The making of a biological solar cell

Genetic approaches to understand the beauty and complexity of chloroplast biogenesis

  • Thu 1 Jun 23

    13:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus

    STEM 3.1

  • Event speaker

    Enrique López-Juez

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Life Sciences, School of

  • Contact details

    Professor Tracy Lawson

Please note that this event has moved to 1st June 2023.


Almost all the energy flowing through the biosphere on land enters it through the leaves of plants, biological solar panels, chloroplasts arguably constituting the biological solar cells.

We have acquired deep knowledge about the make-up and function of chloroplasts, yet our understanding is surprisingly limited about how different cells develop, or not, a full complement of photosynthetic chloroplasts, to occupy the available cellular space to different extents. Chloroplast biogenesis is also subject to intricate cellular checks and balances.

Work in our laboratory has helped construct a detailed “biography of a chloroplast”, and is using genetics, in a model plant and in rice and wheat, to identify the regulatory mechanisms of this most fundamental of processes.


Enrique López-Juez trained and obtained his PhD in Complutense University, in Spain, before working as a postdoctoral fellow in Riken, Japan and at Salk Institute, California.

He has been since 1996 an academic at Royal Holloway, where he is currently a reader. The lab, thanks to true team work, has identified fundamental mechanisms by which the apical meristem of many plants is positively quiescent in the dark and develops leaves in the light, but its current work is almost exclusively on the mechanisms of chloroplast biogenesis, chloroplast-to-nucleus communication and cellular occupancy by the chloroplast compartment. Genetics, transcriptomic and “systems biology” approaches are employed, in Arabidopsis, wheat and rice.

How to attend

This seminar is being held in person in STEM 3.1 (STEM Centre on Square 1, Colchester campus). You can also watch via Zoom (meeting ID: 916 2270 2239)

If you have any queries about this seminar please email Professor Tracy Lawson (tlawson@essex.ac.uk).