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Professor Miriam Gifford

Job Title
Life Sciences
024 7657 5268
Research Interests

We are interested in how an organism interacts with its environment. The mechanisms that facilitate this interaction are particularly important for plants since they are sessile yet still cope with environmental extremes.

Our work investigates the evolution of cell types in determining plant plasticity. This includes using systems analysis to understand the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis of nodulation, with the long-term aim of transferring it from legumes to staple crop species.

We use Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) in combination with genomics and gene network inference to analyse the specific root cell types involved in symbiosis and environmental responses. We will use this information to identify how synthetic biology could be used to rewire plant responses to develop crops that can adapt to a changing climate.


Professor, Aug 2021 to present.

Reader, July 2019 to July 2021.

Associate Professor, July 2014 to June 2019.

Assistant Professor, Systems biology of nitrogen-regulated development, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, 2009 to June 2014.

EMBO post-doctoral fellow, Integrating nitrogen-regulatory networks and development, New York University 2004-2008.

PhD, Cell layer specification during Arabidopsis embryogenesis, University of Edinburgh, 2004,

BSc Hons, Plant Science, University of Edinburgh 2001,

Membership of societies: The Society for Experimental Biology, The Genetics Society, UK

Title Funder Award start Award end
An N-fix in time (Responsive Mode) BBSRC 01 Jun 2020 30 Nov 2023
A broadly accessible facility microscope to probe nanoscale cellular dynamics by combined live cell super-resolution microscopy and photomanipulation (BBSRC ALERT 2021) BBSRC 01 Aug 2022 31 Jul 2023
UK-Brazil International Partnering Award: Development of novel strategies to address plant-microbes interactions in planta BBSRC 01 Apr 2022 31 Mar 2023
Microbial establishment on growing rhizoplanes - WCPRS and James Hutton Studentship for Daire Carroll James Hutton Institute, The 02 Oct 2017 30 Jun 2021
CoA: Capturing microbial co-symbiosis to sustain plant productivity; linked to Ideate 50031 UK Research and Innovation 01 Nov 2020 31 Mar 2021
Capturing microbial co-symbiosis to sustain plant productivity BBSRC 01 Oct 2016 31 May 2020
MLSRF Mohan T Chandrashekarai Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund 01 Mar 2018 28 Feb 2019
FP7 -ROOTOPOWER: Empowering root-targeted strategies to minimise abiotic stress impacts on horticultural cropsPrevious PI - Dr Andrew Thomson**please note: collaborative project targeted to SMEs** EU 01 Jan 2012 31 Dec 2015
Dissecting the diverse development programmes in different tissues during the development of a nitrogen fixing nodule BBSRC 01 Apr 2012 31 Mar 2015
Developing interdisciplinary omics tools for organelle and cell type-specific analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana New Phytologist Trust 01 Sep 2014 30 Sep 2014
Comparative Cell-specific Profiling to understand the Molecular Basis of Nodulation BBSRC 01 Oct 2010 30 Sep 2014
WU0128 Crop improvement or resource use efficiency Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Oct 2009 30 Sep 2012
IF01105 Identifying genes that could improve nitrogen use efficiency Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Oct 2009 31 Mar 2010

Research images

Medicago - model plant for nodulation and symbiosis - and plant cells marked then isolated using cell sorting