The broad aim of our research is to understand how environmental factors, in particular light, regulate plant growth and development. The present focus is on responses to ultraviolet-B light (see below). We are studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in these responses and how they regulate plant morphology, biochemical composition and defence against pest attack. Our research employs a combination of experimental approaches: biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology and photobiology, and principally involves the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the crop oilseed rape (Brassica napus).
Much of our research concerns the plant UV-B photoreceptor protein UVR8. We are studying the structural basis of UVR8’s ability to function as a photoreceptor, how it initiates signal transduction processes in the cell that lead to the regulation of gene transcription, and how gene expression underpins the regulation of plant processes by UV-B, including the ability of plants to protect themselves from pests. The links below provide further information on our research as well as information that may be of interest to the non-specialist.