Professor Julian Hibberd
Official Fellow; Auditor of the College Accounts
Professor in Photosynthesis
Julian Hibberd was admitted as a Fellow to the College in 2000 having been appointed to a University Lectureship in 1999. He completed his BSc and PhD in Biological Sciences at Bangor University, prior to conducting post-doctoral work in Sheffield and then Cambridge.
Julian Hibberd’s lab conducts research into photosynthetic pathways in plants. Although the work carried out is fundamental in nature, we also have collaborations with applied scientists who are striving to improve crop yields. Currently, our basic science focuses on understanding how genes used in C4 photosynthesis are regulated, and through comparative analysis with orthologous genes in C3 species we infer how gene expression has altered during the evolution of the C4 pathway.
Along with the camera-like eye and mimicry in animals, the C4 pathway is considered one of the most remarkable examples of convergent evolution. Current estimates are that is has evolved in over sixty independent lineages of plants despite the fact that compared with the ancestral C3 system, it involves alterations to leaf biochemistry, cell biology and anatomy.
The lab uses a mix of molecular and synthetic biology, biochemistry, physiology and also computational approaches to address our favourite hypotheses. We receive funding from the BBSRC and the ERC, as well as being part of international research programs that aim to improve photosynthetic efficiency.