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Professor Isabelle Carré



Phone: 024 765 23544

Office: B118

SLS Clusters

Cells & Development

Environment & Ecology

Plant & Agricultural Biosciences

Pedagogical Research

Teaching Interests

I teach aspects of Plant Physiology and Development to first and second year BSc students, and Chronobiology to BSc finalists.

I give lectures on circadian clocks, their molecular mechanism and how they contribute to fitness and health in organisms ranging from bacteria and fungi to plants, animals and humans.

I also contribute Research Skills sessions to the Mbio programme.

I currently manage the Placement Year programme, which includes both placements in industry and study abroad. As part of this role, I coordinate exchanges with our partner universities worldwide, and provide support for incoming students during their time at Warwick.

Research Interests and Other Activities

Plants, like animals, possess a biological clock which enables them to fine-tune their physiology according to the time of the day. This timing mechanism, known as the circadian clock, drives rhythmic changes in gene expression which in turn impact on a broad range of processes, including for example photosynthesis, responses to cold, heat or drought stress, changes in leaf position, opening and closing of petals, and overall plant growth. Our current work focuses on how the plant circadian clock impacts on interactions with micro-organisms surrounding the root. This is important, because some of these microbes can cause disease, while others play essential roles to make soil nutrients available for the plant. Domestication of a number of crops has resulted in selection for specific alleles of circadian clock genes, and we need to understand how this impacted on plant-microbe interactions and the consequences for crop health and productivity.

Recent work with Gary Bending demonstrated that a substantial proportion of fungal and bacterial species exhibit daily changes in abundance in the rhizosphere of Arabidopsis plants. These rhythms persisted under constant environmental conditions, but free-running rhythms were disrupted in the rhizosphere of mutant plants with dysfunctional circadian clock, demonstrating a key role for the clock of the plant host to synchronise these microbial rhythms. Future research will investigate how this benefits the plant host.

Together with Miriam Gifford, we are also investigating how the circadian clock of the plant impacts on symbiotic interactions between the model legume, Medicago truncatula, and the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti. Optimisation of circadian rhythms in legumes may result in enhanced nitrogen fixation, thereby reducing the need for nitrogen fertilisers and their negative impact on the environment.


School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK

  • 2020-present: Professor
  • 2014-2020: Principal Teaching Fellow
  • 2005-2014: Associate professor
  • 2002-2005: Lecturer
  • 1996-2002: Research Fellow

University of Virginia, USA

  • 1992-1995 Post-doctoral researcher in Steve Kay laboratory, investigating the mechanism of rhythmic gene expression in Arabidopsis.

Stony Brook University, USA

  • 1992- PhD: Circadian control of cell division in Euglena, with Prof. Leland Edmunds

Université Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie), France

  • 1986 - DEA de Physiologie Végétale Appliquée

 Université Paris VII (now Paris Diderot), France

  • 1985 - Maitrise de Biologie des Organismes et des Populations