Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology

IBST is an initiative of UWE, Bristol

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Academic partner profile

Centre for Research in Plant Science (CRIPS)

UWE BristolThe Centre for Research in Plant Science (CRIPS), based at UWE Bristol, harbours a diversity of international quality research and collaborations spanning the spectrum of plant science, from laboratory investigations to environmental and applied studies.

CRIPS is part of UWE’s Genomics Research Institute housing state-of-the-art equipment for post-genomics research. State-of-the-art facilities include all controlled plant growth requirements and full capability for high end research and discovery with a focus on molecular genetics and specialised post-genomics research, mass spectrometry, 2-D electrophoresis, microarray and imaging.

Research focus on key areas includes:

  • Sensing and signalling events by which plants detect and respond to their environments. Plants use Reactive Oxygen Species and nitric oxide as key signalling molecules involved in physiological processes ranging from plant defence to flowering to stomatal movements. CRIPS research investigates both the production of these signals and the intracellular activities that result.
  • Investigation of the interactions between plants and microbial pathogens. The aim is to understand the casual factors that lead to disease and host defense. Focus is on Pseudomonas and downy mildew disease models and these have been used to identify specific bacterial effector genes and nutrient transfer processes between host and pathogen.
  • Environmentally-sustainable approaches are being used to overcome crop loss through enhanced disease management. CRIPS researchers have established collaborations with sensor scientists to detect post-harvest spoilage at its earliest stage as well as to detect statutory organisms in order to exclude non-indigenous pathogens. Current work is combining proteomic and biosensor approaches to detect early stage infections both in the field and during storage.
  • Research on environmental contamination focuses on heavy metals, organic compounds and radioactive isotopes. Understanding the uptake of these pollutants enables researchers to predict how plants, and hence ecosystems, will react to contamination. CRIPS researchers are applying the new angiosperm phylogeny to determine those plants best able to extract contaminants and utilising plants in industry-funded phytoremediation projects.
  • Development and utilisation of biofuels towards sustainable economic models. CRIPS staff and collaborators are researching novel production methods and applications for biofuels, using both microalgal production and farm-based systems to increase the utility of Co2 neutral systems and enhance rural economic multipliers.


For more information and contact details go the CRIPS website.