Concept

Dale Sanders

Summary
Dale Sanders, FRS (born 13 May 1953) was Director of the John Innes Centre, an institute for research in plant sciences and microbiology in Norwich, England. Sanders was educated at The Hemel Hempstead School. He gained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of York reading Biology from 1971 to 1974, graduating with 1st Class Honours. Sanders did his PhD alongside Professor Enid AC MacRobbie FRS at Darwin College, Cambridge in 1978 in Department of Plant Sciences. In 1993 Sanders earned his Sc.D. from the University of Cambridge. Sanders’ research explores the transport of ions across plant cell membranes and the roles of ions in signalling and nutrient status. Sanders’ first significant finding during his PhD was to provide unequivocal evidence that inorganic anion uptake in plants is powered by a proton gradient and showed how transport is regulated through intracellular ion concentrations. In subsequent research as a post-doc at Yale University School of Medicine he pioneered the first methods to measure and interpret the interplay between control of intracellular pH and activity of the plasma membrane proton pump. Showing how the regulation of the proton pump is controlled by – and in turn controls – intracellular pH. This work on a fungus served as a paradigm for understanding the interplay of membrane transport and cellular homeostasis in fungal and plant cells. On taking an academic position at the University of York, Sanders developed novel electrophysiological approaches to plant cellular signalling and membrane transport. The Sanders lab demonstrated a key link between changes in cytosolic free calcium and photosynthetic activity, and through many technical developments showed how membrane transport at the plant vacuole is energised and regulated in response to physiological demand. Sanders also developed a unified mathematical theory that explained complex kinetics of solute uptake in plants, along with having created the first methodology to measure transient changes in intracellular calcium levels in higher plants, and discovered that light/dark changes in photosynthetic activity were highly dependent on cytosolic changes in calcium.
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