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Research interests

Research comprises two main areas: Plant Cell Walls and Self-Incompatibility (SI)

Plant Cell Wall research investigates the chemical, structural and biological features underpinning cell wall quality traits, including recalcitrance to sugar release, and the genes responsible for these traits in grasses. Another area of interest is elucidating how different environmental conditions affect cell wall related traits.

Self-Incompatibility research focusses on mechanistic studies of Papaver SI. SI in Papaver results in growth arrest of incompatible pollen and triggers a signalling network that includes changes in Ca2+, ROS, pH, and actin, ultimately leading to PCD. Research uses genetic, cell biology and biochemistry approaches to improve our understanding of key mechanisms involved in SI.



Current PhD students:


  • Iain Place: Self-fertility modifier genes in grasses

Former PhD students:

Rebecca Hindhaugh; Rosario Iacono; Agnieszka Gladala-Kostartz; Rakesh Bhatia; Ricardo da Costa; Lori Fisher; Jennifer Ings


I received my PhD at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, in 2002 on a thesis entitled A Functional Study of Pistil-Specific Proline-Rich Glycoproteins under supervision of Titti Mariani. For my first postdoctoral work I moved to the US to join the lab of Peter Hepler (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).

In Peter's lab I further developed my research interest in studying structural cell wall components and cell wall dynamics. My research focused on the regulation of cell wall pectin dynamics by the enzyme pectin methylesterase using pollen tubes as a model system.

In 2005 I joined the lab of Noni Franklin-Tong in Birmingham and studied the temporal and spatial activation of caspase-like activities essential for the execution of Programmed Cell Death induced in self incompatible Papaver pollen.

In April 2008 I moved to Aberystwyth to join IBERS at Aberystwyth University.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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