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Cell function and responses to environment

Headline research projects for this theme:

Two new 'dynamic, plastic' pathways associated with the circadian clock of plants include calcium oscillations and the molecular basis by which sugars regulate the period of the circadian oscillator. Lead: Alex Webb

Partitioning hydraulic limitation between xylem and mesophyll cells as a function of leaf traits, photosynthetic pathway and stomatal sensitivity defines habitat preference in epiphytes. Lead: Howard Griffiths

A change in conformation of xylan in the cell wall supports a new paradigm in cell wall assembly, facilitating strategies for processing of lignocellulose into fuels and renewable materials. Lead: Paul Dupree

Contributing research groups in the Department: 

Contributing research groups from associated institutions:

Some projects will be specifically targeted towards defined UKRI Research Council DTP schemes, as well as being open for applicants applying to the University's Postgraduate Funding Competition or other sources of funding.

Potential applicants should always approach the potential Supervisor/Group Leader in the first instance to discuss eligibility.

Key to funding opportunities below:

  • GFC = Postgraduate Funding Competition,
  • NERC = Cambridge NERC C-CLEAR DTP,
  • OTHER = Other sources of funding


Title Description
Brockington Group: Understanding the rules of convergent evolution NERC / UF / OTHER
Brockington Group: Why do plants accumulate animal-type neurotransmitters? NERC / UF / OTHER
Brockington Group: Defining the evolutionary mechanisms underlying a novel eukaryotic gene cluster NERC / UF / OTHER
Harris Group: Readers of the ‘histone code’: the missing link in triggering gene activity UF / OTHER
Harris Group: Epigenome engineering: priming chromatin for pathogen resistance UF / OTHER
Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU) Locke Group: Mechanisms underlying inter-individual variability in Arabidopsis thaliana UF / OTHER
Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU) Robinson Group: Mechanical and hormonal regulation of plant development UF / OTHER
Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU) Schornack Group: Transcription factor coordination of liverwort responses to oomycete infections UF / OTHER
Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU) Schornack Group: Contrasting functionality of a glycerol phosphate acyl transferase in roots and shoots (Rotation project) UF / OTHER
Webb Group: Dynamic plasticity of the circadian clock UF / OTHER
Webb Group: Entrainment of the Circadian Oscillator by Sugars by bZIP transcription Factors UF / OTHER
Webb Group: The circadian clock as a regulator of yield traits in wheat UF / OTHER
Webb Group: Mathematical Modelling of the Regulation of Circadian Period UF / OTHER
Webb Group: The role of TOR kinase in regulating the circadian oscillator and metabolism UF / OTHER
Webb Group: Mechanism controlling the propagation of Ca2+ signals in plants UF / OTHER

The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.