James Hartwell is a senior lecturer in plant metabolism. His interests span the fields of plant molecular biology and biochemistry, and whole plant physiology. The focus of his research is understanding the molecular and biochemical basis for the circadian control of primary metabolic pathways in plants. In particular, he studies the molecular basis for the circadian regulation of Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) and has interests in plant responses to abiotic stress. He also has interests in the development of novel non-food crops as biofuel feedstocks suited to seasonally dry lands and the use of the latest plant synthetic biology approaches to re-engineer plant photosynthesis. In particular, his major current research activity is as part of a project funded by the US-Department of Energy, which aims to understand the molecular-genetic blueprint for CAM, and forward engineer a drought inducible CAM system into bioenergy crops such as poplar trees in order to develop more water-use efficient sources of plant biomass that can be used as renewable feedstocks for industrial biotechnology.