complex plant pedigrees.

Areas of Expertise

  • Database design and implementation.
  • Biological data visualization.
  • Large scale biological data handling and error checking.

Externaly funded research projects 

Other external projects

  • 2020 – present DivSeek International Germinate Regional Hub coordinator.
  • 2020 – present SusCrop-ERA-NET Cofund on Sustainable Crop Production Associate Partner BRACE (agreement No 771134)


You can get an up to date list of my current publications from this link:



  • Shaw, P.; Weise, S.; Obreza, M.; Raubach, S.; McCouch, S.; Kilian, B.; Werner, P. (2023) Database Solutions for Genebanks and Germplasm Collections, In: Ghamkhar, K., Williams, W. M., Brown, A. H. D. (eds.) Plant Genetics Resources for the 21st Century - The OMICS Era. New York: Apple Academic Press, 25pp
  • Forster, B.P.; Franckowiak, J.D.; Lundqvist, U.; Thomas, W.T.B.; Leader, D.; Shaw, P.; Lyon, J.; Waugh, R. (2012) Mutant phenotyping and pre-breeding in barley., In: Shu, Q.Y., Forster, B.P. & Nakagawa, H. (eds.). Plant Mutation Breeding and Biotechnology. CAB International, Wallingford. Chapter 25, pp327-346.

  • Thomas, W.T.B.; Comadran, J.; Ramsay, L.; Shaw, P.; Marshall, D.F.; Newton, A.C.; O'Sullivan, D.; Cockram, J.; Mackay, I.; Bayles, R.; White, J.; Kearsey, M.J.; Luo, Z.; Wang, M.; Tapsell, C.; Harrap, D.; Werner, P.; Klose, S.; Bury, P.; Wroth, J.; Argilllier, O.; Habgood, R.; Glew, M.; Bochard, A-M.; Gymer, P.; Vequaud, D.; Christerson, T.; Allvin, B,; Davies, N.; Broadbent, R.; Brosnan, J.; Bringhurst, T.; Booer, C.; Waugh, R. (2014) Association genetics of UK elite barley (AGOUEB)., Final Project Report to HGCA, No 528, 125pp.
  • Ramsay, L.; Thomas, W.T.B.; Comadran, J.; Marshall, D.F.; Shaw, P.; Waugh, R. (2011) Genetic diversity in modern barley varieties., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2010, pp23-24.
  • Milne, I.; Shaw, P.; Milne, L.; Bayer, M.; Stephen, G.; Marshall, D.F. (2010) Visualising genetic diversity., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2009, pp21-22.

Printed from /staff/paul-shaw on 25/03/23 11:32:11 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.