Dr Douglas OrrLecturer
One of my major focuses is related to the biochemistry of photosynthesis and approaches to improving photosynthetic efficiency through engineering and/or identifying natural variation to incorporate into breeding programs. Much of this work centres on the central enzyme of photosynthesis, Rubisco (Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase). As the gatekeeper of carbon entry into the biosphere, Rubisco serves the critical role of assimilating carbon from atmospheric CO2 for the plant to use in growth. However, Rubisco has undesirable characteristics which make it a major rate-limiter of photosynthesis, particularly in crop plants. Currently my photosynthesis research is focused on two main areas: we are collaborating with colleagues to investigate the incorporation of cyanobacterial carbon concentrating mechanisms into higher plants as a means to overcome some of Rubiscos shortcomings and boost plant productivity; and as part of RIPE: Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, we are investigating Rubisco diversity and it's regulation during rapid changes in conditions.I am also working with colleagues on a number of other ideas around plant engineering for diverse purposes related to plant biotechnology.
Current research contributes to projects studying the implementation of a cyanobacterial CCM into higher plants, Rubisco catalytic diversity, Rubisco regulation under fluctuating conditions, and plant productivity engineering. Many of these projects involve close collaboration with colleagues at Lancaster, particularly within the Photosynthesis Team at LEC.
I have active collaborations with colleagues at the University of Illinois, Cornell University, University of Edinburgh, USDA-ARS, ITQB-Nova Lisboa, UC-Berkley and others.Linking academic research with business to enable innovations that improve sustainability issues are also a big part of my interests. I work with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation as an Associate Director on this.
As part of the Photosynthesis group at LEC I also contribute to disseminating our research through managing the website and twitter of the group. @LancsPhotosynth on Twitter. Lancaster Photosynthesis website: Making the Most of Sunshine
PhD Supervision Interests
I actively seek opportunities for funding of PhD students to work with me on the topics my group covers. Whenever I have funded places available I advertise these on the LEC website and share via twitter. If you have a real interest or even project idea aligned with what I do and would like to apply for funding yourself (e.g. national scholarships to come to the UK) then by all means get in touch.
Realising Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE2)
01/09/2017 → 31/03/2023
Bilateral NSF/BIO-BBSRC Synthesis of Microcompartments in plants for enhanced carbon fixation
01/12/2016 → 30/09/2021
Realizing increased photosynthetic Efficiency for sustainable increases in Crop Yield
01/09/2015 → 31/10/2017
- Plant and Crop Science