Research in my lab is focussed towards understanding how plants and algae respond to environmental stresses and how they utilise metals, both essential metal nutrients and toxic metals. This is important for developing strategies to ultimately improve food production in crop plants. We are also using this understanding to develop algae that can accumulate and tolerate toxic compounds such as heavy metals for removing toxic metals from contaminated water.
A second aspect of our research is in understanding how algae can efficiently produce oils that can be used as a biofuel. This will allow us to develop the use of algae as potential alternative renewable and sustainable fuel source.
Jon Pittman is a Lecturer at the University of Manchester. He is also currently the Programme Director for the Biotechnology BSc degree. He completed a BSc degree in Biology at the University of Southampton in 1993 then worked for 2 years as a Research Assistant at Southampton in the lab of Prof. John Hall and Dr Lorraine Williams before starting a PhD in the same lab on the molecular characterisation of calcium-transporting ATPases in the plant Arabidopsis. He briefly worked as a postdoctoral researcher for 1 year with Dr Lorraine Williams then in 2000 joined the lab of Dr Kendal Hirschi at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Here he worked on calcium and metal transport in Arabidopsis. He joined the University of Manchester in 2003 and worked as a postdoctoral researcher for 1 year with Prof. Simon Turner. Jon was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship in 2004, which he held from 2005-2009. He was awarded a Society of Experimental Biology President’s Medal in 2006 for his work on plant metal transport.