Alex Wakeman

Alex started in the Bennett Lab as a PhD student in October 2020.

Alex began his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Genetics at The University of Sheffield in 2015. However, a fateful week at the Gatsby Summer School turned him fully towards his interest in plant science. Throughout a summer project and following third year project in the lab of Professor Julie Gray, Alex studied the role of stomata in Arabidopsis, rice and wheat, especially focusing on the genes EPF1 and EPFL9 and their role in determining stomatal density. 

Taking a short break from the world of plants, Alex then spent a year working under Professor David Hornby, developing an error prone polymerase for use in Directed Evolution pipelines.  

His arrival in Bennett lab marks Alex’s return to the world of plant science. His project focuses on reproductive architecture in wheat. The total number of seeds wheat can produce is determined by the development of several physical structures, such as ears, spikelets and florets. The development of these structures in time and space influence eachother, restricting increases in yield – for instance an increased number of ears may be accompanied by fewer spikelets per ear. Better understanding the underlying mechanisms controlling this could lead to improved crop yields. 

 

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