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Tina Summerfield (far right) and members of her lab group.
Phone: +64 3 479 7578

Research Interests

Cyanobacterial diversity, genetics and ecophysiology, the potential of cyanobacteria as a renewable energy source and cyanobacterial symbioses.

Teaching Involvement

BIOL123 Biology of Plants
BTNY203 Marine & Freshwater Botany
BTNY465 Plants and Environment
GENE223 Developmental and Applied Genetics
GENE411 Current Topics in Genetics
PLBI301 Applied Plant Science
PLBI401 Special Topics in Plant Biotechnology

Current Research

Our research is focused on understanding the diversity and metabolic flexibility of cyanobacteria, and these microbes are found in almost all environments on Earth. They are an excellent model system for the study of photosynthesis, nitrogen assimilation, circadian rhythms, and response to environmental stresses and have potential as a renewable energy source. Less than 20% of described species have been cultured, indicating the potential of cyanobacteria remains to be discovered.

Please contact me if you are interested in research projects in any of these areas.

The Photosynthetic electron transport chain under low oxygen conditions

We have identified changes in the photosynthetic electron transport chain under low oxygen conditions that are associated with hydrogen production. We are investigating the impact of these changes on photosynthetic performance.

Cyanobacterial symbioses

Cyanobacteria form symbiotic associations with plants and fungi. We are studying cyanolichens, in particular the mode of cellular communication between the symbiotic partners and how this alters photosynthetic metabolism.


Nicol, D. A., Saldivia, P., Summerfield, T., Heads, M., Lord, J. M., Khaing, E. P., & Larcombe, M. J. (2024). Phylogenomics and morphology of the polyploid Celmisiinae (Asteraceae: Astereae): Taxonomic and evolutionary implications. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2024.108064 Journal - Research Article

Sheridan, K. J., Eaton-Rye, J. J., & Summerfield, T. C. (2024). Mutagenesis of Ile184 in the cd-loop of the photosystem II D1 protein modifies acceptor-side function via spontaneous mutation of D1-His252 in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications, 702, 149595. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2024.149595 Journal - Research Article

Forsman, J. A., Sheridan, K. J., Singh, H., Brown, T. J., Vass, I., Summerfield, T. C., & Eaton-Rye, J. J. (2024). The Psb27 assembly factor and histidine-252 of the D1 protein modify energy transfer to photosystem II in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Physiologia Plantarum, 176, e14154. doi: 10.1111/ppl.14154 Journal - Research Article

Chyou, T., Fox, W., Padilla, E., Nilsen, A., Mendoza, A., Plett, J., Summerfield, T., Orlovich, D., & Brown, C. M. (2023, August). Detecting non-coding genes in mushroom and truffle-like fungal genomes. Verbal presentation at the Queenstown Molecular Biology (QMB) Genomics Satellite, Queenstown, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Sheridan, K. J., Brown, T. J., Eaton-Rye, J. J., & Summerfield, T. C. (2023). Expression of the far-red D1 protein or introduction of conserved far-red D1 residues into Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 impairs Photosystem II. Physiologia Plantarum, 175, e13997. doi: 10.1111/ppl.13997 Journal - Research Article

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