part of The ARabidopsis Gene discovery nETwork



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Research and interests:

The laboratory studies the mechanisms that regulate root growth and development. Our research exploits the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana which represents one of the best experimental systems to study root developmental processes in higher plants. Arabidopsis is ideally suited to perform molecular genetic, cell biology and transgenic studies and has facilitated the isolation and characterisation of genes such as AUX1 and AXR4 that regulate processes such as root gravitropism and lateral root development (Bennett et al, 1996; Dharmasiri et al, 2006).

We have recently adopted an Integrative Systems Biology based approach to study root growth and development (Swarup et al 2005). Our laboratory is part of The Centre for Plant Integrative Biology (CPIB), a £8.5 m BBSRC funded Centre for Integrative Systems Biology that aims to create a virtual root model. Our Systems Biology approach embraces disciplines such as mathematics, engineering, computer science, as well as plant science, enables researchers to study root development at multiple physical and temporal scales (e.g. molecular, cellular and organ levels) and help our research become more quantitative, integrative and predictive.

We also employ our expertise in molecular genetics, plant transgenics and metabolite profiling technologies for biotechnological applications relating to human nutrition. This work has led to the isolation and characterisation of genes that influence the abundance and bioavailability of phytochemicals with anti-cancer properties or nutritional importance (Matusheski et al, 2006; Garrett et al, 2005).

photograph of Arabidopsis thaliana plant

Areas of Interest:

Our current research program falls into three broad areas :


Grants held:

BBSRC award (2005-2008) Molecular and cellular characterisation of AXR4 function

BBSRC award (2005-2008) Adopting an integrative biology approach to dissect phytohormone regulated root growth

My laboratory is also part of The Centre for Plant Integrative Biology at the University of Nottingham, a £8.5m BBSRC funded Centre for Integrative Systems Biology (CISB) that aims to create a virtual root model (2006-2011)

Research funding has also been obtained from:
BBSRC JIF and JREI2003 initiatives
European Commission
European Space Agency
University of Nottingham

PhD students are funded by:
University of Nottingham
Sonogol Oil Corporation
Ford Foundation
Malaysian and Royal Thai Governments.


Plant Sciences Division, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, LE12 5RD, UK.

telephone: (0115) 95 13056

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- Last updated on: 22/4/2008 -