Professor highlights importance of plant science in new videos

Friday, 18 December 2015

Plant sciences

Four new videos featuring talks by Chris Hawes, Professor of Plant Cell Biology at Oxford Brookes University are now available to watch online.

The videos are taken from Professor Hawes’ popular Nature Live talk held at London’s Natural History Museum in October this year.

Over 350 years ago, Robert Hooke wrote the historic book Micrographia, the first ever bestselling scientific book. It recorded various aspects of the natural world, including insect eyes, fish scales and fossils. In addition he brought to life the world of plant life, using his microscope to look at leaf structures and stems, in an attempt to discover how plants lived.

Today the way that plants are investigated has advanced dramatically, and in his fascinating talk Professor Hawes gave an insight into Robert Hooke’s research, how the latest in imaging technology is enabling us to look directly into individual plant cells and what this all means going forward.

The four videos are; Studying Plant Science is Vital (below), How a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) worksWhat is Fluorescent Microscopy, and How Robert Hooke discovered the cell. They are available to view on the Faculty of Health and Life Science's  YouTube channel along with a video of the Nature Live talk in full.  

Professor Chris Hawes said: “The importance of plants cannot be underestimated. We’re going to reach a population in the world of around 9 billion by 2050. With this, and the continued loss of agricultural land as a result of climate change, it is predicted that agricultural production will have to double.

“Plants are the primary producers of the majority of our food so plant science research is vital right now. At Oxford Brookes we are leading the field in the unique use of high tech microscopes to study the structure of plant cells, with the aim of improving crop production and meeting global demand for food.” 

Plants are the primary producers of the majority of our food so plant science research is vital right now. At Oxford Brookes we are leading the field in the unique use of high tech microscopes to study the structure of plant cells, with the aim of improving crop production and meeting global demand for food.

Professor Chis Hawes, Research Lead and Head of Biology Doctoral Training Programme, Oxford Brookes University

In April this year Professor Hawes was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Microscopy Society for exceptional contribution to microscopy in the plant sciences. He is the Research Lead and Head of the Doctoral Training Programme in the University’s Department of Biological and Medical Sciences. 

Oxford Brookes recently launched its new strategy for increasing support for the University. Brookes because… provides a wide range of opportunities for alumni and other supporters to donate or get involved in some other way in the life of the University. Financial donations are being sought to fund important research, like our research into plant sciences. More information is available on the Brookes because... website.