Group members

Alistair McCormick (Group Leader)

Alistair holds an MSc from the University of Stellenbosch and a PhD from the University of KwaZulu Natal, which he gained while at the South African Sugarcane Research Institute. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and John Innes Centre before joining Edinburgh in October 2013 as a Chancellor’s Fellow in plant molecular physiology and synthetic biology. Alistair's research interests have centred around photosynthesis and how it can be manipulated to produce novel products or improve plant productivity. 

Publications available at Google Scholar.

Nicky Atkinson (Postdoctoral Researcher - UK)

Nicky obtained a PhD in Plant Science from the University of Leeds, studying the interaction of biotic and abiotic stresses in Arabidopsis and tomato. She then worked on host-pathogen interactions using viruses at The Roslin Centre, before joining Alistair's team in November 2014. Her project focuses on the improvement of photosynthetic efficiency in Arabidopsis by developing a carbon concentrating mechanism based on that found in green algae. The aim of this is to improve productivity in C3 plants as well as increasing water use efficiency.


Ravi Vasudevan (Postdoctoral Researcher - India)

Ravi holds an MSc., MPhil in Botany from the University of Madras, with specialization in plant tissue culture and biotechnology and a PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he studied the electron transport chain in cyanobacteria and higher plants, especially the low molecular weight luminal electron carriers. His research focuses on cyanobacterial synthetic biology and how it can be manipulated to produce commercial products.

Christos Velanis (Postdoctoral Researcher - Greece)

Chris is a biologist who decided, quite early in his career, while still an undergraduate in the University of Athens (GR), that plants would be cooler and much more fun to study compared to other organisms. Never regretting that choice (or being stubborn enough not to let it go) he moved to sunny Crete (GR) to obtain an MSc Degree in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. There he felt that he had received enough sunshine for a decade, and decided to move to the UK to obtain a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow. His research focused on the transcriptional regulation of the photomorphogenic responses of plants to UV-B light. He has now joined Alistair’s team with the aim of gaining a more solid understanding of photosynthesis.


Livia Scorza ( Postdoctoral Researcher - Brazil)

Livia holds a MsC and PhD in Plant Biology from the University of Campinas in Brazil, where she worked on the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the unconventional morphology of passion flowers. Her work in plant development aroused her interest in understanding more about plant plasticity and how plants acquire their particular shapes. She then worked in the University of Edinburgh on Arabidopsis regeneration and on responses induced by touch in barley, before joining this lab. Her current work aims to set up a novel low-cost photometric stereo 3-D imaging platform for robust and automated plant phenotyping. 

Sophie Donovan (BBSRC-EastBio PhD Student - UK) 

Panupon Khumsupan (Darwin Trust PhD Student - Thailand)

Alejandra Schiavon (CONACYT PhD Student - Mexico)

Grant Gale (BBSRC-CASE PhD Student - UK)

with Dr Baojun Wang.

Anton Puzorjov (IBIOIC PhD Student - Estonia)

Alexandros Vardakis (Darwin Trust PhD Student - Greece)

Andrei Dobrescu (EPSRC PhD Student -  Romania)

with Dr Sotirios Tsaftaris.


Previous members of the lab:




Maia Morgan (Honours Student - Trinidad & Tobago)

Ling Ng (Honours Student - Malaysia)

Hamish Bettany (MSc Student - UK)

Eva Steele (2nd Year Summer Student - UK)



Anton Puzorjov (Honours Student - Estonia)

John Malin (MSc Student - USA)

Theo Paquet (MSc Student - France)

Maximilian Hartung (2nd Year Student, EastBio Research Experience Placement - Germany)



Fani Ntana (MSc Student - Greece)



Antri Georgiou (MSc Student - Cyprus)

Kate Gilbert (MSc Student - USA)

Faziera Salim (MSc Student - Malaysia)

Armin Kubis (MSc Student, Jeff Schell Scholarship - Germany)