We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Seminar series

The Biosciences department runs two seminar series: Departmental seminars that cover a wide range of biological topics, and EEE seminars that cover topics related to Ecology, Evolution and Environment. Please scroll down to find information about these seminars and also recordings of some of the previous talks.


Departmental Seminars

Departmental Seminars are held during term time, on Thursdays from 13.00 - 14.00, currently via Zoom. All undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff are encouraged to attend the talks and are welcome to join afterwards for less formal discussions after the seminar. If you would like more time to talk with the speaker, please contact the host listed for that seminar. Recognising that our audience is likely to be broad, speakers have been asked to make their talks accessible, focusing a substantial part of their material on general issues and background to their work. If you have suggestions for additional speakers or would like to know more about the program, please email:

To attend a seminar, please register by clicking here. You will only need to register once, and it will allow you to attend all seminars in the series. You will receive an email with a Zoom link that you will need to click in order to join a seminar.

Life aquatic: signalling networks mediating flooding stress survival

22nd October 2020, 13:00, Via Zoom, Dr Rashmi Sasidharan, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Host: Dr Marc Knight

About the speaker: Rashmi Sasidharan is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She obtained her PhD degree at the University of Calgary (Canada), for her research on the role of plant cell wall proteins in shade-induced phenotypic plasticity. Her current research is focussed on investigating flooding and hypoxia survival mechanisms in plants. Although plant responses to these stresses are well characterized, the genes and processes mediating the tremendous variation in tolerance and mechanisms underlying the survival strategies of plants from flood-prone environments is largely unexplored. Rashmi’s research combines biochemical, molecular and genomic approaches in both wild and model plant species, to identify tolerance mechanisms. Rashmi’s research is funded by prestigious Veni and Vidi personal grants from the Dutch research council (NWO). Rashmi also serves on the board of the International society for Plant Anaerobiosis and the Young Faculty Association within Science for Life at Utrecht University, promoting curiosity driven research.


Flooding is a compound stress and associated perturbations in molecules such oxygen, ethylene, reactive oxygen species and carbohydrates can trigger downstream acclimative responses in affected plants. The changes in these signals can be dynamic and dependent on the plant organ that is affected and the conditions of flooding. There is a tremendous variation in flooding tolerance both within and across plant species. Understanding the molecular basis of this variation can identify regulatory genes and networks mediating tolerance. To this end, we have exploited natural variation in dicot wild and model plant species, combining submergence physiology with genome-wide transcriptome and metabolite profiling. Our studies reveal a hierarchy of flood generated signals and the importance of metabolic reconfiguration and energy conservation. In this context, I will highlight our work on flooding responses in Arabidopsis thaliana focussing on the molecular signalling networks triggered by these signals, the role of ethylene as an early and reliable flooding signal and post-submergence recovery as an important aspect of flooding tolerance.

Contact for more information about this event.

Ecology, Evolution and Environment (EEE) seminar series

These seminars will take place online via Zoom, and the joining links have been emailed to all Biosciences students and staff. Links to recorded seminars will be also posted here after each seminar. If you have any questions, please contact the EEE seminar organiser Dr Jonathan Drury (

13 October, 12 PM: Dr Richard Fuller (The University of Queensland, Australia), “Experiencing nature in a post-biodiversity world”

27 October, 4PM: Dr Jenn Baltzer (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada), “Fire and the decline of fire-adapted black spruce in the boreal forest”

10 November, 4PM: Dr Yann Bourgeois (University of Portsmouth, UK), “A population genomics perspective on transposable elements dynamics”

24 November, 4PM: Dr Yusan Yang (Washington University, USA), “Color polymorphism, divergent mating behavior, and the evolution of reproductive isolation”

8 December, 12PM: Dr Annette Fayet (University of Oxford, UK), “Drivers of seabird migration movements and their fitness consequences”

Seminar recordings

8th October 2020, Dr Rich Roberts, "Bacterial Methylomes":

13th October 2020: Dr Richard Fuller, “Experiencing nature in a post-biodiversity world” :

15th October 2020, Dr Vivek Nityananda, "Stereo vision and prey detection in the praying mantis":

22nd October 2020, Dr Rashmi Sasidharan, "Life aquatic: signalling networks mediating flooding stress survival":