Cell Biology

John Love

Dr John Love

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 research. 

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