Professor Alison G. Smith FMBA – Research Committee

Alison Smith is Professor of Plant Biochemistry (since 2007) at the University of Cambridge, and Head of Department of Plant Sciences since 2017.  Her research interests are focussed around the metabolism of plants, algae, and bacteria, in particular of vitamins and cofactors, and for compounds of commercial interest such as high-value plant natural products with therapeutic potential. As well as making major contributions to our understanding of the role of vitamins in cellular processes in algae and microbial communities, she has pioneered the use of synthetic biology approaches in algal biotechnology. She was a founding member of the Algal Biotechnology Consortium in 2007, leading to the establishment of the Algal Innovation Centre in 2016, of which she is Director. This facility allows algal cultivation at pilot scale under natural conditions. She works with international colleagues in Europe, India and Africa to explore opportunities to use algae to enhance nutrition and to develop ways to valorize waste thus increasing sustainability. She serves on a number of advisory groups in the algal biotechnology sector, and is a member of the Board for NIAB, an independent agricultural research institute in Cambridge. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and of Corpus Christi College Cambridge, as well as the Marine Biological Association. Click here for more information