Doctor Clémence Henry

Clem HenryDr Clémence Henry joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work on a project funded by the "ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis" in February 2015. She previously worked at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL, USA) as a Postdoctoral Fellow where she studied the conservation and environmental regulation of the trehalose pathway in maize (Zea mays). She received her PhD in 2011 from the "Université d'Angers" (France) under the supervision of Dr Sandrine Pelleschi-Travier, Prs Jean-Daniel Viemont, Alain Vian and Soulaiman Sakr. Her PhD research focussed on the involvement of sugar transporters in bud burst photocontrol of rosebush (Rosa hybrid L.).

Clémence is a molecular plant physiologist whose research aims to address the following questions:

  • How plants manage (transform, allocate and sense) the energy assimilated through photosynthesis to produce sugars?
  • How these energetic resources (mainly sugars) influence growth, development and photosynthesis?
  • What is the effect of environmental changes on all these processes?

Life on earth is driven by the ability of biological organisms (ie. bacteria, plants, animals…) to gather, transform and use energy to promote biological processes (ie. metabolism, respiration, growth…). Plants are autotrophic organisms. They assimilate carbon from CO2 into organic matter (mainly sugars) using solar energy through a process called photosynthesis. Consequently, plants are the main organisms fuelling most food chains and are critical to sustain life on earth. For this reason photosynthesis has been extensively studied. However there is much about it that we do not know yet.

Sugars (main photosynthetic products) can repress photosynthesis if they are not allocated correctly in the plant. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. Recently, plants were discovered to sense sugars and respond to it. Several sugar sensors were identified and more are to be identified. Some of these sensors were shown to repress photosynthetic genes and we think there is much more to discover regarding that topic.

Plants can perform various types of photosynthesis (C3, C4 and CAM) depending on the considered species (and sometimes environmental conditions). Photosynthesic types are associated with different leaf anatomy, biochemistry and/or spatio-temporal assimilation of CO2. Photosynthesis in C4 (ie. maize and sorghum) is more efficient and less common than the one in C3 (ie. wheat and rice). Therefore, plant scientists recently started to invest much effort to implement C4 photosynthesis into C3 staple crops. This is regarded as the next green revolution and expected to prevent food shortage associated to upcoming global changes in population and climate. Converting C3 plants into C4 ones is complex and challenging.

Clémence's project at UWS goes along this line and aims to determine:

  • The effects of altered environments on sugar sensing and partitioning in C4 grasses
  • Sugar sensor(s) affecting photosynthesis in C4 grasses


  • 2007-2011: Ph.D. Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology, Université d'Angers, France
  • 2005-2007: M.S. Genetics and Physiology, Université Blaise Pascal, France
  • 2004-2005: B.S. Genetics and Physiology, Université Blaise Pascal, France
  • 2002-2004: D.T.S. Agronomy, Université d'Avignon, France

Research expertise

Plants; Sugar Sensing, Metabolism and Transport; Photosynthesis; Environment; Growth

Teaching expertise

  • 2011-2014: Co-advising one M.S. (Bledsoe, S.W.) and two B.S. (Kollman, A. and Siekman A.) with Lagrimini M.L., UNL, USA
  • 2007-2010: Teaching Plant Biology, (undergraduate students, workshops: 260h, small teaching groups: 12h, supervision/grading exams), Université d'Angers, France

Administrative expertise

  • Since 2015: Early and Middle Career Representative for Sydney nodes, ARC Center of Translational Photosynthesis, Australia
  • 2011-2014: Laboratory management assistance to Lagrimini M.L. (set up and maintenance), UNL, USA
  • 2007-2010: Teaching Graduate Students Representative, CIES, France

Awards & Grants

  • 2014, UNL Postdoc Travel Grant (350 USD), UNL, USA
  • 2009, Best Presentation Award and Travel Grant (1800 USD), IFR QUASAV, France


Bledsoe SW, Henry C, Griffiths CA, Paul MJ, Feil R, Lunn JE, Stitt M, Lagrimini LM, (2017) 'The role of Tre6P and SnRK1 in maize early kernel development and events leading to stress-induced kernel abortion', BMC Plant Biology, vol.17, no.1, Article no.74

Henry C, Bledsoe SW, Griffiths CA, Kollman A, Paul MJ, Sakr S, Lagrimini LM, (2015) 'Differential role for trehalose metabolism in salt-stressed maize', Plant Physiology, vol.169, no.2, pp 1072-1089

Furet PM, Lothier J, Demotes-Mainard S, Travier S, Henry C, Guérin V, Vian A, (2014) 'Light and nitrogen nutrition regulate apical control in Rosa hybrida L', Journal of Plant Physiology, vol.171, no.5, pp 7-13

Henry C, Bledsoe SW, Siekman A, Kollman A, Waters BM, Feil R, Stitt M, Lagrimini ML, (2014) 'The trehalose pathway in maize: conservation and gene regulation in response to diurnal cycle and extended darkness', Journal of Experimental Botany, vol.65, no.20, pp 5959-5973

Rabot A, Henry C, Mortreau E, Lothier J, Hamama L, Boumaza R, Leduc N, Pelleschi-Travier S, Le Gourrierec J, Sakr S, (2012) 'Insight into the role of sugars in bud burst under light in the rose', Plant and Cell Physiology, vol.53, no.6, pp 1068-1082

Henry C, Rabot A, Laloi M, Mortreau E, Sigogne M, Leduc N, Lemoine R, Sakr S, Vian A, Pelleschi-Travier S, (2011) 'Regulation of RhSUC2, a sucrose transporter, is correlated with the light control of bud burst in Rosa sp', Plant, Cell and Environment, vol.34, no.10, pp 1776-1789

Martin L, Leblanc-Fournier N, Azri W, Lenne C, Henry C, Coutand C, Julien JL, (2009) 'Characterization and expression analysis under bending and other abiotic factors of PtaZFP2, a poplar gene encoding a Cys2/His2 zinc finger protein', Tree Physiology, vol.29, no.1, pp 125-136


Henry C, Bledsoe SW, Griffiths C, Kollman A, Paul MJ, Sakr S, Feil R, Lunn J, Stitt M, Lagrimini ML, 'Differential role for trehalose metabolism in salt stressed maize', (to be submitted to Plant Physiology)

Henry C, Bledsoe SW, Siekman A, Kollman A, Waters BM, Feil R, Lunn J, Stitt M, Lagrimini ML, 'Metabolite and trehalose pathway specific mRNA changes for maize leaf in response to diurnal cycle and extended darkness', (in prep) (to be submitted as a short communication)


Furbank R, von Caemmerer S, Australian National University, Australia (current project)

Sakr S, Agrocampus Ouest, IRHS, France (manuscript)

Paul MJ, Griffiths C, Rothamsted Research Institute, UK (Henry et al. 2014, manuscript)

Stitt M, Lunn JE, Feil R, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany (Henry et al. 2014, manuscripts)

Waters BM, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA (Henry et al. 2014)

Lemoine R, Laloi M, Laboratoire PhyMoTS, Université de Poitiers, France (Henry et al. 2010 ; 2011)