Chair of the Cell Biology Section
John Love is Professor of Synthetic Biology at the University of Exeter.
He employs a multidisciplinary combination of bioinformatics,
biochemistry and synthetic biology to investigate and engineer
hydrocarbon production in bacteria, algae and yeast for the industrial
production of ‘fourth generation’ biofuels that can directly substitute
for fossil petroleum-based products in modern car and jet engines. In
addition to his role at the University of Exeter, he held a BBSRC
Industry Interchange Partnership with Shell where he led the
photosynthetic microbial biofuels research programme.
Prior to Exeter, John held a Broodbank Research Fellowship at the
University of Cambridge, where he investigated the role of circadian
Ca2+ rhythms in the perception of seasonality in flowering plants. He
was a postdoctoral research associate at North Carolina State
University, working closely with NASA scientists to understand the
effects of microgravity on plant root growth; this experience brought
him into contact with specialists from many different areas, and this
multidisciplinary approach to solving problems became a driver for his
His PhD was spent divided between laboratories at the University of
Edinburgh and the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, researching
Ca2+ signalling in the early embryo of brown algae. This passion for
primitive plants is the foundation of his interest in microalgae as an
alternative energy source. He obtained his BSc in Biology from the
University of St Andrews.
John joined the SEB as a postgraduate student. As a biologist he finds
the cross-disciplinary reach of the SEB particularly appealing; as a
passionate educator, he champions the SEB in its engagement with
students and the opportunities it offers to early career scientists.
You can contact John via email on