Dr Matthew Jones

School of Biological Sciences
Dr Matthew Jones



2015- present: Lecturer, University of Essex 2012- 2015: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Essex 2008-2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harmer Lab, UC Davis 2004-2008: PhD (Molecular and Cellular Biology), University of Glasgow 2001-2004: BA (Hons), The Queen's College, University of Oxford Current Group Members: Miss Suzanne Litthauer(PhD student) Mr Martin Battle(PhD student) Mr Jim Stevens(PhD student) Kat Malpas (University of Essex Frontrunner) Sareeta Bagri (University of Essex Frontrunner)


  • PhD (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

  • FHEA (Fellow of Higher Education Academy)

  • BA (Hons) Biological Sciences


University of Essex

  • Lecturer, Biological Sciences University of Essex ( 1/9/2015 - present )

  • Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, Biological Sciences University of Essex ( 1/9/2012 - 31/8/2015 )

Research and professional activities

Research interests

abiotic stress



Current research

We live in a changing world, with climate change and a rapidly increasing human population acting as synergistic pressures that challenge our ability to provide an adequate food supply. Arable crops experience a variety of stresses during their life cycles that if uncorrected lead to reduced yields. Many of these abiotic stresses are most likely to occur during certain periods of day. For example, heat stress is typically experienced during the mid-afternoon whereas frost damage is associated with cooling that occurs overnight. Plants have evolved several strategies to mitigate these effects including the coupling of stress responses to the circadian clock. This molecular oscillator provides an internal timing reference that also coordinates developmental and physiological processes such as growth, chlorophyll synthesis and flowering time in plants. The coordination of these molecular and physiological processes with the external environment confers an adaptive advantage in higher plants.

My lab investigates how light signals from the environment and the circadian clock interact with the ultimate goal of minimizing crop loss in adverse conditions.

Conferences and presentations

March 2015 -Invited Speaker: Environmental and metabolic control of plant growth and development, Brazil

September 2014 -Session Chair: Genetic Improvement To Reduce Photooxidative Stress In Rice, Thailand.

June 2014 -Invited Speaker: Coping With a Rhythmic Environment: The Interplay Between Circadian Clocks, Metabolic State and Environmental Stress Manchester

July 2013 -Invited Speaker: SFB924 Summer Retreat (DFG, Munich, Germany)

July 2012 -Invited Speaker: Post-Transcriptional Regulation, ASPB, USA

September 2011 - Invited Speaker: Dynamic biology - New Levels and New Dimensions of Regulation, Cambridge

Teaching and supervision

  • Genetics and Evolution (BS102)

  • Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences (BS141)

  • Enterprise and Employability for the Biosciences (BS211)

  • Molecular Biology: Genes, Proteins and Disease (BS221)

  • Research Project in Biomolecular Science (BS831)

  • Plant Biotechnology (BS323)

  • Research Project in Ecological and Marine Sciences (BS832)


Journals (16)

Litthauer, S., Chan, KX. and Jones, MA., (2018). 3'-Phosphoadenosine 5'-Phosphate Accumulation Delays the Circadian System.. Plant Physiology. 176 (4)

Malpas, KR. and Jones, MA., (2016). Natural Variation of Circadian Rhythms in Kalanchoe Species. Haseltonia. 22 (22)

Litthauer, S., Battle, MW. and Jones, MA., (2016). Phototropins do not alter accumulation of evening-phased circadian transcripts under blue light.. Plant signaling & behavior. 11 (2)

Litthauer, S., Battle, MW., Lawson, T. and Jones, MA., (2015). Phototropins maintain robust circadian oscillation of PSII operating efficiency under blue light. The Plant Journal. 83 (6)

Jones, MA., Hu, W., Litthauer, S., Lagarias, JC. and Harmer, SL., (2015). A Constitutively Active Allele of Phytochrome B Maintains Circadian Robustness in the Absence of Light. Plant Physiology. 169 (1)

Hu, W., Franklin, KA., Sharrock, RA., Jones, MA., Harmer, SL. and Lagarias, JC., (2013). Unanticipated regulatory roles for Arabidopsis phytochromes revealed by null mutant analysis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110 (4)

Jones, MA., Williams, BA., McNicol, J., Simpson, CG., Brown, JW. and Harmer, SL., (2012). Mutation of Arabidopsis SPLICEOSOMAL TIMEKEEPER LOCUS1 Causes Circadian Clock Defects. The Plant Cell. 24 (10)

Jones, MA. and Harmer, SL., (2011). JMJD5 Functions in concert with TOC1 in the arabidopsis circadian system. Plant Signaling & Behavior. 6 (3)

Copenhaver, GP., Rawat, R., Takahashi, N., Hsu, PY., Jones, MA., Schwartz, J., Salemi, MR., Phinney, BS. and Harmer, SL., (2011). REVEILLE8 and PSEUDO-REPONSE REGULATOR5 Form a Negative Feedback Loop within the Arabidopsis Circadian Clock. PLoS Genetics. 7 (3)

Jones, MA., Covington, MF., DiTacchio, L., Vollmers, C., Panda, S. and Harmer, SL., (2010). Jumonji domain protein JMJD5 functions in both the plant and human circadian systems. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America. 107 (50)

Kaiserli, E., Sullivan, S., Jones, MA., Feeney, KA. and Christie, JM., (2009). Domain Swapping to Assess the Mechanistic Basis of Arabidopsis Phototropin 1 Receptor Kinase Activation and Endocytosis by Blue Light. The Plant Cell. 21 (10)

Jones, MA., (2009). Entrainment of the Arabidopsis Circadian Clock. Journal of Plant Biology. 52 (3)

Rawat, R., Schwartz, J., Jones, MA., Sairanen, I., Cheng, Y., Andersson, CR., Zhao, Y., Ljung, K. and Harmer, SL., (2009). REVEILLE1, a Myb-like transcription factor, integrates the circadian clock and auxin pathways. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106 (39)

Sullivan, S., Thomson, CE., Lamont, DJ., Jones, MA. and Christie, JM., (2008). In Vivo Phosphorylation Site Mapping and Functional Characterization of Arabidopsis Phototropin 1. Molecular Plant. 1 (1)

Jones, MA. and Christie, JM., (2008). Phototropin Receptor Kinase Activation by Blue Light. Plant Signaling & Behavior. 3 (1)

Jones, MA., Feeney, KA., Kelly, SM. and Christie, JM., (2007). Mutational Analysis of Phototropin 1 Provides Insights into the Mechanism Underlying LOV2 Signal Transmission. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 282 (9)

Chapters (1)

Jones, MA., (2018). Interplay of Circadian Rhythms and Light in the Regulation of Photosynthesis-Derived Metabolism. In: Progress in Botany. Editors: Lüttge, U., . Springer

Grants and funding


Measuring daily variations in photosynthetic efficiency in Kalanchoe species

Cactus & Succulent Society of America


Understanding How Light Affects the Circadian System in Plants

The Royal Society

Identifying and characterizing new components of the circadian clock

Society of Biology


Early Career Fellowship - Dr Matthew Jones

Leverhulme Trust

+44 (0) 1206 874740


3SW.4.40, Colchester Campus

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