Dr Elinor Thompson BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Microbiology and Plant Science

Key details

Dr Elinor Thompson

Dr Elinor Thompson
BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Microbiology and Plant Science


Elinor Thompson is a microbiologist whose research has included molecular biology, developmental and cell biology, biochemistry, bioenergetics, imaging and spectroscopy, largely to explore membrane proteins but with collaborations spanning mathematical modelling and animal development.

Following BSc and MSc degrees in microbiology, she obtained her PhD in plant biology at University College London, researching the function of several proteins that were found in both photosynthetic eukaryotes and prokaryotes. This included utilising spectroscopy and molecular biology to examine how FtsH proteases influence membrane composition and photosystems of cyanobacteria and Arabidopsis.

This was followed by seven years of postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, working on various projects in a molecular development lab, for example, investigating the roles of a family of rhomboid proteases in development and growth, and of a 'multidrug and toxin efflux' protein in the transport of flavonoids, auxin regulation, and plant fertility.

Elinor's lab at Greenwich continues to work on these proteins in a range of organisms, including plants, microorganisms and the social amoeba Dictyostelium.

Lab members and alumni

  • Dr Colin Bateman
  • Dr Billy Ferrara
  • Dale Harrison
  • Iskander Ibrahim
  • Dr Amit Prabhakar
  • Dr Mehak Rafiq
  • Mohamed Said
  • Arwa Selim
  • Dr Kevin Smyth

Responsibilities within the university

Course participation

  • Plant Sciences
  • Biotechnology
  • Cell and Microbial Biology
  • Fundamental Biology and Physiology
  • Introduction to Medical Science
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Practical and Professional Skills.

Research / Scholarly interests

  • Plant biology
  • Membrane proteases
  • Cell-cell communication, signalling, development
  • Photosynthesis.

Techniques

  • Molecular biology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Spectroscopy (e.g., to examine behaviour of photosynthetic apparatus)
  • Confocal and electron microscopy (e.g., use of GFP, and of cryo-SEM for observation of 'live' specimens).

Dr Thompson is interested in membrane proteases and transporters and their importance in regulating comparable processes in different organisms. The various roles of rhomboid proteins have led to an interest in fertility, and cell signalling in both eukaroytes and prokaryotes.

She welcomes enquiries from potential collaborators and postgraduate students regarding relevant research projects.

Recent publications

Article

Thompson, Elinor , Bombelli, EL, Simon, Shubham, Watson, Hamish , Everard, Aldous , Schievano, Andrea , Bocchi, Stefano , Zand Fard, Nazanin , Howe, Christopher J. , Bombelli, Paolo (2020), Tinted semi‐transparent solar panels allow concurrent production of crops and electricity on the same cropland. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Advanced Energy Materials, 10: 2001189 (35) ISSN: 1614-6832 (Print), 1614-6840 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/aenm.202001189) NB Item availability restricted.

Harrison, Dale J. A. and , Thompson, Elinor P (2020), A rapid and low-cost method for genomic DNA extraction from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis. Oxford University Press (OUP). In: , , , . Oxford University Press (OUP), Biology Methods and Protocols, 5: bpaa011 (1) 2396-8923 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/biomethods/bpaa011).

Weinrich, Tobias , Hoh Kam, Jaimie, Ferrara, Bill T., Thompson, Elinor P. , Mitrofanis, John , Jeffery, Glen (2019), A day in the life of mitochondria reveals shifting workloads. Nature. In: , , , . Nature, Scientific Reports, 9: 13898 ISSN: 2045-2322 (Print), 2041-1723 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-48383-y).

Thompson, Elinor and , Ferrara, Bill T. (2019), A method for visualising fluorescence of flavonoid therapeutics in vivo in the model eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum. Future Science. In: , , , . Future Science, BioTechniques, 66 (2) . pp. 65-71 ISSN: 0736-6205 (Print), 1940-9818 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.2144/btn-2018-0084).

Thompson, Elinor and , (2018), Book review: "Reinventing the wheel: Milk, Microbes and the Fight for Real Cheese" by Bronwen and Francis Percival. Microbiology Society. In: , , , . Microbiology Society, Microbiology Today, 45 (1) . pp. 46 ISSN: 1464-0570 (Print), (doi: https://microbiologysociety.org/uploads/assets/uploaded/fb9abfd7-67a4-4a8c-9444ab98ca5b9d57.pdf).

Rafiq, Mehak and , Thompson, Elinor (2014), The shape-shifting superhero: Dictyostelium discoideum. Society for General Microbiology. In: , , , . Society for General Microbiology, Microbiology Today, 41 (1) . pp. 16-19 ISSN: 1464-0570 (Print), (doi: https://microbiologysociety.org/publication/past-issues/real-superheroes/article/the-shape-shifting-superhero-i-dictyostelium-discoideum-i.html).

Thompson, Elinor P. , Llewellyn Smith, Stefan G., Glover, Beverley J. (2012), An Arabidopsis rhomboid protease has roles in the chloroplast and in flower development. Oxford University Press. In: , , , . Oxford University Press, Journal of Experimental Botany, 63 (10) . pp. 3559-3570 ISSN: 0022-0957 (Print), 1460-2431 (Online) (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/ers012).

Thompson, Elinor P. , Davies, Julia M., Glover, Beverley J. (2010), Identifying the transporters of different flavonoids in plants. Landes Bioscience. In: , , , . Landes Bioscience, Plant Signaling & Behavior, 5 (7) . pp. 860-863 ISSN: 1559-2316 (Print), 1559-2324 (Online) (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/psb.5.7.11894).

Thompson, Elinor , Wilkins, Christopher, Demidchik, Vadim, Davies, Julia M. , Glover, Beverley J. (2010), An Arabidopsis flavonoid transporter is required for anther dehiscence and pollen development. Oxford University Press. In: , , , . Oxford University Press, Journal of Experimental Botany, 61 (2) . pp. 439-451 ISSN: 0022-0957 (Print), 1460-2431 (Online) (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erp312).

Book section

Milledge, John J. , Thompson, Elinor P., Sauvetre, Andre, Schroeder, Pater , Harvey, Patricia (2019), Novel developments in biological technologies for wastewater processing. Elsevier. In: , , In: Charis M. Galanakis, Evita Agrafioti (eds.), Sustainable Water and Wastewater Processin. Elsevier, . pp. 239-278 . ISBN: 9780128161708 (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-816170-8.00008-9) NB Item availability restricted.

Thompson, Elinor and , (2013), A fertile field: the mutual influence and parallel histories of auxin and flavonoids. Springer-Verlag. In: , , In: Rujin Chen, František Baluška (eds.), Polar Auxin Transpor. Springer-Verlag, (17) (1) . pp. 311-336 . ISBN: 9783642352980 (doi: http://www.springer.com/life+sciences/plant+sciences/book/978-3-642-35298-0).

Conference item

Said, Mohamed , Thompson, Elinor, Everett, Jeremy (2019), Metabolic ageing in the C. elegans worm and modulation by genetic knock-out, phototherapy and drugs. The Genetics Society. In: UK C.elegans meeting, 16th September 2019, Imperial College London, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College Rd, London, UK , UK C.elegans Meeting London 16 September 2019 Proceeding. The Genetics Society, (doi: http://p35-preview.runhosting.com/londonelegans2019.co.uk/) NB Item availability restricted.

Harrison, Dale and , Thompson, Elinor (2019), Regulated intramembrane proteolysis in the plastid envelope. 18th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology. In: 18th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology, 07 - 12 Jul 2019, Glasgow, Scotland , 18th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biolog. 18th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology, (doi: http://iwpmb2019.psrg.org.uk/).

Ferrara, Billy and , Thompson, Elinor (2018), Imaging polyphenolic therapeutic compounds in a eukaryotic model microbe. Microbiology Society. In: Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2018, , , Microbiology Society Annual Conference 201. Microbiology Society, . pp. 302-302 (doi: ).

Thompson, Elinor and , Harrison, Dale (2018), The cyanobacterial rhomboid protease is a regulator of the CCM. Microbiology Society. In: Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2018, , , Microbiology Society Annual Conference 201. Microbiology Society, . pp. 94-94 (doi: ).

Ibrahim, Iskander , Blunskyte, Modesta, Thompson, Elinor (2017), The cyanobacterial rhomboid protease is a new regulator of the CCM. In: Plastid Preview, 4-5 September 2017, University of Cambridge , . , (doi: http://www.phyconet.org.uk/event/plastid-preview-2017) NB Item availability restricted.

Ferrara, Bill T. and , Thompson, Elinor (2017), Therapeutic potential of flavonoid pigments: transport mechanisms in Dictyostelium discoideum. In: Dictyostelium UK Annual Meeting: A Spring Odyssey, 30-31 March 2017, London , . , (doi: ).

Thompson, Elinor and , Ibrahim, Iskander (2016), Rhomboid proteases of the chloroplast and cyanobacterium. In: 3rd International Conference on Plant Proteases: Plant Proteases: from roles in life and death to understanding regulation and action., 10-12 April 2016, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK , . , (doi: ) NB Item availability restricted.

Thompson, Elinor and , Ferrara, Billy (2016), Development of flavonoid therapeutics: Transport mechanisms in the model eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum. In: The Microbiology Society annual conference, 21-24 March 2016, Liverpool, UK , . , (doi: http://www.microbiologysociety.org/events/annual-conferences/index.cfm/annual-conference-2016) NB Item availability restricted.

Thompson, Elinor and , (2015), Rhomboids and proteolysis in the Dicty mitochondrion. In: Dicty 2015, 9-13 August 2015, Royal Holloway University London, Egham , . , (doi: http://dicty15.dictybase.org/Dicty2015_Schedule.pdf).

Thompson, Elinor and , (2015), Flavonoids: development of nutritional therapeutics in a model microbe. In: High Value Chemicals from Plants – harnessing the potential of synthetic biology for industrial biotechnology, 13-14 July 2015, Norwich , . , (doi: ).

Thompson, Elinor and , (2015), Regulation of mitochondria by proteolysis. In: Society for General Microbiology (SGM) Annual Conference 2015, 30 March - 2 April 2015, Birmingham , . , (doi: http://www.microbiologysociety.org/download.cfm/docid/68CFC1F1-468B-4D3A-8C1A88E06BAAC16F).

Thompson, Elinor and , Rafiq, Mehak (2014), Tracking the role of rhomboids in chemotaxis in Dictyostelium. In: Christmas Dictyostelium Meeting 2014, 17-18 Dec 2014, Somerville College, Oxford, UK , . , (doi: ) NB Item availability restricted.

Thompson, Elinor and , (2014), Tracking the role of rhomboids in chemotaxis in Dictyostelium. In: Dictyostelium Christmas Meeting 2014, December 2014, University of Oxford , . , (doi: ) NB Item availability restricted.

Ferrara, Billy , Mogg, Robert, Stevenson, Philip, Thompson, Elinor (2014), Root and floral effects of flavonoid transport via an Arabidopsis MATE family transporter. FESPB. In: Plant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO Congress 2014, 22-26 Jun 2014, Dublin, Ireland , Federation of European Societies for Plant Biolog. FESPB, Dublin (doi: ).

Rafiq, Mehak , Traynor, David, Thompson, Elinor (2014), Investigating the role of rhomboid proteases in Dictyostelium discoideum. In: Society for General Microbiology Annual Meeting 2014, 14-17 Apr 2014, Liverpool, UK , . , (doi: http://www.sgm.ac.uk/download.cfm/docid/8EBF3433-24C0-4767-AB116AA9144C903C).

Rafiq, Mehak , Traynor, David, Thompson, Elinor (2014), Investigating ‘rhomboid’ membrane proteases’ roles in development and signalling in Dictyostelium. In: Dicty 2014 Annual International Dictyostelium Conference, 3-7 Aug 2014, Potsdam, Germany , . , (doi: http://www.dictybase.org/DictyAnnualConference/dicty2014.pdf).

Thompson, Elinor and , (2013), Dictyostelium discoideum: a model for testing novel inhibitors of urokinase-type plasminogen activator. In: Poster Society for General Microbiology (SGM) Autumn meeting 2013, September 2013, Warwick , . , (doi: ).

Thompson, Elinor , Llewellyn Smith, Stefan, Glover, Beverley (2012), An Arabidopsis rhomboid protease has roles in the chloroplast and in flower development.. In: Gordon Research Conference. Plant Molecular Biology: Genomic Approaches to Plant Signaling Systems, 15-20 July 2012, Holderness, NH, USA , . , (doi: ) NB Item availability restricted.

Thompson, Elinor and , (2010), The role of rhomboid proteases in intra/intercellular communication. In: GME 2010 Gutmicroecology International Scientific Conference on Gastro-Intestinal Microbial Ecology, 9-11 November 2010, Kosice, Slovakia , . , (doi: ).

Conference proceedings

Ferrara, Bill T. , Saleh, Salma Mounir, Thompson, Elinor (2020), Multidrug and efflux transporters of the model microbe Dictyostelium discoideum. Microbiology Society. In: , , , Access Microbiolog. Microbiology Society, London, UK , 2 (7a) 2516-8290 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1099/acmi.ac2020.po0194).

Thompson, Elinor and , Rafiq, Mehak (2019), The Dictyostelium rhomboid proteases and mitochondrial disease. Microbiology Society. In: , , , Access Microbiolog. Microbiology Society, London , 1 (doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1099/acmi.ac2019.po0269).

Ibrahim, Iskander , Richards, Jack, Rickard, Abigail, Thompson, Elinor (2016), Role of a rhomboid protease in a CO2-concentrating mechanism. Royal Society. In: , , , Royal Society Discussion meeting Enhancing photosynthesis in crop plants: targets for improvemen. Royal Society, (doi: https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2016/10/enhancing-photosynthesis/).