Dr S Chivasa
My research for many years has been centred on how we can enhance crop yield through deploying smart interventions to combat pathogen invasion. This nudged me in the direction of salicylic acid (SA) signalling, a pathway invoked by many plants for repulsion of pathogens after an attempted breach of the physical barriers. This fascinating molecule is a naturally occurring plant hormone that has other functions beyond its key role in plant defence systems. It was recognised many years ago that SA signalling can control cellular ATP production by affecting mitochondrial electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. In earlier studies done while at the University of Cambridge, we postulated that chemical inhibition of mitochondrial enzymes by cyanide and hydroxamic acids could point to the involvement of mitochondria in SA functions in defence. In later research at Durham, this link was refined by discovery of the unforeseen role of extracellular ATP in defence regulation. Extracellular ATP functions as a molecular switch to repress or up-regulate the plant’s defences and SA targets this switch. In collaboration with Professor Slabas, we are using the Arabidopsis model system to gain mechanistic insight into pathogen defence, though the main focus is directed at extracellular ATP signalling. However, for some years while still in full time research, I was a director of 2 investment companies and a non-executive director of a commercial bank. Towards the end of 2011, I switched from fulltime research to focus my efforts on building the investment businesses. Nevertheless, the flame of research science still burns brightly.
- Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology
Journal papers: academic
- Wang, Y., Kroon, J.K.M., Slabas, A.R. & Chivasa, S. (2013). Proteomics reveals new insights into the role of light in cadmium response in Arabidopsis cell suspension cultures. Proteomics 1145-1158.
- Chivasa, S, Simon, JW, Murphy, AM, Lindsey, K, Carr, JP & Slabas, AR (2010). The effects of extracellular adenosine 5 '-triphosphate on the tobacco proteome. Proteomics 10(2): 235-244.