Plants for the Future Research Network
Applied and fundamental research and engagement on how plants develop, reproduce, and interact with a changing environment.
We are an active research community of over twenty academics, fellows, early career researchers and students with shared interests in plants and their roles in our everyday lives.
Plants are essential to our ecosystem, providing us with food and feed security as well as many other essential resources such as building materials, fibres and pharmaceuticals. With a growing world population and changing climate, it is increasingly urgent to understand the genes that regulate plant development and determine their architecture, as these are the mechanisms that control their reproduction, how they communicate with their environment and respond to stress.
We aim to bring together research on plant biology in Cardiff to encompass the whole range of scales from cell division to ecosystems, sharing expertise from emerging molecular, physiological and biochemical techniques to modelling.
We have attracted millions in funding from research councils, industry and charities for research on a range of topics from fundamental cell biology to crop resilience, post-harvest stress and novel approaches for producing high value natural products in sub-Saharan Africa.
Our research is supported by a dedicated Plant Growth Technology Hub and is organised into ten groups led by:
- Dr Walter Dewitte
- Dr Barend de Graaf
- Dr Verônica Grieneisen
- Professor John Harwood
- Dr Angharad Jones
- Dr Tamara Lechón Gómez
- Professor Jim Murray
- Professor Hilary Rogers
- Dr Julia Sanchez Villas
- Dr Simon Scofield
We welcome approaches from potential fellowship candidates and funded PhD students to host their research and expand our essential research on plants.
We carry out research on:
- developmental regulation of plant meristems using Arabidopsis and modelling growth patterns
- gene regulation of leaf and flower senescence and stress responses
- communication between pollen and pistil during plant reproduction
- how plant lipids are synthesized and factors regulating their formation
- how plants interact with their environment, with a focus on reproductive fitness
- changes in gene expression and volatile organic compounds during post-harvest senescence
- use of aromatic species against insect vectors of human disease
- understanding how algae can be used to improve nutrition and as biofuels
- epigenetic regulation of gene expression in development.
Our projects include:
- The regulation of flower opening in lilies, and how to control it to improve post-harvest quality (SWBio DTP studentship – Professor Hilary Rogers)
- Epigenetic control of strawberry secondary metabolism- a small fruit with a complex genome (SWBio DTP studentship – Professor Hilary Rogers)
- Future Forages: implications of forages adaptation to climate change for ruminant production (BBSRC – Professor Hilary Rogers)
- Stress Memory: Mechanisms regulating effects of pre-harvest stress on rocket salad post-harvest quality. (PhD project, Saudi Arabian Government– Professor Hilary Rogers)
- Development of a decision support tool to reduce asparagus tip breakdown in the UK (Innovate UK – Professor Hilary Rogers)
- Multi-trait approach to enhance fruit quality in post harvest storage conditions (FRUITY) (Fondazione del Sud – Italy – Professor Hilary Rogers)
- Pollen-Pistil communication: it takes two to tango, from recognition to fertilization and seed set (Dr Barend de Graaf)
- Function of S-Protein homologs (SPHs) - a large group of highly diverse signaling peptides in plants - during plant Reproduction (Dr Barend de Graaf)
- Unravelling the role of species-specific miRNA’s in flower development and during plant Reproduction (Dr Barend de Graaf)
- Size Matters: a systems approach to understanding cell size control in a developing tissue (BBSRC – Professor Jim Murray, Dr Angharad Jones)
- The Meristem in Context: a multilevel systems approach to improving plant growth under changeable environments (UKRI FLF – Dr Angharad Jones)
- Manipulating crops for increased oil yields (Baptist University of Hong Kong - Professor John Harwood, Dr Simon Scofield)
- Plant and algal fatty acids for better health (Bureau of Agricultural Research, Philippines - Professor John Harwood)
- Changes in gene expression during oil palm fruit development (Malaysian Palm Oil Board - Professor John Harwood)
- Salad contamination with Listeria – improving food safety through understanding plant-bacterial interactions and development of novel detection methods (SWBio DTP studentship - Professor Hilary Rogers, Dr Cedric Berger, Dr Carsten Müller)
- Linking cell division and hormone action for morphogenesis in plants (Dr Walter Dewitte)
- The function of D type cyclins in the stomatal lineage (Dr Walter Dewitte)
- Systems biology to understand the dynamics of the G1/S network (Dr Walter Dewitte)
- Metabolic engineering in mint plants: increasing essential oil yields through genetic manipulation of biosynthetic pathways (BBSRC SWBIO DTP - Dr Simon Scofield, Professor John Pickett)
- Maximising mint metabolites for improved health and economic prosperity in Uganda (UKRI GCRF – Dr Simon Scofield)
- Transcriptional landscaping in plant stem cells: from chromatin to gene regulatory networks (BBSRC SWBIO DTP - Dr Simon Scofield, Dr Tamara Lechón Gómez, Professor Jim Murray)
- Studying fatty-acid biosynthesis in Brassica napus using transcriptional profiling and transgenic manipulation (BBSRC SWBIO DTP Dr Simon Scofield, Professor John Harwood, Dr Tamara Lechón Gómez)
- Developing plants as an expression system for mammalian ion channels (BBSRC SWBIO DTP - Dr Mark Young, Dr Simon Scofield)