Karen Halliday

Professor Karen Halliday, Chair of Systems Physiology, Dean of Systematic Inclusion, College of Science and Engineering

E: karen.halliday@ed.ac.uk

T: 0131 6519083

View short video on plant life by Karen Halliday


Contact Details


Biological Sciences

University of Edinburgh



Research Interests

Karen Halliday, is Chair of Systems Physiology at Edinburgh University, with expertise in environmental signal integration, molecular genetics and dynamical mathematical modelling in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.


I first became interested in plants after visiting the Amazon rainforest in 1991. I developed a fascination with how plants used environmental light cues to signify potential competition from nearby plants and seasonal progression. During my PhD (1992-1996) with Prof. Garry Whitelam at Leicester University I studied the molecular pathways that sense light signals and trigger physiological responses. Subsequently, as a postdoctoral research associate (in Prof. Peter Quail’s lab,USDA, Berkeley) I identified light pathway signalling components and later discovered a link between light and temperature signalling. I started my own lab in 2000 with a Lectureship position at Bristol University where I studied light and hormonal signal integration. Following a move to Edinburgh University as a Senior Lecturer (2004), Reader (2011) and Professor (2015) the scope of my research broadened to include light-temperature interactions and mathematical modelling. My lab continues to work on signal convergence, and we are now striving to determine how the photoreceptor pathways control carbon resource partitioning. We feel this is important as the phytochrome light receptors are major regulators of resource allocation to biomass in field crops.


Karen was the founding Director of Edinburgh Plant Science