Julian Hibberd
Department of Plant Sciences

Julian's lab works on the genetic basis of traits that underlie components of crop productivity, including study of the efficient C4 photosynthetic pathway. This has ledto work on the engineering of the pathway in rice, with potentially revolutionary implications for crop improvement. Julian is interested in using natural variation to improve our understanding of complex traits, and is Deputy Lead within the Gates Foundation funded C4 Rice Project. His lab uses an interdisciplinary approach that includes the use of molecular, physiological and bioinformatic techniques. Most recently this has included optimisation of approaches to identify transcription factor binding sites genome-wide in specific tissues of plants andadoption of Marchantia polymorpha as a simple testbed.

Laboratory website:


Lab members

Post-Doctoral Research Associates
Dr. Ivan Reyna-Llorens
Dr. Lei Hua
Dr. Sherif El-Sharnouby
Dr. Haiyan Xiong
Dr. Pallavi Singh
Dr. Sean Stevenson
Dr. Ming-Tsung Louis Wu
Dr. Andy Plackett
Dr. Patrick Dickinson

PhD students
Greg Reeves
Robyn Phillips
Zheng-Ao Di

Research staff
Susan Stanley
Na Wang
Ruth Donald



Recent Publications

Droplet-based microfluidic analysis and screening of single plant cells. Z Yu, CR Boehm, JM Hibberd, C Abell, J Haseloff, SJ Burgess, ...
PloS one 13 (5), e0196810 (2018).

Synergistic binding of bHLH transcription factors to the promoter of the maize NADP-ME gene used in C4 photosynthesis is based on an ancient code found in the a... AR Borba, TS Serra, A Górska, P Gouveia, AM Cordeiro, I Reyna-Llorens, ... Molecular biology and evolution 35 (7), 1690-1705, (2018).

Ancient duons may underpin spatial patterning of gene expression in C4 leaves. I Reyna-Llorens, SJ Burgess, G Reeves, P Singh, SR Stevenson, ... Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201720576 (2018)

Natural variation within a species for traits underpinning C4 photosynthesis. G Reeves, P Singh, TA Rossberg, D Sogbohossou, ME Schranz, ... Plant physiology, pp. 00168.2018 (2018).

Spatial photosynthesis modelling sets guidelines to constructing a viable single-cell cytoplasm-to-stroma C4 cycle. I Jurić, JM Hibberd, M Blatt, NJ Burroughs
bioRxiv, 274845, (2018).

Quantitative variation within a species for traits underpinning C4 photosynthesis. G Reeves, P Singh, TA Rossberg, D Sogbohossou, E Schranz, J Hibberd bioRxiv, 253211, (2018).

Expression of SULTR2; 2 in the Arabidopsis bundle sheath is mediated by a highly conserved positive regulator. S Kirschner, H Woodfield, K Prusko, M Koczor, U Gowik, JM Hibberd, ... bioRxiv, 250738, (2018).

A Major Advance in Plastid Transformation. JM Hibberd. Plant physiology 175 (1), 5-5, (2017).

Impact of cell size on efficacy of single-cell C4 photosynthesis
I Juric, V Gonzalez-Perez, J Hibberd, G Edwards, N Burroughs

Shared characteristics underpinning C4 leaf maturation derived from analysis of multiple C3 and C4 species of Flaveria. BMC Kümpers, SJ Burgess, I Reyna-Llorens, R Smith-Unna, C Boursnell, ... Oxford University Press, (2017).

A transcription factor binding atlas for photosynthesis in cereals identifies a key role for coding sequence in the regulation of gene expression. SJ Burgess, I Reyna-Llorens, K Jaeger, JM Hibberd
bioRxiv, 165787, (2017).

Wide sampling of natural diversity identifies novel molecular signatures of C4 photosynthesis. S Kelly, S Covshoff, S Wanchana, V Thakur, P Quick, Y Wang, M Ludwig, ... bioRxiv, 163097 (2017).

Ancestral Reconstruction and C3 Bundle Sheath Transcript Abundance in the Paniceae Grasses Indicate the Foundations for all Three Biochemical C4 Sub-Types... JD Washburn, SS Kothapalli, JM Brose, S Covshoff, JM Hibberd, ... bioRxiv, 162644, (2017).

Size matters for single-cell C4 photosynthesis in Bienertia. I Jurić, V González-Pérez, JM Hibberd, G Edwards, NJ Burroughs. Oxford University Press (2017).

Regulatory gateways for cell-specific gene expression in C4 leaves with Kranz anatomy. G Reeves, MJ Grangé-Guermente, JM Hibberd
Journal of Experimental Botany 68 (2), 107-116, (2016).

An untranslated cis-element regulates the accumulation of multiple C4 enzymes in Gynandropsis gynandra mesophyll cells. Williams, B., Burgess, S.J., Reyna-Llorens, I., Knerova, J., Aubry, S., Stanley, S., Hibberd, J.M. (2016) The Plant Cell.doi: 10.1105/tpc.15.00570

Ancestral light and chloroplast regulation form the foundations for C4 gene expression. Burgess, S.J., Granero-Moya, I., Grangé-Guermente, M.J., Boursnell, C., Terry, M.J. and Hibberd J.M. (2016)  Nature Plants, doi: 10.1038/NPLANTS.2016.161