Personal profile


I am currently a lecturer in the Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Function.  I belong to the Plant Science research group (


Following obtaining a First Class Honours degree in Botany at Manchester, I undertook a PhD (SERC/CASE) looking at 'Nitrite reduction and Carbohydrate Oxidation in pea root plastids'.  This research was carried out under the joint supervision of Mike Emes (at Manchester University) and Derek Hucklesby (Long Ashton Research Station).  My subsequent position as a Postdoctoral Fellow was in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph in Canada.  I  was then funded as a Research Associate in the Department of Cell and Structural Biology, University of Manchester, before being awarded the Royal Society Pickering Research Fellowship.  This allowed me to develop my own research interests both independently and in collaboration with others before being appointed a lecturer.

In 1998 I was awarded the SEB Presidents Medal. 

Research interests

Plant metabolism is highly integrated, involving interaction between pathways within and between different subcellular compartments. The plastid is unique to plants and is the location of a range of assimilatory and biosynthetic processes including amino acid and starch synthesis. My current research is focused on the regulation of, and the interrelationship between carbohydrate metabolism and nitrate assimilation in non-photosynthetic plastids and within whole plants. This programme of work includes:

  1. Isolation and analysis of distinct populations of plastids using a proteomics approach. This work has led to the first identification of unique plastid populations in leaves and has important implications relating to functionality and biosynthesis of a number of major plant products.

  2. The role of a plastidic hexosephosphate translocator and ADP glucose (ADPG) transporter in controlling the supply of substrate for carbohydrate oxidation and starch synthesis. In amyloplasts purified from developing wheat endosperm starch can be synthesised from imported hexose phosphates, ADPG and ATP. The role of these transporters is of prime importance and is being characterised at the biochemical and molecular level to provide a more complete understanding of the structure and role of the translocator in non-photosynthetic plastids (Bowsher et al, 2007b).

  3. Import of proteins into root plastids. We have provided the first published evidence that indicates there are significant differences between the import of proteins into root plastids and chloroplasts, and that there is more than one import pathway (Yan et al, 2006). This project aims to further elucidate the biochemical basis for different protein import pathways and to identify and characterise novel components of the protein translocation machinery from root plastids.

  4. Protein phosphorylation as a mechanism integrating carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism in amyloplasts. This work represents the first published evidence for a role of protein phosphorylation in non-photosynthetic plastids (Lukaszewski et al, 2001; Tetlow et al, 2004).

  5. Study of the role and regulation of multiple forms of the enzyme Ferredoxin NADP oxidoreductase and the balance between nitrogen assimilation, carbohydrate oxidation and starch synthesis. This work builds on our original observations that there is competition for reductant during nitrate assimilation which has important implications for plant productivity (Bowsher et al, 1992, 1996, 2007a).

  6. The molecular mechanisms underlying transcriptional regulation of nitrate assimilation by analysing DNA sequences controlling expression. This work represents the first identification of unique nitrate regulatory factors (Rastogi et al, 1993).


Plants unlike animals have the ability to produce their own food via Photosynthesis. This process takes part in the green parts of a plant – manly in the leaves. Photosynthesis produces carbohydrates, such as starch, and other important food products such as amino acids, proteins and fats. The chemical reactions producing these compounds are catalysed by enzymes found in a part of the cell called the chloroplast. The different enzymes involved in photosynthesis will contribute towards the overall efficiency of the process. This will affect the ability of a leaf to produce carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Understanding chloroplast metabolism will help us understand how photosynthesis is regulated and may lead to an increase in overall yield of the plant such studies may also provide ways to help plants cope with inhospitable conditions such as drought and salinity. The chloroplast is an organelle which belongs to the family of organelles known as plastids. Apart from photosynthesis, plastids are also important in producing amino acids and starch. Our research also investigates how these processes are regulated. This could lead to improved productivity for food and industrial applications.


Pedagogy: From an early stage of being a lecturer I appreciated the need to understand teaching practice and approaches to ensure effective delivery and for this reason, following the Teaching and Learning Course run by the University, I undertook a Developing Learning and Teaching PGCE (awarded January 2005). This was an extremely important opportunity that not only allowed me to reflect on teaching practice and delivery, but also to explore ideas with others from a breadth of backgrounds (Gibbs, 1998). I have taken this ethos into all my teaching experiences since. I routinely review processes that I have undertaken and look at the results of this and reflect on what worked well and how things could have been done differently. An awareness of the important works of Luckin (2010), Bruce (2008) and Laurillard (2012) have been invaluable in framing my understanding of teaching to ensure that a flexible framework is used to integrate teaching in the most effective way to develop students learning.

I aim to ensure that student learning within the context of my responsibilities is enhanced by disciplinary and pedagogic research, scholarship and professional practice. My comprehensive knowledge of best educational practice enables me to support the development of balanced learning environments based on instructional design and cognitive science with more dynamic and interactive learner-centred learning environments involving dialogue and discussion under the banner of constructivism (Laurillard, 2012) and learner generated contexts. Importantly I also ensure that the latter are considered based on the Ecology of Resources (Luckin, 2008). An awareness of appropriate frameworks including the Technology, Content, Pedagogy, knowledge(TCPK) framework (Mishra and Koehler, 2006) and Bruce’s 7 faces (Bruce, 2008), together with the Social theory of learning and consideration of the importance of Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998) are embedded in all that I lead. This educational knowledge is essential in identifying the key areas that should be addressed in a higher education environment to ensure information literacy becomes embedded and integrated into all aspects of students learning (Bruce 2008: 38-59).

In 2015 I applied for and received recognition as a Senior Fellow of the HEA and in
2016 I was awarded Principal Fellow of the HEA status.  I received the University of
Manchester Teaching Excellence Award (2014-15). 

 BRUCE, C. 2008. Informed learning / by Christine Susan Bruce, Chicago, Chicago :Association of College and Research Libraries.

GIBBS, G. 1998. Teaching in higher education : theory and evidence. Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes : Open University.
LAURILLARD, D. 2012. Teaching as a design science : building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology / Diana Laurillard, New York, N.Y., New York, N.Y. : Routledge.
LUCKIN, R. 2008. The learner centric ecology of resources: A framework for using technology to scaffold learning. Computers & Education, 50, 449-462.
MISHRA, P. & KOEHLER, M. J. 2006. Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108, 1017-1054.
WENGER, E. 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


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