My research seeks to understand how plants perceive and respond to changes in their environment, with the ultimate goal of using this knowledge to promote stress tolerance in crop plants. To achieve this we are using traditional molecular biology techniques in combination with the latest advances in synthetic biology to manipulate how light signals are integrated into the circadian system.
A more detailed CV can be found here.
As sessile photoautotrophs, plants are amongst the organisms most sensitive to, and influenced by, changes in their surrounding light conditions. Using photoreceptors found naturally in cyanobacteria we will engineer new light sensitive pathways in plants allowing for direct control of targeted genes using light as a trigger. Using this system we will examine the interactions between the plant circadian clock and genes involved in maintaining circadian rhythms.
My PhD research aimed to provide a glimpse into how plants adapt to stress occurring as a result of changes in their environment, and how these stress responses interlink with the circadian clock. Of particular interest to me was the role played by 5'-Phosphoadenosine 3'-Phosphate, which accumulates in plants under high light and heat stress. I was able to show that this metabolite delays the circadian system in response to osmotic stress. I also developed a novel method to measure circadian rhythms in vivo.
Eloise McCarthy (Royal Society of Biology Undergraduate Scholar)
Summer Rosonovski (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme)
Sareeta Bagri (Frontrunners Student)
Kat Malpas (Frontrunners Plus Student)