My research focusses on photosynthesis. Specifically I characterise the genes involved in the decarboxylation module of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) and their regulation, to identify the critical elements needed to express CAM. This work is part of a large collaborative project funded by the US Department of Energy, which aims to address the environmental challenges of climate change, in particular expected water shortages. CAM is a very water efficient system. The project's overarching goal is to engineer CAM into C3 crops to enhance the water use efficiency of plants and thus allow crops to use grow in a hotter drier climate predicted for the future. Target crops for this improvement include biofuel and food crops. I have also worked on BBSRC funded grant ‘Sequencing the transcriptome of Kalanchöe fedtschenkoi’.
In addition to my work on CAM, I have previously worked on C4 photosynthesis, having isolated and characterized the first C4 pathway mutants in Amaranthus edulis, in particular a PEPC mutant. This discovery led to extensive further work by several research groups in Europe, Australia and the US.
I received an Applied Plant Science degree from the University of Liverpool and subsequently undertook a Ph.D. from Lancaster University on ‘The Isolation and Characterisation of Mutants of Amaranthus edulis Lacking Key Enzymes of the C4 Pathway’. Based on the success of my Ph.D project, I received BBSRC funding for postdoctoral research to further characterise the mutants found during my Ph.D.
I also have experience of working in the Biotech industry, first in Stirling, Scotland and then in Iceland, growing Haematococcus in small and large scale batch culture with the aim of inducing the production of Astaxanthin.
- Institute Athena SWAN Committee Member - Gold status awarded
- Post Doc Society Deputy Chairperson
- Public Engagement and Communications Committee Member