Robert Brench

Speeding towards efficient stomata – the molecular mechanisms that underpin increased stomatal efficiency

About me

I am a graduate from the University of Sheffield with an Msc in Biology. Subsequent to my Masters I worked in the Gray lab for a summer as a research technician, using and consolidating skills obtained during my undergraduate degree. Both my Masters degree and work in the Gray lab sparked my interest in plant molecular biology. In particular, interest in understanding the looming issues of food security, and what genetic variability plants posses that can be exploited in the face of this issue. I worked for 6 months at Syngenta in the double haploid department for 6 months working with new wheat lines. This has provided me with real world experience of the applications of crop improvement, which I can bring into my research.

My project

In the face of future climate change and the warming of the planet, drought periods are expected to become more frequent and widespread. Compounding this issue is the constantly increasing agricultural water usage, creating a further potential need for increased crop resilience to drought conditions.

Stomata exist as the exit point for water leaving the plants, and under dynamic field conditions exist as inefficient organs. Understanding what variation exists across plant phylogenetic groups could shed light on strategies that allow for more efficient stomata that have otherwise gone unnoticed. Further analysis of the cell wall components of such stomata, and the genetic components that underlie them, may provide insight into how plant drought tolerance can be enhanced through stomatal manipulations.


No information available.