Dr Thomas Howard
Shell Open Innovation Independent Research Fellow


I am a molecular biologist and biochemist interested in how complex and highly coordinated metabolic networks emerge from metabolic pathways. My research currently focuses on the production of industry-friendly biofuel molecules. I was part of the team that was awarded a University of Exeter Impact Award for 'Outstanding Impact in Technology' and was a BBSRC Innovator of the Year Finalist in 2014.

I received my B.Sc. from the University of Reading, during which time I was awarded an Erasmus Exchange Scholarship to study ‘Plant Cell and Molecular Biology’ at Uppsala University in Sweden, a visit that was key to inspiring my choice of research area. I subsequently gained my Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield working as a BBSRC Case Award student with Advanced Technologies (Cambridge) Ltd. using plant biotechnology for crop improvement. I have since published my research on a number of different aspects of the genetic and biochemical regulation of carbon flux both at the University of Essex and the John Innes Centre. I joined Exeter in 2011 and became a Shell Open Innovation Independent Research Fellow in 2013.

I have a strong commitment to student-led research. I instigated and supervised the University of Exeter’s first entry into the iGEM competition in 2012 (creating The 4th Domain along the way), and I am supervising the 2014 team. I teach undergraduate and postgraduate studies as part of the modules: ‘Plants’, ‘Medical and General Microbiology’, ‘Biosciences Independent Research Projects’  and ‘Environmental and Applied Microbiology’ as well as actively supporting wider participation in science through the Nuffield student scholarship scheme.

Broad research specialisms:

Metabolic Biology; Carbon Flux; Biofuels & Bioenergy; Synthetic Biology for Enhanced Metabolic Engineering, Student-Led Research.


B.Sc., Ph.D., ASPIRE Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1392 729297
BuildingGeoffrey Pope
OfficeMezzanine Lab
AddressGeoffrey Pope Building
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Exeter
Stocker Road

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