Research in the group is focussed on understanding the evolution of genetic mechanisms that underpin plant development. Research is split into two broad areas:

  • Evolution and development of Kranz anatomy. Most of our research aims to understand the genetic mechanisms that evolved to regulate the development of the specialized ‘Kranz’ anatomy found in the leaves of C4 plants. Much of this work is currently being carried out in the context of the international C4 rice program that aims to introduce C4 traits into C3 crops.
  • Evolution of shoot development. Shoot development is being investigated in non-seed plants, namely bryophytes and monilophytes. This work aims to elucidate the mechanistic basis of shoot development in these groups and to provide insight into how shoot form and function evolved within land plants.

In both areas of research, our approach is increasingly dependent on the analysis and interrogation of large datasets. This work is carried out in collaboration with Steve Kelly’s lab.