Dr Jim P Fouracre

BSc, DPhil

  • BS8 1TQ

Personal profile

Research interests

I am particularly interested in the regulation of developmental timing. As individual organisms pass through life they transition between different stages of development. For example, mammals undergo puberty and insects progress through different larval stages. Plants also undergo developmental transitions, such as between juvenile and adult phases of vegetative growth (known as vegetative phase change), and from vegetative growth to flowering. The correct timing of these transitions is critical to ensure that they occur in the right sequence and at a suitable rate.

To study developmental timing my research group uses vegetative phase change as a model system. Depending on the species, vegetative phase change is associated with shifts in a diverse set of traits, including leaf morphology, shoot physiology, light use efficiency and stress responses. The master genetic regulator of vegetative phase change is the microRNA miR156, which regulates developmental transitions throughout the land plants. The regulatory conservation and phenotypic significance of vegetative phase change make it an ideal system for the study of developmental timing in plants.

We are currently investigating multiple aspects of miR156 activity, including how genes that encode miR156 are regulated temporally and spatially in Arabidopsis and what the ancestral function of miR156 is via a comparative developmental analysis with the moss Physcomitrium. We are also establishing crop models in the lab to exploit our fundamental insights into how miR156 regulates development. If you’re interested in joining the lab as a graduate student or postdoc please get in touch!


  • Plant biology
  • Development
  • Molecular genetics
  • Arabidopsis
  • Plant evolution


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