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Sainsbury Laboratory

Research Interests

In the process of applying optogenetic sensors in plant tissues to study phytohormone patterning it has become clear that high-resolution sensing alone is not sufficient - we also need to be able to perturb phytohormone patterning in high-resolution. The focus of my research is to engineer optogenetic sensors and actuators to study phytohormone patterning in plants, in vivo, in a minimally invasive manner with maximal spatiotemporal resolution. My approach to develop optogenetic actuators for plants that are orthogonal to endogenous light signalling pathways is based on repurposing optogenetic actuators derived from bacterial systems. It is my hope that our optogenetic actuators will enable us to test hypotheses that necessitate single cell perturbations of phytohormone patterns and that we in the future will be able to use light, rather than chemicals, to direct the development of agricultural plants to aid us in securing food availability in a world with a rapidly growing population.

Key Publications

Bo Larsen, Victoria L. Fuller, Jacob Pollier, Alex Van Moerkercke, Fabian Schweizer, Richard Payne  Maite Colinas, Sarah E. O’Connor, Alain Goossens, Barbara A. Halkier. Identification of Iridoid Glucoside Transporters in Catharanthus roseus. Plant and Cell Physiology, Volume 58, Issue 9, 1 September 2017, Pages 1507–1518,

Bo Larsen, Deyang Xu, Barbara Ann Halkier, Hussam Hassan Nour-Eldin. Advances in methods for identification and characterization of plant transporter function. Journal of Experimental Botany, Volume 68, Issue 15, 10 July 2017, Pages 4045–4056,

Research Associate
Dr Bo  Larsen

Contact Details

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street
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