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Dr Tony Larson
Head of the Metabolomics and Proteomics Laboratory



Dr Tony R. Larson obtained a PhD degree in Botany in 1998 from the University of British Columbia, Canada, with a focus on diatom lipid metabolism.

He moved to the University of Glasgow in 1998 and worked with Professor Ian Graham to develop analytical workflows for detecting the metabolic intermediates of lipid synthesis and breakdown in the model plant Arabidopsis.

He moved to the University of York in 1999, continuing to work with Professor Graham and more widely within the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products to support LC- and GC-MS based workflows for identifying and screening metabolites from plants and plant derived – products.  

Key projects involved designing and implementing metabolite profiling to support forward- and reverse- genetic screening strategies for breeding programmes around the antimalarial artemisinin from Artemisia annua and benzylisoquinoline alkaloids from Papaver somniferum.  



In 2016 Dr Larson moved to the Bioscience Technology Facility at the University of York, bringing his metabolomic skills to Head the Proteomics lab, which he quickly developed into the multifaceted Metabolomics and Proteomics lab.  

In this role, and as a technical director for the cross-departmental Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry (CoEMS), Dr Larson has promoted and led the use, updating, and new purchase of MS-based equipment with current capital value exceeding £9 million, including being lead PI on multiple successful national grant applications for new instrumentation.  

As a Research Technical Professional he manages a team of four specialists with expertise ranging across the full breadth of biological applications (from bacteria to yeast, algae to plants, cultured mammalian cells to tissue samples), to chemistry driven applications, all underpinning metabolomic and proteomic approaches.

He has worked with and supported over 120 different research groups across these workflows, including partners in academia and industry. He has co-authored more than 70 highly cited research papers and maintains a personal research interest in metabolomics, especially in data mining from hyphenated MS data. 


Full publications list

Winzer T, Gazda V, He Z, Kaminski F, Kern M, Larson TR, Li Y, Meade F, Teodor R, Vaistij FE, Walker C, Bowser TA, Graham IA. (2012) A Papaver somniferum 10-gene cluster for synthesis of the anticancer alkaloid noscapine. Science 336: 1704-1708.

Kuhl C, Tautenhahn R, Buttcher C, Larson TR, Neumann S. (2012) CAMERA: an integrated strategy for compound spectra extraction and annotation of liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry data sets. Anal. Chem. 84: 283-289.

Brown AP, Kroon JTM, Swarbreck D, Febrer M, Larson TR, Graham IA, Caccamo M, Slabas AR. (2012). Tissue-specific whole transcriptome sequencing in castor, directed at understanding triacylglycerol lipid biosynthetic pathways. PLoS ONE 7 (e30100).

Hernandez ML, Whitehead L, He Z, Gazda V, Gilday A, Kozhevnikova E, Vaistij FE, Larson TR, Graham IA. (2012). A cytosolic acyltransferase contributes to triacylglycerol synthesis in sucrose-rescued Arabidopsis seed oil catabolism mutants. Plant Physiol. 160: 215-225.

Dave A, Hernandez ML, He Z, Andriotis VM, Vaistij FE, Larson TR, Graham IA. (2011) 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid accumulation during seed development represses seed germination in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 23: 583-599.

Arajo WL, Ishizaki K, Nunes-Nesi A, Larson TR, Tohge T, Krahnert I, Witt S, Obata T, Schauer N, Graham IA, Leaver CJ, Fernie AR (2010) Identification of the 2-hydroxyglutarate and isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenases as alternative electron donors linking lysine catabolism to the electron transport chain of Arabidopsis mitochondria. Plant Cell 22: 1549-1563.

Scott IM, Vermeer CP, Liakata M, Corol DI, Ward JL, Lin W, Johnson HE, Whitehead L, Kular B, Baker JM, Walsh S, Dave A, Larson TR, Graham IA, Wang TL, King RD, Draper J, Beale MH. (2010) Enhancement of plant metabolite fingerprinting by machine learning. Plant Physiol. 153: 1506-1520.

Graham IA, Besser K, Blumer S, Branigan CA, Czechowski T, Elias L, Guterman I, Harvey D, Isaac PG, Khan AM, Larson TR, Li Y, Pawson T, Penfield T, Rae AM, Rathbone DA, Reid S, Ross J, Smallwood MF, Segura V, Townsend T, Vyas D, Winzer T, Bowles D (2010) The genetic map of Artemisia annua L. identifies loci affecting yield of the antimalarial drug artemisinin. Science 327: 328-331.

Larson TR, Edgell T, Byrne J, Dehesh K, Graham IA (2002) Acyl CoA profiles of transgenic plants that accumulate medium-chain fatty acids indicate inefficient storage lipid synthesis in developing oilseeds. Plant J. 32: 519-527.

Larson TR, Graham IA. (2001) Technical Advance: a novel technique for the sensitive quantification of acyl CoA esters from plant tissues. Plant J. 25: 115-125.

Contact details

Dr Tony Larson
Head of the Metabolomics and Proteomics Laboratory
B/K137, Department of Biology
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 328733