Professor Ian A Graham FRS
Director of BioYork and Weston Chair of Biochemical Genetics

Complete our quick survey to help us improve staff profile pages

Profile

Career

 

2018 - present           Director of BioYork University of York led initiative
2014 - 2018 Head of Department Department of Biology, University of York
2008 - 2013 CNAP Director CNAP, Department of Biology, University of York
2003 - 2008 CNAP Deputy Director CNAP, Department of Biology, University of York
1999 - present Weston Chair of Biochemical Genetics Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), Department of Biology, University of York
1998 - 1999 Senior Lecturer Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Glasgow
1994 SERC/NATO funded research scientist Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institute, Stanford
1993 - 1998 Lecturer Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Glasgow
1990 - 1993 Post-doctoral research fellow Department of Plant Science, University of Oxford
1986 - 1989 PhD PhD    Department of Botany, University of Edinburgh
1982 - 1986 BSc First Class Honours in Botany and Genetics The Queens University Belfast

University roles

Director of the BioYork initiative, which is a University of York-led initiative focused on using our world class research and knowledge base to drive the development of UK bio-based industries to deliver growth, jobs and environmental benefits. 

Research

Overview

Ian Graham’s interests include how plants make and breakdown various metabolites, how these processes are controlled and how they impact on plant growth. He has used biochemical genetics to dissect the main metabolic pathways controlling oil mobilisation in Arabidopsis seed (Graham, 2008) provided new insight into how a lipid based signals (Dave et al., 2011) and light quality (Vaistij et al., 2018) control seed germination.  He has used similar approaches to investigate the synthesis of bioactive compounds in two of the world’s major medicinal crops. This has led to new understanding of how genome rearrangement has shaped the evolution of plant metabolism. The discovery of a 10 gene cluster responsible for the production of the anti-cancer compound noscapine in opium poppy provided the tools for molecular breeding of new commercial varieties (Winzer et al., 2012). The discovery of a novel P450 – oxidoreductase gene fusion described the last unknown step in synthesis of morphine and codeine (Winzer et al., 2015) and the first assembly of the opium poppy genome provided new insight into the evolution of morphinan production in this important medicinal crop (Guo et al., 2018).  Characterisation and genetic mapping of traits responsible for production of artemisinin in Artemisia annua (Graham et al., 2010) has enabled development of F1 hybrid seed that can deliver a robust source of this vital anti-malarial drug for the developing world. Molecular genetic dissection of the key steps in artemisinin production has revealed new insight into the flexibility of sesquiterpene metabolism in glandular secretory trichomes and raises the prospect of using these structures for production of other valuable compounds in A. annua (Czechowski et al., 2016). 

Projects

A sustainable supply of artemisinin from high-yield Artemisia annua for treatment of malaria 
Funding body: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
 
Molecular breeding of a commercial pharmaceutical crop
Funding body: Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Pty Ltd 

High Value Chemicals from Plants (HVCfP) network
Funding body: BBSRC

Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids
Funding body: Innovate UK

Research group(s)

StatusNameProject
Snr Research Administrator Judith Mitchell

Various, including poppy etc

Research Associate Dr Theresa Catania  Understanding the regulation of alkaloid biosynthesis in opium poppy and breeding new varieties
Senior Research Associate Dr Tomasz Czechowski Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids // A sustainable supply of artemisinin from high-yield Artemisia annua for treatment of malaria 
Research Associate Dr Anuja Dave Assessing treatment with miltefosine as an intervention strategy for visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil
Research Associate Dr Edith Forestier Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids
Senior Research Associate Dr Tony Larson Leads CNAP Metabolite Profiling Unit (50% time)
Senior Research Associate Dr Yi Li Head of CNAP Bioinformatics Unit 
Research Associate Dr Sandesh Swamidatta Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids 
Senior Research Associate Dr Thilo Winzer Head of CNAP Molecular Breeding Unit
  Dr Caroline Calvert High Value Chemicals from Plants (HVCfP) Network / A sustainable supply of artemisinin from high-yield Artemisia annua for treatment of malaria / Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids
  Dr Wendy Lawley High Value Chemicals from Plants (HVCfP) Network 
PhD student Adama Cole Factors regulating the control of dormancy and seed germination in the model oilseed Arabidopsis
Senior Research Technicial Amy Cording Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids
Senior Research Technician Samantha Donninger Molecular breeding of a commercial pharmaceutical crop
Senior Research Technician Alison Gilday Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids
Technical Specialist David Harvey

CNAP Metabolite Profiling Unit

Senior Research Technician, (70% FTE) Jennifer Hodson Poppy research support
Professor Ian A Graham

Contact details

Prof. Ian A Graham FRS
Director of BioYork and Weston Chair of Biochemical Genetics,
CNAP, Department of Biology
University of York
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328750

http://www.york.ac.uk/org/cnap/
BioYork