Dr Lisa Smith

School of Biosciences


Profile photo of Lisa Smith
Profile picture of Profile photo of Lisa Smith
+44 114 222 4702

Full contact details

Dr Lisa Smith
School of Biosciences
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
S10 2TN
  • Lecturer, School of Biosciences, 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)
Research interests

The Smith lab is primarily focused plant reproduction. We study a group of receptor kinases that detect signals coming either from other plant cells or from the surrounding environment. Their functions help the cell and plant develop and respond appropriately according to the wider environment. Our research is currently focussed on the function of malectin-like domain receptor kinases in fertilisation, where the male and female gametes exchange signals. This research on reproduction is in collaboration with Andrew Fleming and Sam Amsbury at the University of Sheffield as well as external collaborators.

A second line of research in the lab examines the developmental roles of malectin domain kinesins. Kinesins are motor proteins that can move around the cell using the cytoskeleton. Kinesins are particularly important in plant cell division where they can restructure the cytoskeleton and shift organelles.  In work funded by The Leverhulme Trust, we aim to understand the function of malectin domain kinesins in reproduction and cell division.

I remain interested in diverse areas of plant molecular biology such as natural variation, epigenetics and transposable elements. Together with Jurriaan Ton and Stephen Rolfe’s labs and external collaborators, I study the long-term effects of biotic stress on heritable variations, and the potential to use transgenerational inherited resistance to make better crops.


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Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers


Research group

Postdoctoral research associates

  • Dr Ellen Allwood: A plant-specific motor during cell division and seed development (funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant)
  • Dr Jen Sloan: Peptide signalling during plant reproduction (BBSRC funded)
  • Dr Alice Baillie: Cell wall changes during plant reproduction (BBSRC funded)
  • Dr Louis Tirot (based in Jurriaan Ton’s group): Epigenetic regulation of plant development and defence (BBSRC IPA funded)

Research technician

  • Peijun Zhang (based in Jurriaan Ton’s group): Epigenetic regulation of plant development and defence.

PhD students

  • Adam Parker: Role of cytidine deaminase in (epi)genetic adaptation of the plant immune system.  (BBSRC White Rose Mechanistic Biology DTP: primary supervisor Prof. Jurriaan Ton)
Teaching activities

I currently (2023-24) teach on the following modules:

  • APS11004 Plant Sciences: How to make a green planet
  • APS11009 Skills in Biology
  • BIS214 Plant, Cell and Environment
  • APS31005 Biological Laboratory Research - Applied Molecular Biology
  • APS355 Future Plants
  • L1 and L2 tutorials
  • BIS302 Literature Review
  • BIS303 Research Project
  • APS609 Research Project
  • APS610 Science Communication for Researchers
  • APS6610 Literature Review
  • APS6617 Scientific Skills and Project Management

I coordinate and am admissions tutor for our Masters of Research programme together with Prof. Steve Rolfe. I am also the PGT Year Tutor for the School of Biosciences.