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- Prof. Julian M. Hibberd
Julian Habberd’s team will undertake the cell-specific profiling of gene expression, assemble and test gene constructs to induce the C3-C4 intermediacy and the advanced photorespiration bypasses in Arabidopsis.
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.