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 Reader in Plant Chemical Biology in the Chemistry Department at Imperial College. 

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 and (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 >£35M to support her research programme and strategy. She collaborates extensively with industry e.g Syngenta on research programmes and as Director of the Institute of Chemical Biology's Centre for Doctoral Training, and through community-building initiatives (Co-Director: AGRI-net and the Agri Futures Lab) and knowledge transfer (e.g.Sainsbury’s Farming Scholarship) activities.

For more information about her research group - please see

Her current roles include:

  • Director of the £6M Institute of Chemical Biology, Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Physical sciences innovation in Chemical Biology for bioindustry and healthcare ( The CDT is a postgraduate training programme, which brings together >165 research groups across Imperial college along with >65 external partners to train 120 PhD students in the art of multidisciplinary Chemical Biology research. It gives students the opportunity to develop the next generation of molecular tools and technologies for making, measuring, modelling and manipulating molecular interactions in biological systems.
  • Director of AGRI-net, ( an agri-science chemical biology network, with >1000 members from academia, industry & policy. It facilitates high impact multidisciplinary research targeted towards the agri-sciences. Through AGRI-net, Barter has chaired/hosted >30 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.
  • Deputy Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Doctoral Training in Cellular Bionics (
  • Executive Board member of the Institute of Chemical Biology (, a world-leading molecular science innovation hub (>£100M research portfolio).
  • Theme Coordinator for Environmental and Green Chemistry: (
  • Co-Director of MRes Chemical Biology and Bioentrepreneurship (
  • 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



Gispert Contamina I, Hindley J, Pilkington C, et al., 2022, Stimuli-responsive vesicles as distributed artificial organelles for bacterial activation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of Usa, Vol:119, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:1-10

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

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