Prof Cathie Martin

Project Leader
Metabolic Biology

My 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 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’.

Examples include work researching blood oranges and purple, high anthocyanin tomatoes. For our work on tomatoes Dr Eugenio Butelli, a Post-doctoral scientist in my lab, and I were awarded the BBSRC’s Most Promising Innovator award in 2014.

To ensure that our messages about healthy eating reach consumers, I co-founded a spin-out company, Norfolk Plant Sciences, with Professor Jonathan Jones. We are working to secure the impact of our research on phytonutrients that confer improved health and reduced risk of chronic disease through food products designed to be good for consumers.

I recently appeared alongside Dara O'Briain on BBC's 'Tomorrow's Food', to explain the science behind our purple tomatoes. 

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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Scientists produce beneficial natural compounds in tomato – with potential for industrial scale up

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Recent Publications

Martin C., Li J. (2017)

Medicine is not health care, food is health care: plant metabolic engineering, diet and human health.

New Phytologist Epub ahead of print pEpub ahead of print

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/nph.14730

D'Amelia V., Aversano R., Ruggiero A., Batelli G., Appelhagen I., Dinacci C., Hill L., Martin C., Carputo D. (2017)

Subfunctionalization of duplicate MYB genes in Solanum commersonii generated the cold-induced ScAN2 and the anthocyanin regulator ScAN1.

Plant, Cell & Environment XX p111-123

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/pce.12966

Kallam K., Appelhagen I., Luo J., Albert N., Zhang H., Deroles S., Hill L., Findlay K., Andersen Ø. M., Davies K., Martin C. (2017)

Aromatic Decoration Determines the Formation of Anthocyanic Vacuolar Inclusions.

Current Biology Curr Biol. 2017 Mar 8. pii: S0960-9822(17)30164-1. ppii: S0960-9822(17)30164-1.

Publisher’s version: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.02.027

Butelli E., Garcia-Lor A., Licciardello C., Las Casas G., Hill L., Recupero G. R., Keremane M. L., Ramadugu C., Krueger R., Xu Q., Deng X., Fanciullino A. L., Froelicher Y., Navarro L., Martin C. (2017)

Changes in Anthocyanin Production during Domestication of Citrus.

Plant Physiology 173 p2225-2242

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.16.01701

Ewas M., Gao Y., Wang S., Liu X., Zhang H., Nishawy E. M. E., Ali F., Shahzad R., Ziaf K., Subthain H., Martin C., Luo J. (2016)

Manipulation of S1MX1 for enhanced carotenoids accumulation and drought resistance in tomato

Science Bulletin 61(18) p1413-1418

Publisher’s version: 10.1007/s11434-016-1108-9

View All

Cathie Martin

  • Qing Zhao Postgraduate Student
  • Jie Li Postgraduate Student
  • Dario Breitel Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Ingo Appelhagen Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Javier Galdon Armero Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Angela Julia Russell Research Assistant
  • Dr Nicola Love Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Abhimanyu Sarkar Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Ellie Fearnley Postgraduate Student
  • Erica Hawkins Postgraduate Student
  • Yang Zhang Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Peter Emmrich Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Eugenio Butelli Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Philippe Vain Project Manager


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


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