Dale Sanders is a plant biologist whose work focusses on plant nutrition. His discoveries have revealed the complex mechanisms that control ion transport across membranes and that are involved in intracellular ion homeostasis.
The calcium ion in particular is involved in transducing a range of environmental and hormonal stimuli into appropriate physiological responses. Elucidation of the network of ion channels that elicit rapid changes in intracellular calcium has been possible through the application of electrophysiological, molecular and imaging approaches, thereby demonstrating how complex calcium signals can be generated in time and space.
Transition metals, especially iron and zinc, play key roles in multiple aspects of biochemistry. Lack of zinc in the human diet is responsible for over 400,000 deaths annually. Dale's research on the molecular mechanisms that underpin the control of zinc distribution to the edible parts of cereals has enabled development of strategies to biofortify cereals and hence address issues of trace element malnutrition.
Honorary Visiting Professor, Department of Biology, University of York