The research in my lab aims to develop a better understanding of the behaviour of the metabolic systems of plants in order to devise metabolic engineering strategies that will improve the productivity and quality of crop plants. We use both computational and experimental approaches to achieve this and focus on predicting and measuring fluxes through plant metabolic networks. Computationally this involves a modelling approach known as flux-balance analysis, while experimentally, we measure the redistribution of 13C-labelled carbon substrates using mass spectrometry.
We collaborate with a number of chemists and biochemists to help investigate specific aspects of metabolic activity in plants. These include working with James McCullagh (Department of Chemistry) to analyse plant volatile metabolites, with Kylie Vincent (Department of Chemistry) to understand the mechanistic basis of metabolite channelling between surface-anchored enzymes pairs and with Mark Howarth (Department of Biochemistry) to create synthetic metabolic-channelling enzyme assemblies.