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Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Prof Keith Lindsey, FLS, FRSB

Professor in the Department of Biosciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41309

Contact Prof Keith Lindsey (email at


For my first degree I read Botany at St. Catherine's College Oxford, and undertook a PhD at Edinburgh University. I carried out post-doc work in Edinburgh and then Rothamsted, before taking up a position as leader of the Plant Molecular Genetics Group at the Leicester Biocentre, and a lectureship at Leicester University (1989). I moved to a Chair in Durham in 1996.

Our research programme is focused on the developmental biology of plants, and in particular on molecular control mechanisms in embryogenesis and root development. We make use of a range of techniques in functional genomics, and exploit the many advantages of Arabidopsis thaliana as a model experimental organism. We developed promoter trap insertional mutagenesis in a forward genetics approach to identify genes required for correct embryogenesis and root development, and also use reverse genetics techniques (RNAi, identification of gene knockouts) to characterize the functions of genes identified by cDNA cloning. We also developed laser-capture microdissection in combination with expression profiling to identify transcription factors and signalling pathway components expressed in subdomains of developing embryos, and in roots. A current feature of our work is the development of predictive mathematical models to describe gene-hormone signalling network interactions, with Junli Liu and with Michael Goldstein and Ian Vernon in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. We are applying this to understand better the mechanisms regulating meristem function, including in response to environmental stresses. We also have a number of other collaborative projects, both with other academic laboratories and with industry, which build upon expertise and materials developed in our basic science programmes. In particular, we work on cotton genetics and biology with Prof. Xianlong Zhang at Huazhong Agricultural University, China, where I have been appointed Visiting Professor.

I am an Editor of the journal New Phytologist and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the New Phytologist Foundation. I was until recently a member of BBSRC Council, the body that determines policy, priorities and strategy for BBSRC; Chair of BBSRC Appointments Board; and a member of the Defra Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE), which advises Government Ministers on GM and related issues. I am former President and Chair of Council of the Society for Experimental Biology. Some of my publications are listed below.

Related Links

Research Groups

  • Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology
  • Molecular Plant Sciences


Journal Article

Authored book

  • K. Lindsey & M.G.K. Jones (1989). Plant Biotechnology in Agriculture. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Edited book

Chapter in book

  • Mehdi, S., Mudge, A., Rowe, J., Liu, J., Topping, J.F. & Lindsey, K. (2016). The POLARIS Peptide: Role in Hormone Signalling and Root Growth. In Annual Plant Reviews: Peptide Signals in Plants. Huffaker, A. & Pearce, G. Wiley-Blackwell. in press.
  • Lindsey, K. (2015). GM Futures - Perspectives from a plant miolecular biologist. In Governing Agricultural Sustainability: Global Lessons from GM Crops. MacNaughten, P. & Carro-Ripalda, S. Routledge.
  • Fonseka, D.L.C.K., Yang, X., Mudge, A., Topping, J.F. & Lindsey, K. (2013). Embryogenesis in Arabidopsis: Signalling, Genes and the Control of Identity. In Seed Genomics. Becraft, P.W. Wiley-Blackwell. 21-42.
  • Lindsey, K., Mehdi, S., Casson, S.A., Mudge, A.J., Topping, J.F. & Liu, J. (2013). POLARIS. In The Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides, 2nd Edition. Kastin, A.J. Academic Press. 40-45.
  • Casson, S.A., Spencer, M.W.B. & Lindsey, K. (2007). Laser-capture microdissection to study global transcriptional changes during plant embryogenesis. In Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Embryogenesis Methods and Protocols. Suarez, M.F. & Bozhkov, P. New Jersey: Harwood. 427: 111-120.
  • Lindsey, K., Casson, S.A. & Chilley, P.M. (2006). The POLARIS peptide. In The Handbook Of Biologically Active Peptides. Kastin, A.J. Academic Press. 23-27.
  • Lindsey, K. & Wei, W. (2000). Arabidopsis tissue culture, transformation and transient gene expression. In Arabidopsis: A Practical Approach. Wilson, Z. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 123-141.
  • Gheysen, G., Abad, P., Bleve, T., Blok, V., Fenoll, C., Gatehouse, J., Grundler, F., Lindsey, K., Ohl, S., Sagen, K., Shields, R. & Helder, H. (2000). Concerted efforts to develop handles for plant parasitic nematode control. In Phytosphere ’99 – Highlights in European Biotechnology. Developments in Plant Genetics and Breeding 6. de Vries, G.E. & Metzlaff, K. Elsevier. 159-167.