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Professor in the Department of Biosciences+44 (0) 191 33 41263
Professor in the Biophysical Sciences Institute 
Biophysical Sciences Institute Executive Board in the Biophysical Sciences Institute


Research Interests

Plant diseases are major limiting factors of worldwide agriculture. Understanding the mechanisms by which pathogens invade plants and the means by which plant perceive the invasion is very important to developing novel control strategies in the future. The control of protein degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a central modifier of signaling in animals and plants. An emerging paradigm in biology is the pathogen mediated targeting of the UPS to suppress host immunity but how pathogens achieve this is not known.

Our group has identified regulatory factors of host UPS that could act as targets for defence suppression by plant pathogens. Using Arabidopsis, tobacco and tomato as model hosts my laboratory employs a cross disciplinary approach including genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques to identify components that are specifically Ubiquitinated by bacterial and fungal pathogens to undermine plant immunity. 

In recent years another class of ubiquitin-related polypeptide tags called small ubiquitin-like modifiers (SUMO) has emerged as a very influential regulator of stress signalling in plants and animals. Nearly all crops are highly susceptible to drought, heat stress and salinity. Our work on post-translational modification of proteins has shown that specific signalling proteins are SUMOylated as part of plant survival strategy during drought, heat and high salinity. We have developed experimental methods to specifically quantify and identify SUMOylated and Ubiquitinated proteins in plants. Understanding how protein modification is regulated will have huge implications for agriculture, as this knowledge will be crucial for generating stress resistant crops. 

Lab Members:


Dr. Cunjin Zhang

Dr. Beatriz Orosa

Dr. Anjil Srivastava

Dr. Vivek Verma

Phd students:

Charlotte Walsh

Gary Yates

Linda Millyard

Alberto Campanaro

Jack Lee



Journal Article

Supervision students