Molecular Plant Sciences

Research themes

The Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences currently consists of 11 research groups working in four overlapping areas of plant and fungal biology.

Researchers in the Institute have strong collaborative links with other research groups in the School of Biological Sciences, other Schools of the University and with external institutions

Development and evolution

Using molecular genetics, cell biology and modelling techniques we examine how cell fates are specified, the interactions between cell fate and plant growth and how cell fates are maintained in the growing plant. Knowledge gained from model species is used to examine how changes in regulatory processes underlie the evolution of novel plant forms.

Biochemistry and gene transfer

Biochemical techniques are used to examine the synthesis and function of cell walls and the roles of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in plants.

Systems biology

Multiple approaches, including genetics, genomics, mathematical modelling and cell biology, are combined to examine plant responses to light and functions of the circadian clock.

Plant pathology and fungal biology

Molecular genetics and cell biology techniques are combined to examine growth and development in model fungi and to determine the mechanisms by which plants resist attack by bacterial and fungal pathogens and by animals.

Cell and systems biology

Imaging of living cells and electron microscopy are used to examine a number of questions, from cell-cell signalling in plant and fungal growth to protein targeting. Data and image analysis are combined with mathematical modelling and model analysis in an interdisciplinary approach to understand the organisation of biological networks.