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Plasticity & Robustness: Cellular Understanding of Plant Growth & Defence


Plant responses to pathogens integrate direct spatial information that is enabled through changes in cell polarity. These changes are possible due to the incredible plasticity in plant growth; even though individual cells are incapable of changing neighbours. These alterations in anisotropic growth and polarisation mechanisms rely on an increasingly well-characterised set of molecular components.

Efforts to obtain a fuller understanding of these processes will be enhanced through interactions with mathematicians, modellers, biophysicists amongst others.

The fundamental processes that control of cell polarity, asymmetric growth and the host-pathogen molecular arms race underpin the developmental responses that determine agricultural productivity. Therefore these responses have long-term impacts on food security, modes of sustainable agriculture and support for the bioeconomy.


Project summary

The community’s main objective was to narrow the gap between plant scientists and a multidisciplinary group of potential collaborators by initiating interactions between academics across the GW4 institutions. The community held a two-day meeting to bring together these groups and employed a Scientific Facilitator to help explore new collaborative interactions. From this initial workshop and follow up meetings multiple multidisciplinary groups emerged who are developing research projects and pilot data with the intent to apply for follow-on funding, including both large grant applications and PhD Studentships. In addition, the community’s activities have engendered a wider understanding of the modelling approaches that are used across GW4 institutions, which will promote additional future collaborative opportunities.

The community remains active, with multiple meetings planned to progress collaborations and prepare a group publication.

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter