Professor Richard C Leegood
Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0040
Skype: +44 (0)114 222 0040
Room C34c, Alfred Denny Building
BA (1974) MA, PhD (1978), Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge
Post-doctoral research, Department of Botany, University of Sheffield (1977-1983)
Lecturer, Department of Botany, University of Sheffield (1983-1992)
Senior Lecturer, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (1993); Reader (1993-1995); Personal Chair (1995-present)
Key Research Interests
My research is largely concerned with the regulation and control of photosynthetic carbon and nitrogen metabolism in plants and diatoms. We are particularly interested in an enzyme of primary metabolism, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) and in the regulation of this area of metabolism (including phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and other enzymes of primary metabolism and of C4 photosynthesis). Research focussing on PEPCK includes studies of its regulation by phosphorylation, and of its multifarious functions in stomata, in developing seeds, in the vasculature, in trichomes, and in the CO2-concentrating mechanisms of C4 plants and diatoms.
My teaching activities are strongly influenced by my research interests in the environmental adaptations of photosynthesis and metabolism. At level 1, I am module coordinator for APS119 (Animal and Plant Physiology) and cover aspects of physiology that are unique to plants, such as photosynthesis, and the acquisition of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The latter is also the subject of a laboratory class that I teach. I also teach on APS137 (Plant Physiology, Reproduction and Growth).
At level 2 I teach APS206 (Biotechnology and Food), where I consider aspects of food security, such as how plants capture light and allocate assimilates and how this has changed during their evolution and breeding. I also cover the controversial area of biofuels. The lectures in APS216 (Plant, Cell & Environment) reflect an interest in fascinating photosynthetic adaptations, such as Crassulacean Acid Metabolism and how plants live in extreme environments, such as deserts, and in environments with toxic metals (Na, Al and Ni). It also relates to a Level 2 practical course, APS 265 (Environmental Biology), in which students investigate how limiting light and nitrogen affects plant growth and physiology.
These themes are continued into the third year in APS308 (Environmental Regulation in Plants), where I consider the evolution and importance of C4 photosynthesis and how this photosynthetic mechanism might be engineered into plants to improve their productivity.
Current Professional Activities
Editor: Plant Biology
Editorial Board: Journal of Experimental Botany, Plant, Cell and Environment, Bio Formosa
Member of Faculty of 1000
Member of Evaluation Panel for EU Marie Curie Research Training Networks (2004-15)
Member of the Society for Experimental Biology and the American Society of Plant Biologists
Member of BMGF C4 rice consortium, based at the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines
Coordinator of EU Framework 7 Collaborative Project 3to4: Converting C3 to C4 photosynthesis for sustainable agriculture (2012-2016) www.3to4.org, www.facebook.com/3to4photosynthesis, twitter.com/3to4project
Studies of post-translational regulation of C4 enzymes. Funding: EU 3to4 research grant
Emmanuel Gonzalez Escobar
Studies of post-translational regulation of C4 enzymes in Setaria viridis. Funding: UoS Project Sunshine studentship
EU Framework 7 Collaborative Project 3to4: Converting C3 to C4 photosynthesis for sustainable agriculture