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Dr Stephanie Smith

Dr Stephanie Smith

Programme Manager (Higher Education), Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme

Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme (GPSEP)
Sainsbury Laboratory
1 Brookside
Cambridge CB2 1LR

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 336280


I joined the Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme (GPSEP) team in August 2019 to oversee the programme’s engagement of contemporary plant science research and opportunities with students in post-16 education. This involves the development, planning and evaluation of high-quality plant science-related activities, such as the annual Gatsby Plant Science Summer School programme and Plant Science Masterclasses, which include in-person teaching sessions by world experts in numerous plant biology fields.

Research Background

Before joining the GPSEP team, I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, where I was investigating the control of shoot branching by nitrate availability in the model monocot plant Brachypodium distachyon. Nitrate is a key source of fixed nitrogen (N) for plant nutrition. This project represents one aspect of a collaborative effort to optimise N-use in agriculture, the Cambridge-India Network for Translational Research in Nitrogen (CINTRIN), which is led by NIAB, Cambridge. The optimisation of N-use - particularly in countries such as India, which currently rely on heavy N-inputs - has the potential to bring many agricultural, economic and environmental benefits.

I completed my PhD at the University of Nottingham, investigating how a family of small post-translationally modified peptides affect root branching in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Key Publications

Smith S, Bandyopadhyay T. (2019) Opening the dialogue: Research networks between high‐ and low‐income countries further understanding of global agro‐climatic challenges. Plants, People, Planet 2: 98–101.

Roberts I, Smith S, Stes E, De Rybel B, Staes A, van de Cotte B, Njo MF, Dedeyne L, Demol H, Lavenus J, Audenaert D, Gevaert K, Beeckman T, De Smet I. (2016). CEP5 and XIP1/CEPR1 regulate lateral root initiation in Arabidopsis. J Exp Bot 67 (16): 4889-4899.

Cho H, Ryu H, Rho S, Hill K, Smith S, Audenaert D, Park J, Han S, Beeckman T, Bennett MJ, Hwang D, De Smet I, Hwang I. (2014). A secreted peptide acts on BIN2-mediated phosphorylation of ARFs to potentiate auxin response during lateral root development. Nature Cell Biology 16, 66-76. 

Roberts I, Smith S, De Rybel B, Van Den Broeke J, Smet W, De Cokere S, Mispelaere M, De Smet I, Beeckman T. (2013). The CEP family in land plants: evolutionary analyses, expression studies, and role in Arabidopsis shoot development. Journal of Experimental Botany 64, 5371-81. 

Murphy E, Smith S, De Smet I. (2012). Small signaling peptides in Arabidopsis development: how cells communicate over a short distance. Plant Cell 24, 3198-217.

Smith S, De Smet I. (2012). Root system architecture: insights from Arabidopsis and cereal crops. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London B: Biological Sciences 367, 1441-52.