Professor John Runions

Professor in Cell and Molecular Biology

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences


John is a cell biologist who uses microscopy to study living cells. This type of research helps to answer questions about the ways in which cells and organisms grow and develop. The focus of research in John's group is on how different structures within cells interact with each other.

The principle technique used in John's lab is laser microscopy. Confocal microscopes enable the study of living cells in a non-invasive way and, when combined with fluorescent protein technology, allow visualisation of incredible details of the way that organelles and proteins interact as cells go about the business of life.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • Cell biology and genetics
  • Green plannet
  • Advanced cell biology and bioimaging

John teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules as well as supervising PhD and Masters students. As Module Leader for "Cell biology and genetics", John spends the majority of a new student's first year explaining and demonstrating the inner workings of cells. Topics covered include cell structure, how life arose, evolution, genetics, cell division, gene expression, techniques in cell and molecular biology, and the development of multicellularity.


I welcome applications for PhD research projects in cell biology using advance microscopic techniques.


John's research looks specifically at the surface of living plant cells using fluorescence microscopy. By studying protein interactions, John's group learn how plants perceive and interact with their environments.

Projects as Co-investigator

  • How to build a protein factory? Linking structure and function of the plant endoplasmic reticulum(01/05/2023 - 30/04/2026), funded by: Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £400,317, funded by: Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)


slide 1 of 6