Senior Lecturer in Crop Production and MSc Course Manager
Kami has 17 years international experience in research and education. He has worked in some of the most prestigious research/education establishments including Wageningen University (Netherlands), Tokyo University of Agriculture (Japan), Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research-IPK (Germany), University of Oxford, University Centre-Hadlow and Writtle University College. At his recent role, Kami runs R&D funded research projects as lead scientist, teaches undergraduate and graduate students as well as supervising their research projects.
Kami is currently leading an EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application - eira.ac.uk) funded project, focusing on Vertical Hydroponic Farming Systems. Vertical Farming is emerging as a powerful technology as it helps to maximise space use efficiency; improve crop growth; reduce both production costs and carbon footprint; and ultimately increases Food Security. In this regard, it can also open new horizons in areas such as urban farming; LED Test Grow Laboratories; growth chambers; and growing in shipping containers and warehouses. However, a high level of skill in crop production and engineering are required for a successful operation. Also, there are some other challenges that need to be tackled, including higher start-up costs, temperature dependence, voltage sensitivity and power supply.
To address these challenges, in collaboration with key industries and research partners such as Plant Raisers LTD (plantraisers.co.uk), iGrowing LTD (igrowing.co.uk) and extreme Low Energy (extremelowenergy.com), Kami is investigating ways to make indoor vertical farming systems more sustainable and eco-friendly. Another aspect to his research is to extend vertical farming application to crops beyond leafy vegetables and micro salads which currently make up the mainstay of production in this industry.
Kami’s original research interest was to study the phytochemical and genetic diversity to enable plant breeders to produce improved varieties (Baghalian et al. 2005; Baghalian et al. 2006). The task to extract and analyse the plant compounds gave Kami greater understanding of secondary metabolism and merging this knowledge with his crop production background, led Kami into the new line of research interest he pursued in his new role as assistant professor. Within this role, he carried out research on studying the diversity of some industrially important herbs (Baghalian et al. 2010b; Baghalian et al. 2010c) as well as studying how abiotic stress can affect phytochemical and phenotypic performances of plants such as chamomile (Matricaria recutita) (Baghalian et al. 2008; Baghalian et al. 2011).
On completion of his PhD project, Kami was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship and moved to Tokyo University of Agriculture, where he was involved with advanced molecular research and applying related bioinformatics (Baghalian et al.
2010a). The computational aspect of his research to unlock the metabolic network, led Kami into his next position and he moved to IPK-Germany where he began to bridge his biology background and computational biology (Baghalian et al.
2014). To pursue his research, in 2013, Kami moved to Oxford University where he worked under Professor George Ratcliffe’s supervision to develop computational models of large-scale plant metabolic networks (Shameer et al.
2018). Kami Joined Hadlow University Centre in 2015 to teach and program lead students on the Commercial Horticulture BSc program. In his recent role he has managed to establish/extend collaborative researches with key industry representative with a focus on indoor crop production and hydroponics. Some of the main collaborations are:
- Liaise with Thanet Earth to manage the company’s large scale variety trials on tomatoes and peppers hydroponic production.
- Collaboration with OMEX to run efficacy trials of their products on table top strawberry production
- Collaboration with Tozer Seeds, UK's largest independent vegetable breeder, to produce vegetable seeds.
- Running an Erasmus funded projects on establishing indoor and outdoor living walls in collaboration with Scotscape Company
- Variety trial on asparagus crop in collaboration with Plant Global Genetics
- Baghalian, K., Ziai, S.A., Naghavi, M.R., Badi, H.N. and Khalighi, A. (2005) 'Evaluation of allicin content and botanical traits in Iranian garlic (Allium sativum L.) ecotypes', Scientia Horticulturae, 103(2), 155-166.
- Baghalian, K., Naghavi, M.R., Ziai, S.A. and Badi, H.N. (2006) 'Post-planting evaluation of morphological characters and allicin content in Iranian garlic (Allium sativum L.) ecotypes', Scientia Horticulturae, 107(4), 405-410.
- Baghalian, K., Haghiry, A., Naghavi, M.R. and Mohammadi, A. (2008) 'Effect of saline irrigation water on agronomical and phytochemical characters of chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.)', Scientia Horticulturae, 116(4), 437-441.
- Baghalian, K., Kim, O.K. and Natzuaki, K.T. (2010a) 'Molecular variability and genetic structure of the population of Onion yellow dwarf virus infecting garlic in Iran', Virus Genes, 41(2), 282-291.
- Baghalian, K., Maghsodi, M. and Naghavi, M.R. (2010b) 'Genetic diversity of Iranian madder (Rubia tinctorum) populations based on agro-morphological traits, phytochemical content and RAPD markers', Industrial Crops and Products, 31(3), 557-562.
- Baghalian, K., Sheshtamand, M.S. and Jamshidi, A.H. (2010c) 'Genetic variation and heritability of agro-morphological and phytochemical traits in Iranian saffron (Crocus sativus L.) populations', Industrial Crops and Products, 31(2), 401-406.
- Baghalian, K., Abdoshah, S., Khalighi-Sigaroodi, F. and Paknejad, F. (2011) 'Physiological and phytochemical response to drought stress of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.)', Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 49(2), 201-207.
- Baghalian, K., Hajirezaei, M.R. and Schreiber, F. (2014) 'Plant metabolic modeling: Achieving new insight into metabolism and metabolic engineering', Plant Cell, 26(10), 3847-3866.
- Shameer, S., Baghalian, K., Cheung, C.Y.M., Ratcliffe, R.G. and Sweetlove, L.J. (2018) 'Computational analysis of the productivity potential of CAM', Nature Plants, 4(3), 165-171.