The University of Cambridge was established in 1209. It is the world’s fourth oldest surviving University. It has a world-leading reputation as an educational establishment and research organization. As of March 2019, 118 Nobel Laureates, 11 Fields Medallists, and 7 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Cambridge as students, alumni, faculty or research staff. In 2019 in all league tables it was the top-ranked University in the United Kingdom, and in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings it was ranked second in the world.
Julian Hibberd’s team studies the evolution and molecular basis of C4 photosynthesis. The work is widely considered important for understanding the efficient C4 pathway, and informs engineering principles being used to improve photosynthesis in crops. In particular, the Hibberd lab has demonstrated that in the ancestral C3 state, many of the components required for C4 photosynthesis are present, and so that this complex phenotype has evolved repeatedly from pre-existing component parts.
The Hibberd lab has developed efficient protocols to conduct laser capture microdissection of leaves to understand patterns of gene expression in specific cells, and then used data derived this approach combined with computational analysis, transcription factor foot-printing and functional analysis to identify cis-regulatory elements that allow cell-specific expression in C3 and C4 leaves.