Sophie Young, PhD student (2019-2024)

Sophie completed her PhD in plant ecophysiology, specifically C4 photosynthesis. She investigated why C4 photosynthesis is so rare in trees, and looked at the physiology of the only known C4 trees, found in the Hawaiian Euphorbia, through a PhD project funded by the Envision DTP with Marjorie Lundgren. Sophie completed her PhD and began a postdoc in Edinburgh with Prof. Alistair McCormick.

Duncan Bloemers, PhD student (2019-2023)

Duncan was a PhD student at LEC whose research focused on the natural diversity of Rubisco activase, the catalytic chaperone of Rubisco.
Duncan successfully submitted and completed his viva in mid-2023, well done!

Dr Waqas Khokhar, Research Associate   @waqaskhokhar999 (2020-2023)

Waqas is a bioinformatician. He aims to use his diverse programming experience in designing, processing, and analyzing biological data to contribute to develop more resilient and productive varieties of cowpea and soybean.

Dr Mike Page, Senior Research Associate   @mikeTpage (2016-2022)

Mike is a plant molecular biologist. He is interested in the response of plants to the environment and likes to develop methods for engineering improvements in photosynthetic efficiency to increase crop yields. Mike is now part of the editorial and management staff at the Journal of Experimental Botany.

Louis Caruana, Research Assistant @Louis_Caruana (2017-2022)

Louis is interested in how genetic engineering can be used to increase plant productivity. He enjoys learning new things all the time and exploring ways in which plant sciences can contribute to a better world. After his MSc and Research Assistant time with the team Louis has returned to an exciting time in Wales starting his own business!

Dr Alejandro Perdomo, Senior Research Associate   @JAPL85 (2017-2022)

Alejandro is a plant biochemist interested in improving photosynthesis in crops studying the detrimental effect of abiotic stresses on Rubisco and Rubisco activase. He was working in speeding the adjustment of photosynthesis to shade-sun transitions to increase wheat yield potential in the field. Alejandro has now gone to a Lecturer post at the University of Central Lancashire.

Dr Peter Gould, Senior Research Associate (2019-2022)

Peter has a background in plant biological clocks and food security. His current research is focused on studying the regulation of Rubisco by different isoforms of its catalytic chaperone, Rubisco activase.

Jonathan Griffin, PhD student (2016-2021)

Jon’s PhD was studying the regulation of photosynthesis by different environmental signals. His project examined a family of chloroplastic RNA-binding proteins thought to have a vital role in regulating chloroplast gene expression in response to environmental signals.

Alice Robijns, Research Assistant (2020-2021)

Alice worked on the RIPE project using a Golden Gate cloning system to study enzymatic properties of cowpea and soybean Rubisco made up of different combinations of subunit isoforms. After a very productive year in the lab she went to a PhD with Wanne Kromdijk at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Emmanuel Gonzalez Escobar, Research Associate (2018-2021)

Emmanuel’s background and interests are in the post-translational regulation of photosynthetic proteins. His research at LEC involved finding genetic variation in crop plant Rubiscos with a goal to improve photosynthetic efficiency.

Gustaf Degen, PhD student   @plantgustaf (2016-2020)

Gustaf is investigating wheat and its wild relatives for variation in Rubisco activase, a key regulator in photosynthesis. His project combines genetic, biochemical and physiological approaches to identify superior forms of activase in these species. Gustaf completed his PhD in mid-2020 and went on to a postdoc at the University of Sheffield with Matt Johnson.

Dr Cristina Sales, Senior Research Associate   @crisrgsales (2016-2020)

Cris is a plant physiologist interested in how plants respond to different environmental conditions. Her expertise includes analysis of photosynthesis in vivo & Rubisco enzymatic assays. She was working in natural variation in CO2 assimilation in wheat at LEC as part of IWYP, and is now a postdoc with Wanne Kromdijk at the University of Cambridge.

Catarina Sobral, Laboratory Technician (2018-2021)

Catarina keeps our lab and plant growth spaces in good shape! She has been learning loads about growing and phenotyping plants. She likes to ensure that plants are healthy and seed stocks are up to date. She is now a technician in the Lancaster University chemistry Department.

Alexander Sokolnik, MRes student (2019-2020)

Alexander was investigating how growth under different environmental temperature conditions affects the levels of Rubisco activase expression in the leaves of Vigna unguiculata (cowpea). He hopes his research will be useful in improving yields across the globe.

Yulin (Lynn) Yin, PhD student (2017-2019)

Lynn’s work was in developing a remote sensing tool that will enable farmers to predict wheat yield and quality.


Dr Shaun Nielsen, Senior Research Associate (2018-2019)

Shaun’s interests are in bioinformatics and statistical analysis. His current research at LEC is applying these tools to identify and exploit genetic variation in plant photosynthesis to increase crop yields.

 Dr Iván Jauregui, Senior Research Associate (2016-2018)

Iván is a plant physiologist interested in plant photosynthesis and water use efficiency under different environmental scenarios. He is exploring new sources of genetic to translate traits from distant relatives of wheat into elite wheat plants.

Dr Marta Oñate Gutierrez, Senior Research Associate (2016-2018)   @martaonateg

Marta is a plant ecophysiologist interested on the physiological responses of plants in a context of climate change. At LEC, she is exploring drought tolerance mechanisms in wheat. She is also passionate about teaching and science communication.

Alice Martins, Research Assistant (2016-2017)   @AliceGasMartins

After completing her Biology undergraduate studies in Portugal, Alice joined LEC to gain more experience in photosynthesis research. She investigated Rubisco activase genes in 3 species of the Brassica genus and was a great help in the Lab!

João Augusto Oliveira, Visiting Researcher from Embrapa Rice & Beans, Brazil (2016-2017)

João has a keen interest in the biological mechanisms for improving the productive potential of crops. His previous research focused on the expression of rice genes related to productivity and brought him to Lancaster to learn more about Rubisco.

João Paulo Pennacchi, PhD student (2013-2017)

João did his PhD at LEC in collaboration with Rothamsted Research. He is interested in contributing towards he challenge of feeding the growing World population by informing the breeding of high yielding crops that are also resilient to climate change. João is now a postdoc in France after completing a postdoc role in his native Brazil.

Dr Karen Harper, Research Assistant (2016-2017)

Karen has a wide interest in plant science, particularly research involving crops and food security. She investigated anti-fungal properties of natural products for her PhD. Her journey at LEC started by focusing on extracting Rubiscos from a variety of plant species!

 André Alcântara, Research Assistant (2013-2016)

André has a wide interest and experience in plant science, and was part of the LEC team working within RIPE to study the biochemical properties of Rubisco from diverse plant species. After a very productive 3 years with the group he went on to the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna to do a PhD.