Dr Lisa Smith

Dr Lisa Smith

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 4702

Email: lisa.m.smith@sheffield.ac.uk

Room C34a, Alfred Denny Building

Lab website: lisasmithlab.wordpress.com/


Lecturer, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK (2013-present)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany (2007-2013)

PhD Student, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK (2002-2006)

BSc (Hons), The University of Queensland, Australia (1998-2001)

Key Research Interests

The lab is primarily focused on plant development. We are particularly interested in the contribution of a group of carbohydrate (sugar)-binding proteins to plant development and their regulation by environmental signals. The malectin domain receptor-like kinases detect signals from outside the cell either coming from other plant cells or from the surrounding environment. Their functions help the cell and plant develop appropriately according to the wider environment. This research is now focussed on the function of malectin domain receptor-like kinases in fertilisation. We also collaborate with Andrew Fleming’s group on rice leaf development and with Julie Gray’s group on stomatal function.

Another line of research in the Smith lab examines the developmental roles of malectin domain kinesins. Kinesins are motor proteins that can move around the cell using the cytoskeleton. The kinesins are particularly important in plant cell division where they can restructure the cytoskeleton and shift organelles.

We aim to understand the function of malectin domain kinesins in plant development and cell division. This work has recently received funding from The Leverhulme Trust. Further work in the lab is focussed on how agricultural sprout inhibitors inhibit cell division, supported by a BBSRC-funded PhD project with Andrew Fleming and the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.

I remain interested in diverse areas of plant molecular biology such as natural variation and transposable elements. Together with Jurriaan Ton’s lab, I am studying the long-term effects of biotic stress on heritable variations. A collaboration with independent research fellow Stuart Campbell is focused on the effect of transitions from outcrossing to selfing in plants.

Research Group

PhD Students

Naomi Cox: Engineering the rice leaf for improved photosynthesis (White Rose BBSRC iCASE studentship with IRRI: co-supervised by Prof. Andrew Fleming in APS and Prof. Paul Quick at IRRI)

Thomas Grand: The mechanism of cell cycle repression by sprouting inhibitors (White Rose BBSRC iCASE studentship with AHDB: co-supervised with Prof. Andrew Fleming)

Emily Harrison: Combatting climate change by engineering crop water loss (White Rose BBSRC iCASE studentship with Biogemma: primary supervisor Prof. Julie Gray in MBB)


I currently teach on the following modules:

APS138 Molecular and Cellular Biology

APS232 Applied Molecular Biology

APS233 Genomics and Wildlife Forensics

APS355 Future Plants

I also help run the MRes programmes