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Sainsbury Laboratory

I completed my undergraduate degree in Molecular & Cellular Biology (with Plant Science) at the University of Glasgow in 2017. During that time, I worked as a summer student in the laboratory of Prof. George Coupland in the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) in Cologne. In Cologne, I worked on a project concerning the transcriptional control of flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana. In my final year at Glasgow, I also completed an undergraduate project with Prof. John Christie, where I worked on the biochemical dynamics of phototropin blue-light receptor mutants.

Following my degree, I worked for two years as a Senior Research Laboratory Technician in the laboratory of Dr. Sebastian Schornack. During this time I was involved in a project where we characterised the transcriptional and biochemical responses of Marchantia polymorpha to pathogen stress by Phytophthora palmivora. Since October 2019 I am a PhD student in the same team.

Research interests

My scientific goal is to understand how plants sense and respond to their environment. Previous research has mainly been done on the one model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, where we know a lot about these types of responses. But an important frontier is to understand how these responses are conserved and different between plant species that have been separate for long evolutionary timescales. To this end, I am working on elucidating the transcriptional and physiological responses to biotic and abiotic stimuli in the model liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. Marchantia and Arabidopsis had a last common ancestor 470–515 million years ago, around the time of the colonisation of land. By understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms underpinning Marchantia polymorpha responses to its environment, we hope to uncover novel land plant innovations for coping with stress. Comparing our findings to flowering plants will expand our knowledge about conserved and plant system specific mechanisms.

Key publications

Carella, P., Gogleva, A., Hoey, D.J., Bridgen, A.J., Stolze, S.C., Nakagami, H., Schornack, S., 2019. Conserved Biochemical Defenses Underpin Host Responses to Oomycete Infection in an Early-Divergent Land Plant Lineage. Current Biology 29, 2282-2294.e5.

Hart, J.E., Sullivan, S., Hermanowicz, P., Petersen, J., Diaz-Ramos, L.A., Hoey, D.J., Łabuz, J., Christie, J.M., 2019. Engineering the phototropin photocycle improves photoreceptor performance and plant biomass production. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116, 12550–12557.

PhD Student
 David  Hoey

Contact Details

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street
Cambridge CB2 1LR