James Lloyd

Posted: Jun 26th, 2019

Research Associate

Dr James Lloyd is a research associate developing synthetic tools for plant engineering with the Lister Lab at PEB’s The University of Western Australia node. From the UK, James studied genetics at the University of York, where he won a Sainsbury Studentship in Plant Sciences to fund his PhD at The University of Leeds.

The PhD proposal that landed James the studentship was made possible by a fortuitous meeting with Prof Brendan Davies at an Oxford University dinner in 2008.

“I was seated next to Prof Brendan Davies (University of Leeds). While on my year in industry, I had read his paper on RNA decay in plants and was fascinated by the evolution of this process. We spent most of the meal discussing his current work on this and the next day, as we were leaving the meeting, I asked if I could come to see him in Leeds to discuss applying for a PhD with him, he was excited and we wrote a PhD proposal that the Gatsby Charitable Foundation was kind enough to fund,” James said.

Post-doc life took James to the University of California Berkeley where he worked initially on splicing, before shifting to RNA systems biology.

“I moved to UC Berkeley and spent three years learning how to program and analyse the large datasets that are common to modern molecular biology. There I discovered insights into mechanisms of RNA decay and alternative splicing in various organisms.”

A fascination with DNA and in particular RNA, has been a driving force in James’ career progression so far.

“I always wanted to know how great complexity comes out of something as simple as atoms, or the strings of ATGCs in DNA, so I kept studying science to find out more, and then entered research. I became interested in plant science because I wanted to understand how plants and animals achieve such different structures while using the same building blocks. Are the mechanisms for turning genes on and off the same, or vastly different?”

James' directory profile here