Leading role for top Essex plant physiologist

  • Date

    Tue 6 Jul 21

Professor Tracy Lawson working in greenhouse

Plant physiology expert Professor Tracy Lawson has become Vice President of the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB).

Professor Lawson, from our School of Life Sciences, has scientific expertise and a global reputation in plant environmental physiology and leads several international collaborative consortiums.

Her research focuses on photosynthesis, stomatal behaviour, and water-use efficiency at the leaf and whole plant level. Her research team’s ultimate goal is to understand the impact that the changing environment has on these processes and modify plants to grow more efficiently to feed the world.

Her distinction as a leader in this field was recognised by her inclusion on the 2020 list of Clarivate Highly Cited researchers, with research outputs ranking in the top 1% of citations in in plant and animal science over the last decade.

As the Director of the Essex Plant Innovation Centre, Professor Lawson manages engagement between cross disciplinary research and agri-tech industrial partners. She is also part of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project, which is led by the University of Illinois. It is engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis, the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy, and ultimately yield. The RIPE project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Professor Lawson said: “I am delighted to be selected as the next Vice President of the SEB. It is an important organisation, supporting the next generation of biologists so they can nurture new methods, techniques and ideas and I’m glad to be playing a role in furthering this great work and look forward to working with Jim Murray the current President and entire SEB team.”