Cathie Martin lab research areas

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 specialization 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.

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