Prof Julie Gray

Room: C34b
0114 222 4407


Career History

  • 2008 - present: Professor, Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield
  • 1993 - 2007: Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer/Reader Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield
  • 1990 - 1993: University Research Fellow, University of Nottingham
  • 1989 – 1990: Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • 1985 - 1989: PhD, University of Nottingham

University Committees

Research Keywords

Plant development, stomata, environmental signalling


Stomata are pores that open to allow carbon dioxide into leaves for photosynthesis and close to reduce water loss. Stomata are important because their behaviour affects crop productivity, and global carbon and water cycles. We study how stomatal aperture and stomatal development are controlled by the plant, and how environmental change affects both the number of stomata that are produced and their sensitivity. We use molecular genetic techniques to study the evolution of stomatal signalling pathways which are believed to have been important for the greening of the earth over 400 million years ago. Recently we have begun to translate our finding into important crops including wheat and rice, to improve drought tolerance and water use efficiency.


Left: Arabidopsis thaliana, the model plant used for genetic studies. Centre: A pair of guard cells regulate each stomatal pore - chloroplasts fluoresce yellow. Right: Thermal imaging is used to assess stomatal responses. Plants with more open stomata are depicted as pink/blue. They lose more water and are cooler.


Module Coordinator: MBB343 Biochemical Signalling

Level 4 Modules

Level 3 Modules

Level 1 Modules

Lab Group


Current Group Members

Lee Hunt (Research Associate)

Christian Dutton (Grantham PhD student)

Jessica Dunn (BBSRC PhD student)

Bobby Caine (Research Associate)

Jon Hughes (Gatsby PhD student)

Mana Afsharinafar (Research Technician)

Jen Sloan (Research Technician)

Moaed Al Meselmani (Scholar Rescue Fellow)

Ligia Bertolino (Grantham Scholar)

Joanna Landymore (White Rose student)

Selected Publications

Journal articles