Alistair McCormick (Group Leader)

Alistair is a Reader in Plant Molecular Physiology and Synthetic Biology and current Director of Edinburgh Plant Science. 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. 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 CO2-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.

Anja Nenninger (Postdoctoral Researcher - Germany)

Anja obtained her PhD (German equivalent) in Biology from the University of Bremen, Germany, working on ectomycorrhizas on pine trees. She initially came to the UK for a postdoc project on witches’ broom disease in cocoa, and after working in Wales, England, Denmark, and Sweden, joined the McCormick Lab as a molecular microbiologist in November 2019. She is involved in building CyanoSource, the first barcoded cyanobacterial mutant library for the model organism Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 in collaboration with the University of East Anglia.

Aranzazú Díaz-Ramos (Postdoctoral Researcher - Mexico)

Aranzazú holds a BSc in Biotechnology Engineering from Tec de Monterrey and a PhD in Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology from the University of Glasgow. Her PhD project investigated several aspects of the function of the UV-B photoreceptor UVR8 in Arabidopsis, in particular the role of tryptophan amino acids in UV-B perception and response. Her interest in crop innovation and the application of plant molecular biology to enhance plant growth led her to join the McCormicklab in December 2019. She is now part of the CAPP project which focuses on developing a CO2-concentrating mechanism in C3 plants to improve their productivity.


Yuwei Mao (Darwin Trust PhD Student - China)

Yuwei obtained an MSc in Developmental Biology from the Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, studying the molecular mechanisms how cotton and Arabidopsis respond to heat stress. Her work focuses on engineering Rubisco and introducing pyrenoid-based CO2-concentrating mechanism components into Arabidopsis and tobacco.

Liat Adler (BBSRC-EastBio PhD Student - UK) 

Liat received an MSci in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge. She is currently working on expressing putative algal bicarbonate transporters in land plants to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis. Liat is also passionate about science outreach and enjoys hanging upside-down and life drawing in her spare time.

Angelo Victoria (Darwin Trust PhD Student - Philippines) 

Angelo received his BSc in Biology and MSc in Genetics from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is interested in expanding the utility of current synthetic biology tools to fast-growing and filamentous cyanobacteria. Being a nature-loving academic, he enjoys teaching and being out-and-about exploring green spaces. He is almost always found in the wild with a cup of coffee in-hand.

Ella Catherall (BBSRC-EastBio PhD Student - UK) 

Ella studied for her BA in Natural Sciences, with a specialisation in Plant Science, at the University of Cambridge. She is working on introducing components of the Chlamydomonas pyrenoid into rice.  

Alvaro Herrera Seller (Honours Student - Spain) 



Previous members of the lab:




Imeltine van Essen (Honours Student - The Netherlands) 

Henrik Larsen (MSc Student - France) 

Alejandra Schiavon Osorio (CONACYT PhD Student - Mexico)

Anton Puzorjov (IBIOIC PhD Student - Estonia)



Grant Gale (BBSRC-CASE PhD Student - UK)



Krzysztof Pukacz (Honours Student - Poland)

Mert Unal (Research Assistant - Turkey)

Anlin Ruan (MSc Student - China)

Emily Oliver (3rd Year Summer Student - UK)



Charlotte von Koppenfels (Honours Student - Germany)

Olivia Fraser (Honours Student - UK)



Livia Scorza (Postdoctoral Researcher - Brazil)

Panupon Khumsupan (Darwin Trust PhD Student - Thailand)

Sophie Donovan (BBSRC-EastBio PhD Student - UK) 

Alexandros Vardakis (Darwin Trust MPhil Student - Greece)

Marta Kozlowska (Honours Student - Poland)

Simran Kapoor (2nd Year Summer Student - India)

Mohammad Hasan (MSc Student - Bangladesh)





Corinna Hartinger (Honours Student - Germany)

 Milton Romero Gordillo (MSc Student - Ecuador)

Ravi Vasudevan (Postdoctoral Researcher - India)




Christos Velanis (Postdoctoral Researcher - Greece)


Maia Morgan (Honours Student - Trinidad & Tobago)

Ling Ng (Honours Student - Malaysia)

Hamish Bettany (MSc Student - UK)

Eva Steele (2nd Year Summer Student - UK)



Jiawen Chen (2nd Year Student - Netherlands/China)

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)

Andrei Dobrescu (MSc Student -  Romania)



Antri Georgiou (MSc Student - Cyprus)

Kate Gilbert (MSc Student - USA)

Faziera Salim (MSc Student - Malaysia)

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