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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group


Research overview

I'm interested in understanding photosynthesis and developing strategies that may allow it to be improved in the future. My group's major focus relates to how the efficient C4 pathway has evolved from the ancestral C3 state. In almost all C4 plants, leaves are modified such that changes to their development, cell biology and biochemistry allow photosynthesis to be partitioned between two cell-types. Despite this complexity, C4 photosynthesis has arisen in over 60 separate lineages of angiosperms, and compared with the C3 pathway, photosynthetic efficiency is increased by around 50%.

School of Biological Sciences theme affiliations



IA Biology of Cells, IB Plant and Microbial Sciences, Part II Plant Sciences on the Natural Sciences Tripos.

Previous positions 

2014-present Professor, University of Cambridge
2012-present Reader, University of Cambridge
2006-present Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge
2000-2006 Lecturer, University of Cambridge
1997-1999 Postdoctoral Worker, University of Cambridge
1994-1997 Postdoctoral Worker, University of Sheffield


1991-1994 PhD in Plant Sciences, University of Wales
1988-1991 BSc Plant Sciences, University of Wales



Key publications

Local accumulation of reactive oxygen species in the rice bundle sheath during high light stress can be independent of photosynthesis and mediated by NADPH oxidase (2021) PNAS

All publications


Awards and fellowships



2017-present Management Board of Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University
2013-present European Representative for the International Photosynthesis Society
2012-present Associate Editor of Plant Physiology
2009-present Undergraduate Mentor for the Gatsby Plant Sciences Program
2014-2019 BBSRC Agrifood Strategy Panel
2018 Advisory Board for BBSRC Sustainable Intensification Network
2014 BBSRC-DBT Panel on Crop Genomics
2014 BBSRC Germplasm Collections Working Party
2010-2014 BBSRC Responsive Mode Committee B
2005-2018 Plant Section of the Society of Experimental Biology
Head of Department of Plant Sciences
Head of Molecular Physiology Group
Professor Julian  Hibberd

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
Downing Street,
01223 766547