Plant Science

Plant Science

The Plant Science Group (PSG) maintains a broad interest in understanding how plant growth and development is regulated by environmental stimuli and how plants cope with a changing environment. Our research focuses on identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying physiological and developmental adaptation to environmental cues, such as light quality and day length, as well as environmental stress factors such as drought, high temperatures and salinity.

Our aim is to gain fundamental insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of plant growth and development, which determine survival in natural ecosystems and yield and quality traits in agriculture. Plant performance is intricately tied to photosynthetic efficiency, water usage and mineral uptake. Increasing crop productivity will depend on modulating such processes if we are to offer new strategies to meet the growing demand for energy and food security.

Our research also employs synthetic biology and systems approaches to tackle global challenges. Our research strengths include:

  • photosynthesis;
  • photobiology and UV tolerance;
  • ion transport and electrophysiology;
  • membrane protein trafficking;
  • transcriptional regulation and epigenetics.

Plant Science research within MCSB is primarily based in the Bower Building and is supported by cutting-edge facilities and infrastructure with state-of-the-art confocal imaging including a recently purchased Leica TCS SP8 FRET/FLIM system; glasshouses and specialised illumination rooms, which form part of the recently refurbished plant illumination suite. Our work is also supported by expertise from the Structural Biology and Biophysical Characterisation Facility and Glasgow Polyomics.

Plant Science research staff
Professor Anna Antmann
Professor for Molecular Plant Physiology
Research interests: Molecular mechanisms for mineral nutrition and salt/drought tolerance of plants
Professor Mike Blatt
Regius Professor of Botany
Research Interests: Ion channel structure and function in plant cell signalling; mechanisms and roles of membrane trafficking proteins in cellular homeostasis and stress responses of plants.
Professor John Christie
Professor of Photobiology
Research interests: Molecular basis of UV/blue light signalling in plants; engineering novel fluorescent proteins; design of synthetic photoswitches for optogenetic applications.
Professor Richard Cogdell
Hooker Chair of Botany
Research interests: Structure and function of purple bacterial photosynthetic membrane proteins.
Professor Gareth Jenkins
Professor of Plant Cell and Molecular Biology
Research interests: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of plant responses to UV-B.
Dr Eirini Kaiserli
J. Grieve Lectureship in Biochemistry 
Research interests: How nuclear architecture coordinates changes in gene expression and protein organisation to regulate cell growth and survival in response to endogenous and environmental stimuli.
Dr Rucha Karnik
Royal Society University Research Fellow
Research Interests: Hormone regulated membrane traffic and its importance in cell expansion and morpohogenesis. Role of membrane traffic in functional regulation of plant transporters.
Professor Hugh Nimmo
Professor of Plant Biochemistry
Research interests: Control of primary metabolic pathways in plants by environmental and circadian factors