I’m a plant ecophysiologist with extensive international experience, a track record of scientific productivity and grant capture. One of my strengths is interdisciplinary research on the interface between basic and applied plant sciences. Research focuses on the exploitation of various species of Lemnaceae (duckweed) for toxicological research, for phytoremediation, and as a useful, native, source of high value protein. This involves detailed analysis of growth and photosynthesis under controlled or outdoor conditions, selection of optimised Lemnaceae strains, monitoring of water quality aspects, and optimisation of biomass production. A second research area is the analysis of plant UV-B responses, including elucidating the role of natural UV-doses in plant acclimation, and the exploitation of UV-effects in protected horticulture. I chaired the European UV4Growth network (2010-2014; 315 members in 29 countries), and subsequently led the international association of plant UV-research, UV4Plants , in the period 2014-2016.
My initial academic training was at the Agricultural University of Wageningen , in The Netherlands, where I studied horticultural sciences. This was followed by PhD-studies at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, under the supervision of Prof. Marvin Edelman . My PhD was entitled “Light driven degradation of photosystem-II reaction centre proteins, mechanism and environmental relevance”, and I was awarded my doctorate in 1994.
Following on from postdoctoral research on the electrophysiology of stomatal guard cells in the laboratory of Prof. Mike Blatt at Wye College, University of London, I returned to the Agricultural University of Wageningen on a fellowship by the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). In Wageningen, I focused on deleterious effects of UV-radiation on photosynthesis. A third postdoctoral fellowship took me back to the UK, where I worked with Prof. Roger Thorneley at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. The focus of our work was on plant peroxidases and their role in plant stress biology. In 2002, I took on a temporary lectureship at the University of Antwerp (Belgium), which resulted in long term fruitful collaborations with Prof. Yves Guisez, Prof. Els Prinsen, and Dr Geert Potters. I was appointed at University College Cork (Ireland) in 2003, at what was then the Department of Zoology, Ecology and Plant Sciences (ZEPS). Since 2010 I am based in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) which was created following the merger of ZEPS with the Department of Geology and the Environmental Sciences degree programme. In 2014 I was promoted to Professor.
See my publications page for a full list of my publications.