Ian A. Graham

Ian Alexander Graham (born 1963)[1] FRS[2] is a professor of Biochemical Genetics in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) at the University of York.[3][4][5]

Ian Graham

Ian Graham at the Royal Society admissions day in London in 2016
Born1963 (age 5657)[1]
Castlederg, Northern Ireland[1]
EducationOmagh Academy[1]
Alma mater
AwardsEMBO Member (2016)
Scientific career
ThesisStructure and function of the cucumber malate synthase gene and expression during plant development (1989)
Doctoral advisor


Graham was educated at Castlederg Secondary School and Omagh Academy.[1] He studied Botany and Genetics at Queen's University Belfast where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in 1986.[3] He was awarded a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1989 for research investigating the structure and function of the malate synthase gene in cucumber supervised by Steven M. Smith and Chris J. Leaver.[6][7]

Career and research

From 1990 to 1993 he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford.[8] He was appointed a lecturer in the division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Glasgow from 1994 to 1999. During 1994, he was a SERC/NATO funded research scientist in Department of Plant Biology at Stanford University. He has been Chair of Biochemical Genetics at York since 1999.

Graham's interests include how plants make and breakdown various metabolites, how these processes are controlled and how they impact on plant growth. He has used biochemical genetics to dissect the main metabolic pathways controlling oil mobilisation in Arabidopsis[9][10] seed and provided new insight into how a lipid based signal controls seed germination.[11][12] He has used similar approaches to investigate the synthesis of bioactive compounds in two of the world's major medicinal plants. This has led to new understanding of how genome rearrangement has shaped the evolution of plant metabolism. The discovery of a 10 gene cluster responsible for the production of the anti-cancer compound noscapine in opium poppy provided the tools for molecular breeding of new commercial varieties. The discovery of a novel Cytochrome P450oxidoreductase gene fusion described the last unknown step in synthesis of morphine and codeine. Characterisation and genetic mapping of traits responsible for production of artemisinin in Artemisia annua has enabled development of F1 hybrid seed that can deliver a robust source of this vital antimalarial medication for the developing countries.[13]

Awards and honours

Graham was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2016.[2] Additionally, Graham was elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2016,[citation needed] and was awarded the Biochemical Society's Heatley Medal and Prize in 2017.[citation needed]


  1. "GRAHAM, Prof. Ian Alexander". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. 2017 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. Anon (2016). "Professor Ian Graham FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:
    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. Anon (2016). "Professor Ian A Graham: Weston Chair of Biochemical Genetics". York: University of York. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015.
  4. Ian A. Graham publications indexed by Google Scholar
  5. Ian A. Graham publications from Europe PubMed Central
  6. Graham, Ian Alexander (1989). Structure and function of the cucumber malate synthase gene and expression during plant development. ethos.bl.uk (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/12057. OCLC 53575596.
  7. Graham, Ian A.; Smith, Laura M.; Brown, John W. S.; Leaver, Christopher J.; Smith, Steven M. (1989). "The malate synthase gene of cucumber". Plant Molecular Biology. 13 (6): 673–684. doi:10.1007/BF00016022. PMID 2491683.
  8. Graham, I. A.; Denby, K. J.; Leaver, C. J. (1994). "Carbon Catabolite Repression Regulates Glyoxylate Cycle Gene Expression in Cucumber". The Plant Cell. 6 (5): 761–772. doi:10.1105/tpc.6.5.761. ISSN 1532-298X. PMC 160474. PMID 12244257.
  9. Graham, Ian A. (2008). "Seed Storage Oil Mobilization". Annual Review of Plant Biology. 59 (1): 115–142. doi:10.1146/annurev.arplant.59.032607.092938. PMID 18444898.
  10. Dave, Anuja; Vaistij, Fabián E.; Gilday, Alison D.; Penfield, Steven D.; Graham, Ian A. (2016). "Regulation of Arabidopsis thaliana seed dormancy and germination by 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid". Journal of Experimental Botany. 67 (8): 2277–2284. doi:10.1093/jxb/erw028. ISSN 1460-2431. PMC 4809285. PMID 26873978.
  11. Li-Beisson, Yonghua; Shorrosh, Basil; Beisson, Fred; Andersson, Mats X.; Arondel, Vincent; Bates, Philip D.; Baud, Sébastien; Bird, David; DeBono, Allan; Durrett, Timothy P.; Franke, Rochus B.; Graham, Ian A.; Katayama, Kenta; Kelly, Amélie A.; Larson, Tony; Markham, Jonathan E.; Miquel, Martine; Molina, Isabel; Nishida, Ikuo; Rowland, Owen; Samuels, Lacey; Schmid, Katherine M.; Wada, Hajime; Welti, Ruth; Xu, Changcheng; Zallot, Rémi; Ohlrogge, John (2013). "Acyl-Lipid Metabolism". The Arabidopsis Book. 11: e0161. doi:10.1199/tab.0161. PMC 3244904. PMID 22303259.
  12. Eastmond, Peter J.; van Dijken, Anja J. H.; Spielman, Melissa; Kerr, Aimie; Tissier, Alain F.; Dickinson, Hugh G.; Jones, Jonathan D. G.; Smeekens, Sjef C.; Graham, Ian A. (2002). "Trehalose-6-phosphate synthase 1, which catalyses the first step in trehalose synthesis, is essential for Arabidopsis embryo maturation". The Plant Journal. 29 (2): 225–235. doi:10.1046/j.1365-313x.2002.01220.x.
  13. Graham, I. A.; Besser, K.; Blumer, S.; Branigan, C. A.; Czechowski, T.; Elias, L.; Guterman, I.; Harvey, D.; Isaac, P. G.; Khan, A. M.; Larson, T. R.; Li, Y.; Pawson, T.; Penfield, T.; Rae, A. M.; Rathbone, D. A.; Reid, S.; Ross, J.; Smallwood, M. F.; Segura, V.; Townsend, T.; Vyas, D.; Winzer, T.; Bowles, D. (2010). "The Genetic Map of Artemisia annua L. Identifies Loci Affecting Yield of the Antimalarial Drug Artemisinin". Science. 327 (5963): 328–331. doi:10.1126/science.1182612. PMID 20075252. (subscription required)