• Prof. Dr Stephen. C. Fry, F.R.S.E
  • Professor of Plant Biochemistry

Group Leader:

The Edinburgh Cell Wall Group

Objective:

My objective is to explore the biochemistry and physiology of the primary cell walls and apoplast (= aqueous solution permeating the walls) of plants from six main points of view, listed below. I am interested in cell walls because, as the outermost layer of the cell, they serve diverse biological roles — dictating cell shape and size, acting as a barrier to pathogens, sequestering metal ions, attaching cells to their neighbours, and producing/conveying intercellular messages.

Throughout the work, my main goal has been to track the behaviour and metabolism of substances in the walls of living plant cells, rather than primarily to describe changes in gene expression or enzyme synthesis. My preference for in-vivo studies stems from my conviction that post-transcriptional and post-translational factors modulate the production and action of enzymes. I emphasise the distinction between enzyme activity (e.g. measured in vitro, under optimised conditions) and enzyme action (observed in vivo). Enzyme activity does not necessarily equate with action: for example, a potentially active enzyme may be spatially separated from its substrate(s), the local pH or ionic strength may not be optimal, and inhibitors or promoters may be present or absent.

Qualifications:

  • BSc (Hons), Biological Sciences, University of Leicester, 1975.

  • PhD in Plant Physiology, University of Leicester, 1979 (Supervisors: Prof H.E. Street & Dr W. Cockburn)

Career:

  • Science Research Council Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge (with Prof. D.H. Northcote, FRS) [1978-79].

  • Royal Society Rosenheim Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge (with Prof. D.H. Northcote, FRS) [1979-81].

  • Royal Society Rosenheim Research Fellow, Food Science Institute, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich (with Prof. H. Neukom) [1982].

  • Senior Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado (with Prof. P. Albersheim) [1982-83].

  • Lecturer in Plant Biochemistry, University of Edinburgh [1983-89].

  • Reader in Plant Biochemistry, University of Edinburgh [1989-95].

  • Professor of Plant Biochemistry, The University of Edinburgh [1995-present].

Thesis:

S.C. Fry (1978). "Metabolic Corollaries of Gibberellin-Stimulated Growth". PhD Thesis, University of Leicester. Membership of Academic Societies: Royal Society of Edinburgh (Fellow). Society for Experimental Biology.

Publications:

http://fry.bio.ed.ac.uk/publicat.html