Dr James Hartwell and Professor Anne Borland
I’m a second year PhD student studying crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) within the Kalanchoe genus. I did a Bachelors degree in Genetics as I was very curious about how molecular processes influence and control how we live and who we are. At school, I was particularly interested in epigenetics and how the actions we take now can affect our descendents, especially in terms of disease. Because of this, I am now also investigating the effect of methylation upon CAM regulation in Kalanchoe species.
Engineering more water-use efficient crops: functional genomics of weak and strong Crassulacean acid metabolism in diverse species of the genus Kalanchoë
My project focusses on comparative phylogenomic analysis of CAM evolution across the genus Kalanchoë. CAM strength varies across the Kalanchoe genus so that more basal species have weaker CAM while more recent taxonomic groupings have much stronger, obligate CAM. Phylogenetic and physiological studies in the Kalanchoë genus have revealed that the level of CAM performed by each species and taxonomic groupings within the genus, are also evidenced by DNA polymorphisms. This suggests there is a genetic basis for the difference in CAM strength between Kalanchoë species. My project aims to analyse the available Kalanchoë genomes and epigenomes to identify the genetic differences between weak CAM species (K. gracilipes) and strong CAM species (K. fedtschenkoi and K. laxiflora) in order to highlight crucial elements required for strong CAM.
In my free time, I am a film enthusiast and I like tea.