Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Reader in Plant Chemical Biology



+44 (0)20 7594 1885l.barter Website




301NMolecular Sciences Research HubWhite City Campus





Laura Barter is a Senior Lecturer in the Chemistry Department with a particular focus on Plant Chemical Biology.

The underlying theme of research in the Barter group is to determine quantitative structure-function relationships in biological systems employing optical spectroscopic, biochemical & proteomic techniques allied with modelling & calculation. She is developing Chemical Biology tools to e.g. (i) quantitatively understand rate-limiting steps & regulatory controls in photosynthesis, to ultimately enhance photosynthetic efficiency & crop yield; (ii) impact upon the agrochemical pipeline, by probing translocation across plant membranes. Further research avenues include the development of artificial cells using a bottom-up approach, to create self-sustaining microscale machinery.

Since 2005 she has raised >£19M to support her research programme. She collaborates extensively with industry e.g Syngenta, BAYER, Sainsbury’s on research programmes (PI and director of NexGenAgriChem) and community-building (Co-Director: AGRI-net) and knowledge transfer (e.g.Sainsbury’s Farming Scholarship) activities.

Her current roles include:

  • Director of AGRI-net, ( an agri-science chemical biology network, with >900 members from academia, industry & policy. It facilitates high impact multidisciplinary research targeted towards the agri-sciences. Through AGRI-net, Barter has chaired/hosted >25 conferences/workshops/creativity events to >1000 attendees since 
  • Director of the Agri-Futures Lab, ( a multidisciplinary ICL Network, combining research/training & community building activities. It facilitates transition from concept to prototype, providing access to proof of concept and scale-up facilities.
  • PI & Director of a £3.2M EU ITN, NexGenAgriChem (, bringing together scientists from ICL & Syngenta to develop technologies that could impact upon the agrochemical pipeline.
  • Executive Board member of the Institute of Chemical Biology (, a world-leading molecular science innovation hub (>£100M research portfolio).
  • Deputy Director of the £4.6M EPSRC Chemical Biology CDT (
  • Elected Member of the RSC’s CBID Council.
  • Management team of Sainsbury’s Farming Scholarship programme. Themes include Soil science & management, and Data management. Providing opportunities to engage end-users (e.g. farmers) directly with academics & industry partners to stimulate solutions to challenges they are facing.
  • Theme Coordinator for Environmental and Green Chemistry: (
  • Co-Director of MRes in Chemical Biology: Multidisciplinary physical scientists for next generation biological, biomedical and pharmaceutical R&D (
  • Co-Director of MRes in Plant Chemical Biology: Multidisciplinary Research for Next Generation Agri-Sciences (


My group is always on the lookout for talented early career researchers at PhD, PDRA and Fellowships levels. If you would like to learn more about direct funding opportunities available in the group or discuss opportunities for applying for funding for PhD (e.g Imperial Colllege PhD Scholarship Scheme) and fellowship positions please contact Dr Laura Barter at



Strutt R, Sheffield F, Barlow N, et al., 2022, UV-DIB: label-free permeability determination using droplet interface bilayers, Lab on a Chip: Miniaturisation for Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Materials Science and Bioengineering, Vol:22, ISSN:1473-0189, Pages:972-985

Kalossaka LM, Mohammed AA, Sena G, et al., 2021, 3D printing nanocomposite hydrogels with lattice vascular networks using stereolithography, Journal of Materials Research, Vol:36, ISSN:0884-2914, Pages:4249-4261

Kalossaka LM, Sena G, Barter LMC, et al., 2021, Review: 3D printing hydrogels for the fabrication of soilless cultivation substrates, Applied Materials Today, Vol:24, ISSN:2352-9407, Pages:1-16

Kavanagh MA, Karlsson JK, Colburn JD, et al., 2020, A TDDFT investigation of the Photosystem II reaction center: Insights into the precursors to charge separation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of Usa, Vol:117, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:19705-19712

Haylock S, Friddin M, Hindley J, et al., 2020, Membrane protein mediated bilayer communication in networks of droplet interface bilayers, Communications Chemistry, Vol:3, ISSN:2399-3669

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