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About the Sainsbury Laboratory

bldg05The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) is a new research institute funded by the Gatsby Foundation. The aim of the Laboratory is to elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development.

Plants are the foundation for virtually every ecosystem and agricultural system on Earth. A fundamental understanding of how plants grow and develop is therefore paramount for the long term security of a sustainable supply of food and other plant products, such as fuel, fibres and building materials.

The study of plant development is being transformed by the new scientific and technical resources becoming available to biologists, including high-throughput DNA sequencing, new imaging methods, increasingly sophisticated genetic tools, and refined chemical interventions. The data derived from these approaches have opened the way for predictive computational models, which are essential for understanding the dynamic, self-organising properties of plants.

We now have an unprecedented opportunity to obtain an integrated understanding of plant development, setting the stage for a new synthesis that will draw on molecular, cellular, whole plant, and population biology to elucidate how plants are constructed. SLCU is establishing a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research environment that will capitalise on these exciting opportunities.

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SLCU gets ready for the Festival of Plants

May 16, 2017

Can we improve crop photosynthesis to feed the world sustainably? A lecture by Prof Steve Long as well as tours, talks and activities mark SLCU's involvement in the upcoming Festival of Plants on 20 May.

How to become a giant cell? Fluctuations in a key regulator guide cell size in flower organs.

Mar 06, 2017

A key regulator has been discovered to determine cell size in flowers through random fluctuations. Counterintuitively, this randomness can lead to patterns. This finding helps us to understand how biological patterns are initiated, how shape and size are determined during growth, and may lead to important discoveries improving crop yields.

Ottoline Leyser honoured with the 2017 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award

Jan 09, 2017

EMBO and FEBS announce SLCU Director Professor Ottoline Leyser as the recipient of the tenth FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award.

Plant ‘thermometer’ discovered that triggers springtime budding by measuring night-time heat

Oct 27, 2016

A photoreceptor molecule in plant cells has been found to moonlight as a thermometer after dark – allowing plants to read seasonal temperature changes. Scientists say the discovery could help breed crops that are more resilient to the temperatures expected to result from climate change.

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