The Guard Cell Group

Confocal image of Arabidopsis stomaWork in Alistair Hetherington’s research group centres on investigating the fundamental mechanisms that allow plant cells to respond to a changing environment. More specifically the group is interested in identifying how plant cells couple the perception of extracellular stimuli to their characteristic intracellular responses. A significant part of the research in the group over the past 20 years has focused on the role of calcium ions in this process and in particular identifying how plant cells generate the increases in intracellular calcium concentration that are key components in the process of signal transduction. To investigate intracellular signaling Alistair Hetherington’s research group works on stomatal guard cells. Guard cells control the aperture of the stomatal pores found on leaves and are important because they regulate CO2 uptake and H2O loss. Hence their correct function is vital to plant growth and survival.

Current projects in the Hetherington group focus on the environmental control of stomatal aperture, especially in response to temperature and CO2, on environmental regulation of stomatal development and on leaf reflectivity. Species studied include the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana, crop species such as wheat and barley and the grass Brachypodium.

To discuss the possibility of joining the group please contact directly Prof. Hetherington.

The Hetherington group is participating in the Tianjin-Bristol research centre for the effects of environment changes on crops. Ioanna Kostaki visited the Tianjin-Bristol research centre in winter 2012-13.

Contact details

Post: School of Biological Sciences
University of Bristol
Woodland Road
Bristol, BS8 1UG
Telephone: + 44 117 954 5968 (Alistair Hetherington)
+ 44 117 331 7942 (Lab)
Fax: + 44 117 331 7985
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