Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Research & career focus: Dr Janneke Balk - Bioenergetics and biochemistry studies in plants

Janneke Balke - Plant Gene Editing

In the next of our career-focused films we meet Dr Janneke Balk, a Reader in the School of Biological Sciences at UEA. Her research group is based at the John Innes Centre at the Norwich Research Park.

Janneke describes her career and research background in bioenergetics studies in plants, with a particular interest in the role of metals in these reactions. Her current research focuses on Arabidopsis thaliana, the first plant to have its genome sequenced. Further details about her current research studies can be found on her web site.

One focus of Janneke’s research is the enzyme Hydrogenase, which allows some biological cells to generate (or use up) hydrogen. A detailed understanding of the structure of this protein and an example of this can be viewed in our Gallery of Molecules.

Janneke’s research highlights how bioenergetics principles are relevant to studies in plants, which we will look at in more detail in some of the next steps in this course. The advanced gene editing methods that she refers to will also be discussed in more detail during the final week of this course.

Technical terms in simplified form

Arabidopsis thaliana

Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant that grows widely in Europe and Asia. It is often found by roadsides and in disturbed lands so is usually considered to be a weed. Due to its relatively short life cycle, Arabidopsis has become a popular model organism in plant biology and genetics. For a complex multicellular eukaryote, A. thaliana has a relatively small genome of approximately 135 megabase pairs (Mbp) and it was the first plant to have its genome sequenced.

This article is from the free online

Biochemistry: the Molecules of Life

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now