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Helen Woodfield

Dr Helen Woodfield

Senior Lecturer

School of Biosciences

+44 29208 76985
Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX


I lecture in a wide range of subjects, covering plant sciences, microbiology, and biochemistry.


  • Admissions Tutor
  • Module lead: BI1003 (Organisms and Environment)
  • Academic lead: eLEAF
  • Lead: Student Mentor scheme












Book sections


Bioscience Research Background:

The C4 Rice Project - During my PhD I studied C4 photosynthesis, a process which could potentially result in higher yields if incorporated into crops plants such as rice. The C4 metabolic pathway relies on segragation of carbon fixation between two cell types within the leaf, mesophyll and bundle sheath cells. I conducted research on how cell-specific gene expression is achieved in plants that use C3 photosynthesis and how genes important to the C4 pathway are regulated during leaf development.

Regulation of Lipid Synthesis in Oilseed Rape - My research at Cardiff University focused on oil accumulation in Oilseed rape. One line of my research looked into establishing which stages of the synthesis pathway leading to storage oil (TAG) accumulation were most important for control. I did this through conducting flux control experiments on a series on oilseed rape line over-expressing genes involved in TAG synthesis. A second line of research involved using MALDI-MS to image where different lipid species accumulate in the devloping seeds of oildseed rape.


Teaching specialisms:

  • Plant Sciences - Especially molecular physiology
  • Enzyme Kinetics 
  • Microbiology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Academic Communication Skills


I graduated with a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2009. I then did a PhD at the University of Cambridge in the Julian Hibberd lab, working on the C4 rice project. The aim of this project is to increase rice yields by 50% via incorporation of C4 photosynthesis into the crop. My PhD focused on understanding cell-specific gene expression around the vasculature of C3 plants.

In 2014 I moved to Cardiff University to conduct a postdoc with Prof. John Harwood researching oil synthesis in oilseed rape. I used the MALDI-MS imagining technique to see whereabouts in the seed different types of molecules associated with oil production accumulate. In addition, I conducted metabolic flux control experiments to determin which points along the triacyl glycerol synthesis pathway were import for control of flux through the system.

In 2017 I was appointed as a Lecturer in biochemistry and molecular biology at Cardiff University.