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Martin McAinsh supervises 7 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Martin McAinsh

Director of Undergraduate Biology

Research overview

My research focuses on plant-environment interactions at the whole-plant, cellular and molecular levels. I am interested in the mechanisms by which plants respond to changes in their environment including drought, elevated carbon dioxide, high rhizospheric calcium and ozone stress. In particular, I am interested in understanding the cellular/molecular basis of how plants tolerate these environmental stresses and how this relates to agricultural sustainability and food security.

Research Interests

Stress signalling: I am interested in the role of calcium ions as second messengers in the response of plants to stress focusing on the stomatal guard cell as a model system. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms by which stimulus-specific information is encoded in the calcium signal through the generation of a ‘calcium signature’.

The perception and response of plants to ozone: I have a long-term interest in the molecular mechanisms by which plant responses to oxidative stresses such as ozone focusing.

Sustainably enhancement of agricultural production: I am working with agribusiness to develop solutions for increasing the yield per unit area of growing land including vertical growing technologies, ‘plant factories’ and urban agriculture.

Reducing waste in the food chain: I am exploring technology-based solutions for reducing the amount of food wasted from farm to fork due to losses resulting from damage by pests and pathogens, and spoilage focusing on the application of biospectroscopy-based solutions.

Increased crop nutritional quality: I am interest in the application of fundamental science alongside new emerging technologies for improving the nutritional quality of crops through the manipulation of the plant growing environment approaches in ‘plant factories’.

My research has been supported by NERC, BBSRC, The Royal Society, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the European Union (EU) in collaboration with agribusiness (Barfoots Ltd, Saturn Bioponics Ltd, Plant Impact plc, Phlorum Ltd, Globachem Discovery Ltd, Suncrop Produce Ltd, May Barn Consultancy, Waitrose Agronomy Group).

Current Research

Current projects in my laboratory include:

Can we reduce food waste in the supply chain from farm to fork? (with SunCrop Produce Ltd)

Can we reduce the use of single use plastics in food production? (with Waitrose Agronomy Group)

Optimization of phytonutrient and vitamin content of salad leaves grown in an Intensive, multi-level hydroponics system using LED lighting (with May Barn Consultancy)

Novel approaches for mitigating the impacts of Japanese knotweed (with Phlorum Ltd)

Crop abiotic stress modulators (with Globachem Discovery Ltd)

Impacts of seed priming on seed dormancy in temperate region tree species

External Roles

Editor of the New Phytologist

Associate editor of BMC Plant Biology

Editorial advisor for Wiley Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (eLS)

Contributing member of the Plant Biology Faculty of Faculty of 1000 (F1000).


My Role

I am Director of Undergraduate Biology which is a joint appointment between Faculty of Health and Medicine and Faculty of Science and Technology. In this role I am responsible for leading and integrating the marketing and recruitment to all Lancaster undergraduate Biosciences degree programmes, and leading and managing the Undergraduate Biology degree programme.

Current Teaching

I currently teach on the following modules:

BIOL111 – Molecules of Life

LEC.144 – Global Change Biology (module organiser)

BIOL201 – Biochemistry

BIOL211 – Cell Biology (module organiser)

LEC.246 – Environmental Physiology

BIOL302 – Cell Signalling, Transport and Disease (module organiser)

LEC.347 – Environmental Plant Biology

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