Alison Ashby

Post - Reader

Cambridge University Address
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street, Cambridge.
CB2 3EA. United Kingdom.

Main research topics

Alison Ashby is interested in plant pathology. She uses Ontologies to bring together molecular, biochemical, pathological and epidemiological knowledge with the systematic approachesof plant genomics, proteomics and metabolomics. This will enable a greater understanding of in our knowledge of plant pathology.

Selected publications

Bard, B.L. and Rhee, S.Y. (2004) Ontologies in Biology: Design, Applications and Future Challenges. Nature Reviews. 5, 213-222.

Li, D., Ashby, A.M. and Johnstone, K. (2003) Molecular evidence that the extracellular cutinase Pbc1 is required for pathogenicity of Pyrenopeziza brassicae on oilseed rape. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 16(6), 545-552.

Janneke Balk

Post - Royal Society Research Fellow

Main research topics

Janneke Balk is interested in furthering the understanding of iron-sulphur proteins and how they are produced by plants. Iron-sulphur protein assembly occur in mitochondria and plastids, both of which have evolutionary and biochemically independent assembly machinery. Janneke is particularly interested in the communication between the two protein assembly mechanisms and other parts of the cell. By using mutant analysis, microarrays and pulse labelling Janneke is investigating how the different mechanisms are controlled during plant develoment.

Selected Publications from Janneke Balk

Balk, J., Pierik, A. J., Aguilar Netz, D. J., Mühlenhoff, U. and Lill, R. (2004). The hydrogenase-like Nar1p is essential for maturation of cytosolic and nuclear iron-sulphur proteins. EMBO J. 23: 2105-2115.

Mühlenhoff, U., Balk, J., Richhardt, N., Kaiser, J. T., Sipos, K., Kispal, G. and Lill, R. (2004). Functional characterization of the eukaryotic cysteine desulfurase Nfs1p from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J. Biol. Chem. 279: 36906-36915.

John Carr

Post - Senior Lecturer

Main research topics

John is interested in understanding how some plants are able to actively resist viral pathogens, while others remain susceptible. The work on resistance is focussed upon salicylic acid, whilst the work on susceptibility centers on how responses are subverted by viral counter-defence factors.

Selected publications

Mayers, C.N., Lee, K-.C., Moore, C.M., Wong, S-.K. and Carr, J.P. (2005). Salicylic acid-induced resistance to Cucumber mosaic virus in squash and Arabidopsis thaliana: Contrasting mechanisms of induction and antiviral action. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 18: 428–434.

Gilliland, A., Singh, D.P., Hayward, J.M., Moore, C.A., Murphy, A.M., York, C., Slator, J. and Carr, JP (2003). Genetic modification of alternative respiration has differential effects on antimycin A-induced versus salicylic acid-induced resistance to Tobacco mosaic virus. Plant Physiology 132: 1518-1528.

David Coomes

Post - Lecturer

Main research topics

David Coomes is interested in the processes that drive change in natural ecoystems. He is interested in forest dynamics with a paticular emphasis on the mechanisms that allow conifers to persist in New Zealand lowland rain forests despite competition from angiosperms. Furthermore his group is interested in land use and is assessing the vulnerability of Chilean forests to logging.

David has a great interest in studying invasive organisms, and is studying the long term affect of deer introduction into New Zealand, and the ability of a forest to recover in areas where the deer population is controlled.

Selected publications

Coomes, D.A., Duncan, R.P., Allen R.B. and Truscott, J. (2003) Tree size-frequency distributions are not described by simple scaling rules. Ecology Letters 6, 980-989.

Coomes, D.A. and Grubb, P.J (2003) Colonization, tolerance, competition and seed-size variation within functional groups. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18, 283-291.

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