Professor Nick Smirnoff in the lab

Professor Nick Smirnoff in the lab

Professor Nicholas Smirnoff
Professor of Plant Biochemistry

Profile

My long term research interest is in the metabolism and functions of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in plants. My laboratory has discovered the biosynthetic pathway of ascorbate and more recently we are focussing on control of synthesis in relation to light and its role in photoprotection of photosynthesis. I am more generally interested in the roles of antioxidants and reactive oxygen species. Biochemical and molecular genetics approaches are used, focussing on Arabidopsis thaliana but with increasing emphasis on algae cyanobacteria. I am director of the Exeter Mass Spectrometry Facility.My current research focuses on the following areas.

  • The functions of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants in plants. Currently, the focus is on the metabolism and functions of ascorbate (vitamin C) and imaging hydrogen peroxide production.
  • Plant and algal metabolism and metabolomics. We are developing LC-MS and GC-MS metabolite profiling methods and mass spectral databases for plants and algae. Metabolism of the coccolithophore alga Emiliana huxleyii and the function of calcification. Expression and characterization of synthetic photosynthetic metabolons in cyanobacteria. Imaging plant chemical composition and metabolism using Raman microscopy.
  • Metabolic engineering.   As part of the Exeter Microbial Biofuels Group, I provide expertise in analytical biochemistry and metabolism to engineering hydrocarbon biosynthesis.

Qualifications

1981: PhD in Physiological Ecology, University of St Andrews
1978: BSc Botany, University of Bristol

Career

2006-present: Professor of Plant Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter
2001-2006: Reader in Plant Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter
1998-2001: Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Exeter
1984-1998: Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Exeter
1982-1984: Birkbeck College, University of London
1984: Agricultural and Food Research Council Wain Fellow

 

 

Contact details

Email
Internal tel5168
Tel+44 (0) 1392 725168
BuildingGeoffrey Pope
OfficeMO4
AddressGeoffrey Pope Building
Biosciences
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Exeter
Stocker Road
Exeter
EX4 4QD
UK

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