I am currently a senior lecturer, based in the Ecology and Evolution research group in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. I completed a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield. I stayed in Sheffield for my PhD, under the supervision of Peter Horton and Phil Grime, in which I examined the responses of native British plants to different growth lights. Afterwards, I worked as a NATO research fellow at CE-Saclay, near Paris, and then in the Botanical Institute of the University of Münster, Germany, before coming to Manchester as lecturer in Physiological Plant Ecology. In 2002-3 I spent a year as a visiting fellow at the Institute for Physico-Chemical Biology (IBPC) in Paris.
Exposure to environmental stresses, e.g. drought or low or high temperature, can have a damaging effect on plants, reducing the sucess of wild species and the productivity of crops. A common feature of most forms of abiotic stress is the production of reactive oxygen species, highly reactive molecules that can damage proteins, lipids and DNA. The aim of my research is to understand the pathways that lead to active oxygen production and how regulatory mechanisms can ameliorate that production. The particular emphasis is on the interaction between light and stress, and how light induces the production of reactive species.
In attempting to understand the mechanisms of regulation, we adopt a multi-disclipinary approach, combining state of the art spectroscopic and biochemical techniques with comparative studies in ecophysiology. We collaborate with colleages in Manchester and elsewhere in studies using metabolomics, proteomics and systems modelling. Our research is focussing on the responses of plants to their environment on different time scales: