Research Fellows Directory
Dr Laura Barter
Imperial College London
The food, fibre and fuel requirements of an ever-increasing population are some of the major challenges facing current society. The UN food and agricultural organisation predicts that the demand for food will grow by 50% by 2030 and is likely to double by 2050. In parallel energy demands are also projected to increase by up to 50% in the next twenty years. This means that there is a clear need for innovation and technology to increase crop productivity in a sustainable way. One of the primary targets is to increase photosynthetic efficiency. It will be vital that existing and new technologies be applied across the agri-sciences, multidisciplinary approaches being the drivers enabling this.
The underlying theme of research in the Barter group is to determine quantitative structure-function relationships in biological systems employing optical spectroscopic and biochemical techniques allied with modelling and calculation. Particular focus is on developing Chemical Biology tools and technologies (using physical science innovation in e.g. chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering) to quantitatively understand the rate limiting steps and regulatory controls in photosynthesis, to ultimately enhance photosynthetic efficiency and crop yield. One of the main aims of my research is to develop and apply experimental approaches to investigate the regulatory control of photosynthetic networks such as the Calvin cycle, and also to develop chemical tools that can overcome these limitations. Further research avenues include the development of artificial cells using a bottom-up approach, to create self-sustaining microscale machinery.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)