Professor of Plant Biochemistry,
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Professor Alison Smith’s work concentrates on how plants, algae and microbes make chemicals, particularly vitamins, using a wide range of techniques from biochemistry through molecular biology to genomics, coupled with mathematical modeling approaches.
She and her group are exploring the potential for the metabolic engineering of high value products in plants and algae, and other biotechnological uses, including the use of algae for biomass and biodiesel production and the production of biological solar panels. In parallel, studies of symbiotic interactions between algae and bacteria are providing insights into algal communities in natural ecosystems, and in dense cultures necessary for industrial cultivation.
After graduating in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol, she carried out her PhD work in the Department of Biochemistry in Cambridge. On appointment as a member of staff of the Department of Plant Sciences, she was elected a Fellow of Corpus Christi. She founded the Algal Biotechnology Consortium in 2007 together with colleagues from biology, engineering and chemistry, the aim of which is to use multidisciplinary approaches to tackling the challenges for the exploitation of algae in a sustainable way.