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Image credits: Debbie Rowe (left), The Remarkablz (right)


Dr. Steven Spoel Email

Principal Investigator & Head of Molecular Plant Sciences


Precise regulation of gene expression is vital to the survival of all organisms. Deregulation of gene transcription is the underlying cause of many human diseases, including various types of cancer and immunodeficiency. Moreover, agricultural developments aimed at meeting the global increasing demands for food, bio-fuels, and pesticide free practices are restricted by our limited knowledge of transcription regulation in plants.

Steven's laboratory aims to understand the mechanisms that govern the activation of gene expression by gene activators. We study how gene activators perceive signals, rapidly find sites where they are needed on the DNA, establish dynamic expression of genes, and function within dynamic regulatory gene expression networks. To answer these fundamental scientific questions we study the plant immune response and the yeast amino acid starvation response. These systems lend themselves particularly well to studies of gene expression, as their activation is associated with rapid and dramatic reprogramming of many genes.

05/2008                         Ph.D., Duke University, USA.
05/2002                         Master of Science (M.Sc.), Utrecht University, Netherlands.

Career Summary
08/2018 – current           Head of Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences

03/2015 – current           Reader / Associate Prof. in Plant Sciences
                                     School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.

10/2010 – current           Royal Society University Research Fellow / Assistant Prof.
                                     School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.

10/2008 – 10/2010         EMBO Long-Term Research Fellow &
                                     Netherlands Science Foundation Rubicon Research Fellow,
                                     School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.

05/2008 – 10/2008         Post-doctoral Research Associate
                                     Department of Biology, Duke University, USA.

08/2002 – 05/2008         Ph.D., Department of Biology, Duke University, USA.

08/1997 – 05/2002         Master of Science (M.Sc.)
                                     Faculty of Biology, Utrecht University, Netherlands.

Committee memberships
* Chair of GARNet Advisory Committee (2017-2019)
* GARNet Advisory Committee (2016-2019)
* Graduate School Committee, School of Biological Sciences (2015-2018)
* Research Committee, School of Biological Sciences (2015-2018)

Major prizes, awards and fellowships
* ERC Starting Grant (2016)
* BBSRC New Investigator Award (2014)
* Early Excellence in Science Award (EESA) from Bayer Foundation (2013)
* Royal Society University Research Fellowship (2010)
* New Phytologist Tansley Medal for Excellence in Plant Science (2009)
* European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Long-Term Fellowship (2008)
* Netherlands Science Foundation Rubicon Fellowship (2008)
* Harold Sanford Perry Prize for best PhD dissertation (Duke University, USA) (2008)


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See Steven's publications...



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