Dr Karim Sorefan


Tel: 0114 222 2720


Research Precis

My Laboratory works on the molecular mechanisms regulating plant development with a particular focus on linking miRNA and hormonal pathways.

fig1Plant Stem Cell Niche Development

All above ground tissues arise from a small mound of stem cells. These meristematic cells are programmed through hormonal and small RNA mechanisms to develop leaves and flowers (Fig 1). ARGONAUTE10 (AGO10) is a small RNA effector that regulates meristem development (Zhu et al, Cell, 2011) and mutations in AGO10 cause severe developmental abnormalities in the meristem (Fig2). We are investigating how different molecular pathways are coordinated during meristem development. Understanding how meristematic cells are programmed will contribute to the progress made in improving crop productivity fig1and preserve food security.


Computationally Modelling Transcription factor networks
We are collaborating with Dr Scott Grandison at the University of East Anglia to computationally model gene regulatory networks (GRN) in plants. Computational modelling can help us understand how GRN's can arise spontaneously and precisely direct molecular pathways. Currently we have modelled a GRN based on a well characterised transcription factor network in Arabidopsis fruit development (Girin et al. 2009). Many of these transcription factors have functions in the shoot apical meristem development and therefore the computational model will be used to investigate parallels between fruit and shoot apical meristem function.

Research Keywords

Plant development, G-Quadruplexes, hormone signalling, miRNA


Level 3 Modules

Level 2 Modules

Career History

Career History

  • 2013 - present: Lecturer, Dept. of Molecular biology and Biotechnology, Sheffield, UK
  • 2009 - 2013: Senior Postdoctoral Researcher, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • 2002 - 2009: Postdoctoral Researcher, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
  • 1998 - 2002: PhD Student, University of York, UK
  • 1996 - 1998: Research Technician, University of Leicester, UK


Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers


  • Sorefan K, Dalmay T & Moulton V (2013) Analysing sequencing bias. WO2013017861 A3 Appl. 18 Apr 2013. RIS download Bibtex download