12th Aug 2013

Dr Juliet Coates, of the University of Birmingham and a former GARNet Advisory Committee Member, has been awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship. 

The Fellowship scheme, which is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, enables scientists to put teaching and administrative duties aside to do research full time for up to one year by reimbursing the employing institution with the full salary cost of a teaching replacement. Coates says, "I'm really happy to receive this award, and am very excited to be back in the lab. It offers me a chance to carry out some very basic, fundamental 'blue-sky' research."

Coates will be working on the question 'Is there a genetic toolkit for green multicellularity?' She explains, "I will be addressing one of the still little-understood areas of biology, by trying to find out (i) how the multicellular state arise independently on so many occasions, and (ii) whether there are molecular commonalities between the unicellular-multicellular transitions that have occurred at many different points during evolution.

"I will be using two new "green" systems to do this, as they offer (I think) an unparalleled opportunity to answer these questions on a large scale. These systems are a microalga, Scenedesmus, that can be induced to form multicellular structures in response to various stresses, and a green seaweed (macroalga), Ulva, which undergoes two separate unicellular-multicellular transitions during the course of its normal life-cycle. Both these organisms are great for this fundamental research, but also have relatively untapped economic importance as new sources of food and fuel.

"My hope is that in the long run the results obtained from this research can be compared with, and indeed greatly add to, the knowledge already obtained in other systems (animals, amoebae) about how multicellularity arose, and also that what we find out can ultimately enable us to better understand and manipulate plant and algal development in new ways."


The full list of appointments is as follows:

Professor Zafar Bashir (University of Bristol): The hippocampal-perirhinal-prefrontal cortex circuitry

Professor Mark Danson (University of Salford): Terrestrial laser scanner measurement of forest canopy biomass dynamics

Professor Desmond Higham (University of Strathclyde): Evolving Networks: Data to Knowledge

Professor Wolfgang Langbein (Cardiff University): Coherent non-linear micro-spectroscopy of quantum systems and living matter

Professor Margaret MacLean (University of Glasgow): Serotonin and oestrogen in pulmonary arterial hypertension

Dr Balazs Szendroi (University of Oxford): Cohomological Donaldson-Thomas theory: structures and examples