Professor Alex Webb, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Circadian clock mechanisms in model plants and crops’
Circadian clocks have impacts on nearly all aspects of biology. Plants use these 24 h timing devices that are present in every cell to co-ordinate cellular activities, modulate their responses to environmental signals, optimize growth and development, time carbon partitioning and metabolism, and as a chronometer to measure seasonal changes. I will describe the fundamentals of circadian systems and introduce the concept of chronoculture, which is using circadian biology to improve crop yield and reduce inputs. I will report recent findings from my laboratory that provide insight into mechanisms that co-ordinate the activity of the suite of transcriptional repressors and activators that form the circadian oscillator and describe our progress in understand how circadian oscillators regulate the heading of wheat.
About the speaker
Professor Webb is a plant biologist who focuses on oscillating signalling networks. They are interested in determining how oscillating environmental and internal signals are decoded and transduced by plant cells. They have contributed to our understanding of circadian biology in plants by discovering that circadian clocks increase plant growth and performance, identifying and characterising a Ca2+-based signalling pathway that forms part of the circadian oscillator, demonstrating that the Arabidopsis circadian clock can entrain to photosynthesis-derived sugars and the molecular pathways involved, and providing insights in to the dynamic plasticity of circadian period and the mechanisms by which this occurs. These achievements were recognised by election as a Fellow of the Royal Academies of Belgium. Professor Webb is currently Deputy Head of the Department of Plant Sciences, Cambridge and a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science Magazine.
When: Thursday 3rd August at 12pm
Where: McLeod Theatre and online