Dr Caspar Chater

Senior Research Leader

Caspar Chater profile photo

Trait Diversity and Function


Crops and Global Change


Legume crops, climate change, drought, abiotic stress, plant development and physiology, stomata, guard cells, molecular genetics

My research seeks to improve crop resilience and adaptation to the climate crisis. My work tackles crop water use and drought responses, focusing on legumes as well as other crops. I use genomic, molecular, and phenotyping tools to understand plant development and physiology for crop improvement. My background is in stomatal evolutionary development, genetics, and signalling. Stomata are the microscopic pores on the surfaces of leaves that take up atmospheric carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and act as release valves for water through transpiration. By harnessing natural diversity in plant traits, such as stomatal density and size, I aim to help enhance sustainable legume agriculture for a hotter and drier world. A large part of my research has a regional focus in Mexico and Latin America. I am currently coordinating Newton Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund projects in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the University of Sheffield. In addition to exploring crop genetic diversity, I hope to use targeted molecular methods for pre-breeding under-utilised crops and crop wild relatives. By doing so we can make full use of plant diversity to address increasing global food security and water security challenges.

  • PhD. University of Sheffield, 2011
  • BSc (Hons), University College London, 2005
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Global Fellow, Institute of Biotechnology, UNAM, Mexico/University of Sheffield, 2017-2020.
  • Newton Prize Mexico Winner 2018
  • Newton Fund CONACYT International Fellow, Institute of Biotechnology, UNAM, Mexico, 2015-2017

Polania, J.A., Chater, C., Covarrubias, A.A. & Rao, I.M. (2020).

Phaseolus species responses and tolerance to drought.

The Plant Family Fabaceae. Biology and Physiological Responses to Environmental Stresses. Hasanuzzaman, Mirza, Araújo, Susana, Gill, Sarvajeet Singh (Eds.). Springer Singapore.

Leebens-Mack, J.H., Barker, M.S., Carpenter, E.J. … Chater, C…et al. (2019).

One thousand plant transcriptomes and the phylogenomics of green plants.

Nature 574: 679–685 (2019)

Chater, C., Acosta, A. & Covarrubias, A.A. (2018).

Crop biotechnology for improving drought tolerance: targets, approaches, and outcomes.

Annual Plant Reviews Online Vol 2. (Invited Review).

Chater, C., Caine, R.S., Fleming, A. & Gray, J.E. (2017).

Origins and evolution of stomatal development.

Plant Physiology 174(2): 624-638.

Chater, C., Caine, R.S., Tomek, M., et al. (2016).

Origin and function of stomata in the moss Physcomitrella patens.

Nature Plants 216179.

Chater, C., Peng, K., Movahedi, M., Dunn, J.A., Walker, H.J. et al. (2015).

Elevated CO2 -induced responses in stomata require ABA and ABA signaling.

Current Biology 25(20): 2701-2716.

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Caspar Chater


Caspar Chater


Caspar Chater