We use multiple model and crop species in our work. From top left, Arabidopsis thaliana, Arabis alpina, Brassica napus (oilseed rape), Pisum sativum (garden pea), Solanum lycopersicon (tomato), Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed), Triticum aestivum (wheat), Hordeum vulgarum (barley).

Strigolactone signalling and evolution

We have a long-standing interest in the role of strigolactones in plant development. We are particular interested in understanding the strigolactone signalling pathway, and in understanding how strigolactones have evolved as hormonal signals.

Canalization and auxin transport

We also have a long-standing interest in the role of regulated auxin transport in coordinating development between distant organ systems. We are particularly interested in understanding how canalization of auxin transport may allow organs to communicate with each other without direct signal transmission.

Control of reproductive architecture

We want to understand the mechanisms by which plants ‘decide’ how many inflorescences, flowers, fruit and seed to make during their reproductive phase, and how they coordinate the production of these organs in space and time. We also want to understand how plants determine how long their reproductive phase should last.

Coordinating rhizosphere and shoot

Because shoot systems are entirely dependent on root systems for their supply or water and mineral nutrients, shoot and root growth are highly coordinated by root-to-shoot and shoot-to-root signalling.  We are  interested in understanding how plants use information in their root environment to determine their shoot growth. There is a very strong influence of nutrient availability on shoot growth, but we are particularly interested in understanding how physical and biological cues in the rhizosphere alter the way plants grow even when nutrients are abundant.

Agricultural applications

We are very strongly interested in understanding the implications of our research for the agricultural sector. We work with farmers, agronomists and industrial partners to understand the relevance of our findings under field conditions.