Sustainability database


Dr Patrick Gallois

Senior Lecturer

There are many situations in a plant’s life when self-destruction of some cells is required. This may happen to create empty spaces inside tissues or when energy needs recycling for new growth or when a scorched earth policy is required to stop the progression of a pathogen. These situations occur during e.g. the germination of seeds, the differentiation of vascular elements, the reproduction and the senescence of plants and under pathogen attack. In all cases, a precise and spatially confined activation of cell death is required and can only been achieved by a complex genetic control. Genetically controlled self-destruction of a cell is termed Programmed Cell Death (PCD). The process of PCD in plants is unlikely to mirror what has been described in animal and is likely to represent a novel alternative pathway to be discovered. In particular, major animal regulators such as the Bcl2 family and the caspase family are absent from plants genomes. Unravelling the molecular mechanism of plant PCD has implications for the understanding of PCD evolution in eukaryotes and for biotech applications in plants and algae. The research in my laboratory is entirely focussed on discovering the network of the core components of PCD in plants.

Teaching interests include explaining the contribution of Plant Sciences to solving major societal and environmental challenges

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Interdisciplinary themes: 



Plants for the Future

Addresses how plant biology is related to challenges faced by humanity. Food security; renewable energy; climate change models; population


Green Biotechnology

Green biotechnology; plant biotechnology; biofuels; ethical issues such as impact on the environment


Microalgae and biofuels


Environment and Ecology

The Faculty of Life Science's Environment and Ecology research theme (Directed by Prof Richard Preziosi) focuses on applied research that addresses 21st century environmental challenges.

The food we eat, the water we drink, and the fuel that powers our industries are all dwindling resources that we harvest from the world around us. As our populations expand and natural areas are converted to farmland and cities, we lose the services that nature provided for free.

Environment, Ecology, Biology, Biodiversity


Plant Sciences

Plants form the basis of life on Earth...

They are essential to us as food and their domestication was a primary driving factor in the birth of civilisation. Now, with the rising world population and climate change increasing the frequency of crop failures, food supply is becoming a key issue throughout the world. At the same time, plants are playing a growing role in meeting our energy needs and have enormous potential as sources of novel compounds.

Plants, Plant science, Biology, Climate change


Cell Organisation and Dynamics

Our group brings together researchers investigating various aspects of cell organisation and dynamics. A major focus is to understand the mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis, targeting and trafficking of proteins within the cell. We also investigate membrane and cytoskeletal dynamics, intracellular ion homeostasis and the cellular processes responsible for plant growth and development. A major goal is to decipher how defects in these processes leads to disease.