Prof Cathie Martin

Project Leader
Metabolic Biology

Cathie’s research interests lie in using plant science for improving the human diet and health.  She is particularly interested in biofortification and using plant metabolic engineering to nutritionally enhance foods.

Much of Cathie’s work has been undertaken in tomatoes, enriching their nutrient content with, for example, resveratrol and anthocyanin.

Cathie collaborates to test these enhanced foods in human intervention studies and also undertakes studies into how these modified fruit  demonstrate improved shelf-life through Botrytis resistance.

  • Biofortification of fruit and vegetables for human health
  • Metabolic engineering to enhance phytonutrients such as anthocyanins and resveratrol
  • Improving the shelf-life of fruit and vegetables

 

The Cathie Martin lab has recently been co-ordinating research into the relationship between diet and health, and how crops can be fortified to improve diets and address the global challenge of escalating chronic disease. This work has involved linking leading clinical and epidemiological researchers with plant breeders and metabolic engineers to develop scientific understanding of how diet can help to maintain health, lead to healthy ageing and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

 

This has included research into plants which contain natural chemical compounds, some of which are seen as ‘natural medicines.’ We are particularly interested in phenolic compounds present in fruit and vegetables and also considered to be the main ‘active ingredients’ of many ‘super foods’ and ‘super drinks’.

Cathie's fundamental research has focused on cellular specialisation and she was the first to identify genes regulating cell shaping in plants.

Cathie is particularly interested in cellular specialisation in flowers (colour and cell shape) and how these traits are used by different plants for pollinator attraction and has also been involved in developing genetic screens to identify crops which lack toxins that cause nutritional diseases such as konzo.

Royal Society honour for distinguished John Innes Centre scientist

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Professor Cathie Martin awarded Fellowship from the American Society of Plant Biologists

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New plant research solves a colourful mystery

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Scientists discover how chinese medicinal plant makes anti-cancer compound

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Recent Publications

Dudnik A., Almeida A. F., Andrade R., Breitel D., Love N., Thole V., Trick M., Vain P., Martin C. R., Forster J. (2018)

BacHBerry: BACterial Hosts for production of Bioactive phenolics from bERRY fruits

Phytochemistry Reviews 17 p291-326

Publisher’s version: 10.1007/s11101-017-9532-2

Scarano A., Butelli E., De Santis S., Cavalcanti E., Hill L., De Angelis M., Giovinazzo G., Chieppa M., Martin C., Santino A. (2018)

Combined Dietary Anthocyanins, Flavonols, and Stilbenoids Alleviate Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms in Mice.

Frontiers in nutrition 4 p75

Publisher’s version: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00075

Fu R., Martin C., Zhang Y. (2018)

Next-Generation Plant Metabolic Engineering, Inspired by an Ancient Chinese Irrigation System.

Molecular Plant 11 p47-57

Publisher’s version: 10.1016/j.molp.2017.09.002

Tomlinson M. L., Butelli E., Martin C., Carding S. R. (2017)

Flavonoids from Engineered Tomatoes Inhibit Gut Barrier Pro-inflammatory Cytokines and Chemokines,viaSAPK/JNK and p38 MAPK Pathways.

Frontiers in nutrition 4 p61

Publisher’s version: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00061

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Awards

Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 2018

BBSRC Most Promising Innovator (with Eugenio Butelli), 2014

Member of the Order of the British Empire, 2013

Fellowship from the American Assciation for the Advancement of Science, 2012

Media

For media enquiries, contact the John Innes Centre communications team; comms@jic.ac.uk, or call 01603 450962 

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