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Former BCFN student Tom Swift awarded prestigious EPSRC doctoral prize

22 February 2019

At the end of 2018, former BCFN student Tom Swift was awarded the prestigious EPSRC doctoral prize to work in Dr Tom Oliver's laboratory on "Understanding the Achilles’ heel of photosynthesis to improve global crop yields”. The doctoral prize fellowship started on 1st February 2019.

More about the project:
It is well established that photosynthesis in plants, the process of converting absorbed sunlight into biomass, is inefficient and greatly underperforms compared to a theoretical maximum of ~12%. From studies of model plant organisms, the major inefficiencies are thought to arise from excess photoprotection, but the specific details  are missing for key crop species such as wheat, corn and rice. In his EPSRC doctoral prize fellowship Tom Swift will elucidate the the mechanisms of photoprotection in these important species using novel ultrafast fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy in the laboratory of Dr Tom Oliver. A rigorous understanding of photoprotection for each cultivar will provide plant breeders with the requisite information of how to breed/design crops to deal with climate change and fully utilise their environments.
At the end of Tom Swift’s PhD, he was the corresponding author for a review paper that was published in Interface Focus:
T.A. Swift, T.A.A. Oliver, M.C. Galan and H.M. Whitney, 'Functional nanomaterials to augment photosynthesis: evidence and considerations for their responsible use in agricultural applications'Interface Focus 9,  20180048 (2019)
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