Photosynthesis Research at the Lancaster Environment Centre

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A (slightly delayed) post from me (Doug) to share that I was recently at the Carbon Concentrating Mechanisms 10 (CCM10) conference at Princeton, USA.

This was my first time at this meeting and it was great to see many familiar faces for the first time in a while including colleagues from as far back as 14 years ago, and to catch up with current collaborators Maureen and Vishal from Cornell.

It was also exciting and extremely useful to meet and discuss our CCM plant engineering work with so many carboxysome experts whose work is critical to informing what we are attempting in plants.

Thanks again to Martin Jonikas, admin superstar Ellen Brindle-Clark, and the organising team for such a great meeting. It went smoothly and the format made it very easy to engage with and have lots of useful chats in between sessions.

Thanks also for the invitation to share our latest work, and be part of a great line-up of speakers.

Already looking forward to CCM11 in York 2025!

Welcome Nandhara!

Joining the team for a research visit is Nandhara Mendes from Universidade Estadual São Paulo (UNESP) in Brazil.

Nandhara is a Masters student in Plant Production and will be contributing to our work on improving the productivity and sustainability of cowpea.

Welcome Nandhara!

Welcome to our summer interns Callista and Ben!

A warm (24 degrees today!) Lancaster welcome to our two summer interns Callista and Ben starting today with the team!

Callista is an EPSRC Summer Vacation Student who will work with Doug on CCM engineering related research.

Ben will be working with Elizabete on cowpea as part of the RIPE project.

Looking forward to a busy summer in the lab!

Publication: Into the Shadows and Back into Sunlight

Recently  a number of members of the team contributed to a review article in Annual Review of Plant Biology.

Much of our recent and ongoing work is on how photosynthesis responds to fluctuating flight, and the article is very appropriately titled!

The article Into the Shadows and Back into Sunlight: Photosynthesis in Fluctuating Light is available online here.

It was led by Steve with important contributions from Sam and Elizabete, as well as a number of our colleagues in the wider RIPE project community.
Well done all.


Welcome Nathalia!

A warm, sunny Lancaster welcome to Nathalia, who joins on a 6 month placement to study heat stress.

Nathalia is visiting us from Universidade Federal de Lavras (Federal University of Lavras), continuing the strong links between the 2 universities and in agricultural research.

PhD opportunities advertised on phosphatases and cowpea

There are currently 2 projects advertised to join us for a PhD to work on photosynthesis!

One project is on cowpea and studying how to improve its productivity and resilience to heat stress. This is supervised by Elizabete and one of our African cowpea collaborators Sanatu Mustapha Alidu at Tamale in Northern Ghana. It includes work on physiology, phenotyping,  biochemistry, and molecular biology. It also includes the chance to be a part of field trials with cowpea at Tamale. Details:

Doug also has a project advertised to investigate sugar phosphatases, and understanding how the regulation of these enzymes contributes to how plants regulate carbon assimilation. It includes work with biochemistry, molecular biology, and physiology. Details:

Both of these projects align with our work as part of the wider RIPE project on Realising Improved Photosynthetic Efficiency, and improving crops for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

This is a competitive process with applications welcome from anywhere, some places in this program are reserved for non-UK students.

The links above also have details of how to apply.

Applications close 20th May.

Informal enquiries can be sent to Elizabete or Doug, but all applications must be submitted via the instructions described on the LEC website.

Finding easy-to-measure traits for improving cowpea [new paper]

Congrats to a team of people involving UK (Lancaster), US (Illinois), and Nigerian (Amhadu Bello & IITA) based researchers who just published a study on field and glasshouse grown cowpea in Legume Science.    This was a great team effort with fieldwork in Illinois by Anthony, glasshouse experiments in Lancaster led by undergrad dissertation student Nicole supported by Rhiannon and Emmanuel, and important input from collaborators in Nigeria with direct ties to breeders.

Well done everyone!

Paper (Open Access):
News article:  Helping to breed better cowpea crops


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