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Senior Lecturer, Microbiology and Plant Science
Life & Sports Sciences
BSc, MSc, PhD
Elinor Thompson is a microbiologist whose research has included molecular biology, developmental and cell biology, biochemistry, bioenergetics, imaging and spectroscopy, largely to explore membrane proteins but with collaborations spanning mathematical modelling and animal development.
Following BSc and MSc degrees in microbiology, she obtained her PhD at University College London, researching the function of several proteins that were found in both photosynthetic eukaryotes and prokaryotes. This included utilising spectroscopy and molecular biology to examine how FtsH proteases influence membrane composition and photosystems of cyanobacteria and in Arabidopsis.
This was followed by seven years of postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, working on various projects in a molecular development lab, for example, investigating the roles of a family of rhomboid proteases in development and growth, and of a ‘multidrug and toxin efflux’ protein in the transport of flavonoids, auxin regulation, and plant fertility.
Elinor's lab at Greenwich continues to work on these proteins in a range of organisms, including plants, microorganisms and the social amoeba Dictyostelium.
She is also a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge.
Cell and Microbial Biology
Fundamental Biology and Physiology
Introduction to Medical Science
Practical and Professional Skills
Spectroscopy (e.g., to examine behaviour of photosynthetic apparatus)
Confocal and electron microscopy (e.g., use of GFP, and of cryo-SEM for observation of ‘live’ specimens).
Dr Thompson is interested in membrane proteases and their importance in regulating comparable processes in different organisms. The various roles of rhomboid proteins have led to an interest in cell signalling and communication in both eukaroytes and prokaryotes, including quorum sensing and microbial communities.
She welcomes enquiries from potential collaborators and postgraduate students regarding relevant research projects.
Thompson EP, Llewellyn Smith S, Glover BJ: An Arabidopsis rhomboid protease has roles in the chloroplast and in flower development. J Exp Bot 2012 (in press).
Thompson, E.P., Glover, B.J., and Davies, J.M. (2010) Identifying the transporters of different flavonoids in plants. Plant Signalling and Behaviour, 5, pp. 1–4.
Thompson, E.P. et al. (2010) An Arabidopsis flavonoid transporter is required for anther dehiscence and pollen development. Journal of Experimental Botany, 61, pp. 439–451.
Demidchik V, Shang Z, Shin R, Thompson E, et al. (2009) Plant extracellular ATP signalling by plasma membrane NADPH oxidase and Ca2+ channels. Plant Journal, 58, pp. 903–913.
Urzay, J., Llewellyn Smith, S.G., Thompson, E., and Glover, B. (2009) Wind gusts and plant aeroelasticity effects on the aerodynamics of pollen shedding: a hypothetical turbulence-initiated wind-pollination mechanism. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 259, pp. 785–792.
Silva P, Thompson E, Bailey S, et al. (2003) FtsH is involved in the early stages of repair of photosystem two in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Plant Cell, 15, pp. 2152–2164.
Bailey S, Thompson E, Nixon PJ, et al. (2002) A critical role for the Var2 FtsH homologue of Arabidopsis thaliana in the Photosystem II repair cycle in vivo. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 277, pp. 2006–11.