Tracey Stevenson

Department of Biosciences Durham University Stockton Road Durham DH1 3LE


Professor Marc Knight and Professor Angharad Gatehouse

I graduated from Newcastle University in 2015 with an honours degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology, followed by an MSc in Industrial and Commercial Biotechnology in 2016. Before embarking on my current studies at Durham, I worked in a research laboratory in Newcastle University researching the genes involved in CaM photosynthesis. I am currently interested in the role of calcium in the plant stress response.

The mechanism of calcium regulation of stress gene expression in plants 

As climate change becomes more evident it is essential to understand how plants react to environmental stresses and if we as scientists can enhance stress resistance in crop plants.

Different environmental stimuli provoke specific changes in gene expression in plants, thus inducing the expression of the particular proteins required to deal with a specific stress. Most environmental stimuli induce cytosolic calcium increases in plant cells and these mediate the changes in gene expression required.

The key questions of my project are:

1. How does calcium regulate the appropriate genes for a given stimulus?

2. Which proteins are required to mediate stress induced tolerance via calcium signalling?

My work aims to answer these questions by investigating a variety of calcium signatures, how they regulate gene expression and adopting a system proteomic approach to identify proteins needed for mediating stress induced tolerance. The final aim of this research is to use these findings to produce wheat lines with enhanced reactive stress tolerance.

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