Research interestsMulticellularity has evolved repeatedly across the tree of life and allowed the elaboration of fundamental biological processes ranging from organ development and reproduction to specialised metabolisms compartmented into specific cell types. One particularly striking example of this phenomenon is associated with photosynthesis, the process by which inorganic carbon is fixed into sugars. In plants that use the C4 photosynthesis pathway, two cell types in the leaf, the mesophyll and bundle sheath cells, co-operate to separate the metabolic reactions of photosynthesis into two different spatial compartments. This compartmentalisation drastically increases photosynthetic efficiency. As a consequence, many of the world’s most productive crops, such as maize, are C4 plants. A key step in C4 evolution was to restrict the expression of photosynthesis genes, which are expressed in all cell types in leaves of ancestral C3 plants, to either mesophyll or bundle sheath cells. Using photosynthesis as a model, my research aims to understand the genetic basis of cell type specific gene expression in leaves. I am using a combination of experimental, computational, and synthetic biology approaches to identify the gene regulatory mechanisms underlying cell type specific gene expression in C3 and C4 species.